This is my second instalment of VI in the city. In this blog I want to talk about eating out. We all love a night out on the town and for some that is enjoying a really tasty meal in a great restaurant, bar or becoming ever more popular street food! I want to share with you some of my experiences in Manchester. The ups and downs of being a customer with a visual impairment.
So my sisters and me had a spontaneous evening out. Nothing heavy or fancy, quite a last minute invite, which let me tell you that doesn’t happen so much anymore. It’s not just because of my sight loss it is more so because of some of us having children. Children do not help our social life a great deal.
On this night out we went to Bundobust a vegan Indian street food restaurant in the northern quarter in Manchester City centre. Now I am a meat eater but I am open to trying all kinds of food. I think food is much more then just meat, although I did wonder what I would think of going for an Indian without a bit of lamb? I thought to myself “this is going to be interesting” and that it was! I have never tasted something so fresh, flavoursome and scented. My sisters said it looked amazing but I didn’t need to even see it to appreciate it! The service was great, and even better the food came in compostable pots, no plastic or actual plates. I know what you are thinking NO PLATES I thought the same but let me tell you as a blind person eating in public I have never felt more liberated! As it was street food, presented like tapas it was acceptable to use your fingers for the majority of it. I eat like this at home but never wanted to out as I feel like everyone is looking at me more than enough – I do not need to draw any more attention. So, this was such a treat for me.
The venue wasn’t the most accessible, as it was in the basement and we were unsure if there were disabled toilets my sister just helped me to the ladies and it was very ambient (so dark in our terms).
I would still wholeheartedly recommend this place!
We went a few months ago to Waggamama in Manchester near St Peters Square and the service there was amazing. The gentleman I was with had a guide dog and they were great with this. Which of course I know they should, be but there are still places out there that still refuse entrance with a guide dog! I KNOW RIGHT!
So, when they found us a great table with enough room for the dog to be comfortable, they then offered us menu’s in braille. This was so new to me I have never experienced that even when I had sight! I was never offered a large print menu once. So Waggamama were off to a good start. The food was just lovely, I have eaten here many a time so was pretty much same! It was fresh and tasty though not as aromatic as the Bundobust restaurant – yet still an excelland experience for us both.
I have been to bars and restaurants where the staff ask my husband “what’ would she like?” HELLO I AM HERE Just because I can’t see the menu or cannot see you does not mean I can’t choose and tell you myself. I have been at a bar and asked the bar staff to hand over or move the card machine to me as I am blind and the response has been “OH god I’m sorry!” Or “Oh do you want me to do it for you?”
Firstly you don’t have to apologise you didn’t do anything wrong, offend me or make me blind. Secondly no I am not giving you my card or pin number, I am more than well capable of pressing the buttons. I don’t blame these people it is all about education, they haven’t been trained in how to approach and help a customer with a visual impairment and they probably don’t know anyone with a sight impairment so how would they know how to be with no firsthand knowledge.
Sometimes as a disabled person in the world you have to pick your battles and realise that we are working to make a more inclusive and accessible world but if there are things that have still not caught up in areas and you still want to experience them and you are happy to get a little help then don’t miss out!
I hope this has given you a little insight into my experiences and how we do the social thing!
Sending love and positivity always.
p.s. A special thank you to two very special places to eat in Manchester: