This week we’re taking a look at a couple of vegan burgers from Pomodoro e Basilico. We found them at the Brighton Viva Vegan Festival and decided to nominate them as our lunch for the day, so they had big shoes to fill (previous vegan festival lunches have included Jake’s Vegan Steaks and Cafe SoVegan). Sadly, they found the shoes a little too big, as we will explain.
First off, let’s tackle the menu. There were three burger choices: the good, the bad, and the jack. We went for the bad and the jack, one each. We also wanted some sides but it turned out they were sold out of everything else that sounded good, so we went without. The burgers were £7 each, which is pretty much daylight robbery.
We’ll kick off with the Jack: gluten free brioche bun; kale + cucumber + coriander; peanut butter sauce; pulled jackfruit; beansprouts; coleslaw; and strawberry BBQ sauce.
I wanted to try this one because it is based, as the name suggests, around jackfruit. Sadly, it wasn’t what I was expecting. The jackfruit was completely undercooked and wasn’t pleasant to eat at all – with hardly any flavour to speak off. It was a crime against jackfruit, basically, and I sincerely hope no other festival visitors tried it as their first jackfruit experience because it can be so much better. The two girls behind the stall were so engaged in chatting with each other – and actually ignoring me for a few minutes while I stood at the counter to order – that it seems they couldn’t be bothered to ensure it was prepared right.
To make matters worse, the rest of the burger wasn’t up to much either. The beetroot dressing was far too watery and completely overwhelmed the whole package, pouring out in huge gouts every time I tried to take a bite. It dripped out as a held it still. It was more or less the only thing I could taste. I’m not even sure where it came from, considering it was supposed to be strawberry BBQ sauce. There’s no way it wasn’t beetroot, and there were lumps of beetroot flesh in there too.
Pair all of that with the tough and crispy beansprouts which were hard to chew, and you have a package that wasn’t worth talking about. The sweet brioche bun could have been nice, if it wasn’t soaked through with beetroot and crumbling to pieces as a result. I don’t have anything nice to say about this burger, which frankly was a huge disappointment – especially at this price. I think it may be the worst burger I’ve ever eaten. It’s certainly the lowest we’ve ever rated here on the blog.
Now, onto the Bad: charcoal bread bun; lettuce; apple mustard; seitan “schnitzel” patty; tomato; mushroom sauce; sauerkraut.
This was J’s choice and, I have to say, infinitely the better one. He says it was pretty tasty, with an interesting-looking bun which however did not taste and different to what you would expect.
The schnitzel in the middle tasted like Southern fried chicken, with a soft middle but a crispy outside. It did what it was supposed to, in other words, which was a great plus. The slaw was tangy and tasted great, while the sweet mustard tasted more like honey than apple. There was a small amount of fresh lettuce in the bun which was a good addition.
J definitely gave the Bad more thumbs up than the Jack got, so much so that I was jealous within about two bites. But they can’t all be 10/10 on taste.