This week we’re looking at a burger we’ve eaten a fair few times. There was a period when Quorn or Linda McCartney were your only options for supermarket fare, though the market has expanded hugely since then and both brands have changed and updated their recipes.
These are deceptively simple to make, even though you might not typically have all of the ingredients in your kitchen. Well, unless you’re vegan and eat this kind of food regularly already! Although we’re trying to inch in the direction of veganism, recipes like this definitely help us to get a little closer – as once you’re using alternative foods, you can see how much tastier they might be than the other choices you had before.
This jackfruit burger is pretty messy, so get some napkins ready – and enjoy!
It’s served in a really nice bun, a glazed brioche which adds a bit of a luxury touch. So far, so good!
There is so much filling that it’s actually too big to eat in one mouthful, as the burger and other elements simply squidge out the back when you try. I don’t like being defeated by a burger, but sometimes you just have to knife and fork it – and I would suggest that this is one of those times.
There’s lots of fresh salad in the bun which always adds that extra feeling of satisfaction, though of course it’s the burger itself we’re most interested in. This has a solid texture, and is very fibrous. There are lentils visible in the burger mixture, which overall is quite sweet. This might be a little strange except that it’s less noticeable when paired with the bun.
Inside the bun are a few smaller sliced gherkins as well as a big slice of tomato (you know how we feel about those here at VegBurge – we like to throw them straight out!). The burger was a tiny bit dry and could perhaps do with some added spice or diced onion. Overall, however, it was really tasty.
The ice cream sundae, I should note, is not vegan, however tasty it might be!
On the Vegburge scale, I give this…
Taste – 8/10
Price – 5/10
Rest of experience – 7/10
They have quite a lot of vegetarian options, so it was honestly quite hard to choose. The burger is described on the menu thusly:
Marinated halloumi & portobello mushroom, Rio Beans, matchstick crisps, tomato, lettuce and chimichurri – £9.95
And just because we all obviously love having to backtrack across the menu to figure out what one of the ingredients is, Rio Beans are:
Black beans slow-cooked with cumin, onions and garlic.
Two things, actually: first up, the Moroccan Spiced Bakes with Red Pepper and Apricot. While these technically make no claim towards being burgers, just look at them: they’re burgers.
They were the ones I liked the sound of the most from the packet, and they were quite tasty. They had a soft exterior and interior, which left them feeling a little bit mushy in the middle. The apricot pieces were chewy lumps scattered throughout the mixture, and the burgers were quite spicy too – almost like a curry taste.
There were also chunks of pepper and carrot throughout the burgers, which was somewhat of an odd choice. I can kind of see how these ingredients would go together in an actual curry with sauce, but in a burger, there’s not the same kind of texture or even flavour. It didn’t really work for me – it just seemed like an odd combination which didn’t go together.
It was kind of a shame, but after burying them inside bread buns, it was easier to ignore the flavour and just enjoy a bit of spice.
Now, onto the beetroot burgers! I was a bit leery of these as they do say on the packet that they contain “a hint of mint”. Now, I can’t stand mint – even the hint of it, usually – so I was worried that I was going to hate them.
On the other hand, I do love beetroot – but weirdly, the beetroot was very subtle, and there was also hardly any mint that I could detect – except for the fact that I could smell it. You might question whether my tastebuds had been dulled by the spicy bakes, but actually, I tried the beetroot burgers first.
The texture was much the same except for less mushy, and it was a reasonably solid burger with the ridges across the top doing little more than set dressing, as far as I could tell. This burger was probably the one I preferred off the two, but only because it wasn’t totally odd – there was actually hardly any impression at all left behind after I had eaten it. If I hadn’t made notes, I wouldn’t be able to tell you a thing about it.
On the Vegburge scale, I give this (bake – beetroot)…
Taste – 3/10 – 4/10
Price – 5/10 – 5/10
Rest of experience – 4/10 – 5/10
The mango chutney, disappointingly, does not ooze out as it does in the photo on the packaging. Which is a shame, because that looks like a lot of tasty mango chutney. As it is, the amount that was actually in the burger was so little that I hardly noticed it at all. You can barely even see it when you look at the burger from the inside.
Can you spot it? That tiny little splodge there that barely justifies inclusion on the front of the packet? It was sweet, but only if you managed to isolate a small amount on your fork – otherwise, forget about tasting it at all.
It was a somewhat fragrant taste, though there wasn’t a single flavour from the ingredients which I would say stood out from the rest. It was kind of herby; if I had to describe it in a word, I would probably say “green”.
There was quite a size disparity between the two burgers in the same packet, which was troubling. They were crispy in texture, and quite solid all the way through – not as crumbly as one might expect. All in all, they weren’t very much to write home about.
Which is a big shame, because the burger on the packet? I was excited to eat that burger. It just turned out that what was on the outside didn’t really represent what was on the inside.
On the Vegburge scale, I give this…
Taste – 2/10
Price – 4/10
Rest of experience – 3/10
Meanwhile, let’s get down to the burgers. They look simple enough, taking the vegetable burger side of things rather than vegetarian burger, if you know what I mean.
