Recently I went to Smith & Western in Tunbridge Wells, one of a handful of branches around the area. Of course I had to try their Prairie Meat Free Burger, and here I bring you the results! It costs £11.25 (although you can add extra toppings at a higher price), and is served with house relish as well as your choice of potato product – I went for the curly fries. Strangely, it is served open – although this does make sense as it means that you can put in your relish or other condiments more easily. This is how it was served – I then took out the tomato, added relish, and mayonnaise to the inside of the bun:
Then I constructed it back into being one burger – this is of course the downside of them serving it open, particularly if you do not want to add any relish or so on. The burger itself was made from a very red coloured soya, which is quite bouncy to chew and has what I think is a slightly tomato-y taste (although this could be my mind playing tricks on me because of the colour, which reminded me of some tomato-flavoured quorn burgers I’ve had before). As you can see it is served with a really good amount of salad, all of which seemed very fresh – I’m very pleased to see that, and it’s something that I wish a lot more restaurants and pubs would pay attention to. For some reason, salad in burgers tends to be a little underwhelming.
The chewy texture of the burger was actually quite pleasing, although it was strange at first – it felt almost as if my teeth were going to rebound off it and crack my jaw at one point, but of course no injuries were forthcoming. The bun used was very soft and seeded, and it certainly added to my enjoyment of the burger as a whole. The relish was a little underwhelming in this case – it’s just a very generic, tomato based relish, with nothing special to write home about. I wouldn’t say this was the best burger I’ve ever had, but I did really enjoy it and I would eat it again – although the price is perhaps a bit steep when compared to some other burgers which I have rated higher.
Finally in terms of the meal itself, the curly fries were nice, if generic – they are definitely the same as you would find in most pubs and restaurants in the country rather than being made in house, so you know they will taste just fine. I also had a milkshake, which was tasty as expected. We finished the meal with a huge sharing sundae which we were utterly unable to finish (having been reasonably full after eating the burger anyway – it is a full meal, and when ordering, you should take this into consideration!). It was, however, delicious.
The décor of the restaurant is quite interesting – it is done up to put you in mind of an Old West town, and has plenty of amusing features which really tap in to this. If it’s your birthday, you get a free cowboy hat of your choice (and if you do not choose a glittery one, boy or girl, then frankly you have disappointed me). It has a good atmosphere, but on the night that we went it was very busy and the servers were only seen very rarely in our area, which was just off from the main seating area. Still, everyone enjoyed the meal, and there were some other menu items I personally witnessed which were delicious (tower of mini donuts with chocolate dip and sprinkles, anyone?)
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 7/10
Price – 5/10
Rest of experience – 8/10