Eating them is a different story. I found these burgers exceptionally odd, in almost all ways. The thick texture is very weird, and I’m not sure what they were thinking when creating it. There is a strong and overwhelming garlic taste, which all but drowns out the other flavours that struggle to break through.
There are chunks of vegetables visible as well as twisting strands of spinach, but honestly, it could all be some incredible art project where pieces of garlic have been died and shaped to represent other foodstuffs for all the difference it makes to the flavour.
The interior is very soft, almost to the point of being creamed, even with those veg chunks inside. Overall, this is not very enjoyable at all. Vegan it may be, but palatable it is not. Needless to say, I won’t be going back for another serving of these.
On the Vegburge scale, I give this…
Taste – 1/10
Price – 4/10
Rest of experience – 2/10
The burger is as follows:
Vegetable patty, guacamole, houmous, pico de gallo, rocket
It’s served in a bun with chips as is standard for all Wetherspoons burgers. Given that this is the gourmet section, six onion rings also come as standard.
The burger in the middle is the same as the standard veggie burger – as are the chips, onion rings, and even the bun, so we’ll refer you to our earlier review to read about that. What’s new is the houmous, generously smeared on the top bun; the pico de gallo, which is a lot less generous; the guacamole, spread across the bottom bun; and the rocket, a large handful, with it.
It was pleasantly surprising to see how the houmous and guacamole go together. There was something about them being on opposite ends of the burger, separated by the patty, which made them work together all the better. The rocket adds a little tang; the pico de gallo really might as well have not been there. All in all, it’s a fair addition to the menu, but certainly not a patch on our beloved, dearly departed Mexican burger.
Sadly, it is only currently available in certain branches by the looks of it – including the London branches where the prices are much higher.
On the Vegburge scale, I give this…
Taste – 7/10
Price – 6/10
Rest of experience – 8/10
This week we’re bringing you a review of another venue in Canterbury. Since we’re around there so much, we figured we’d try another veggie burger option and let you know what we think – enter Friendly Phils and their American-style dining.
This is the burger that we went for:
FALAFEL & SPINACH
Now, we both wanted to add halloumi, and we both went for onion rings and fries. However, I added sweet potato fries with cheese, which are an upgrade on the regular sides you’re supposed to choose from.
Now, here’s where it gets shady. My waitress did tell me that it would be £2 extra for the sweet potato fries with cheese. That seemed fine, since they are priced at £4.95 as a side while normal fries are £2.95.
However, when I looked at the receipt after leaving and actually figured it out, I had been charged more than that. I was charged £8.90 for my burger with halloumi and onion rings, plus £4.95 for the fries. It should have been £10.90 for the burger and sides deal, plus £2 for the extra upgrade.
So, in summary, I was charged £13.85 instead of £12.90. Bit cheeky and if I had spotted it at the time I would have complained. The prices are high to start with, without them pulling tricks.
Anyway, let’s talk about the burger. It was very greasy and contained visible chunks of chickpeas, spinach, herbs, and spices. You can see that it was very dark compared to what you would expect from the name ‘falafel’, and I think part of that was the amount of oil it was cooked in.
It came in a soft bun with shredded lettuce and mayonnaise, which you know I always approve of. It also had an unnecessary giant tomato – seriously, does anyone enjoy eating slices this big? What a monstrosity. It came out of the bun as soon as I was done taking pictures. There was also a gherkin which I allowed to remain.
I really enjoyed the lovely, salty halloumi, and I’m glad I opted for it even if it did cost more. It provided a nice counterpart to the burger and went very well with the lettuce and mayo. I’m confident in saying it was the best part of the burger as a whole.
Onto the sides: the sweet potato fries with cheese were freaking delicious. It was cheddar and it had melted beautifully, and the combination of the two flavours was beautiful. Not to mention the fact that it’s always fun to pull apart food which is coated in layers of melted cheese. The onion rings were good but fairly standard foodservice offerings. They came in varied sizes, some offering more value than others.
It’s hard to come to terms with this place. The service was awful; the setting was lovely. The burger was far too greasy; the sides were excellent. The tomato was huge; the halloumi was perfect. The bill was overcharged and overpriced; actually, I don’t have a positive to balance against that one. I don’t know if we’ll ever be tempted back.
ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS…
TASTE – 6/10
PRICE – 4/10
REST OF EXPERIENCE – 3/10
Let’s start with the fact that they aren’t particularly burgers. Well, I served them up as burgers, and I even cooked them like burgers – but they never became truly solid. If you’re a burger purist, you would probably argue that that makes them not a burger.
Still, I was able to make them burger-shaped, and that counts, right? If you wanted to make these more of a true burger, adding a lot more flour would probably do the trick. You might also need an egg in there to bind it together a little better.
Anyway, if you follow this recipe to the letter, you come up with something kind of green and sludgy. Pretty good for Halloween, probably, but if you don’t care what your food looks like then you might enjoy them any time of year. I served them up with houmous and cheese in flatbreads. Give them a crack and let us know what you think.