One of the staples of the frozen section for vegetarians is Quorn, and although I’ve got a real love/hate relationship with it, I can’t deny that it comes in handy. Living with a meat-eater means that we can compromise by having something that is at least intended to be a bit like meat – and it’s an interesting exercise to see just how closely it hits the mark with someone who knows what it should taste like. For this review I’m looking at their Southern Fried Chicken Burgers, available frozen, which are the kind of thing you’d pick up for a proper burger in a bun or just to eat on the side with fries. The cooking time is around 16 minutes, which is a little better than some burgers from the frozen section, and could make them quite a convenient choice when you’re in a rush. Here’s what the burgers look like frozen, before going into the oven:
This review concerns a burger that I ate quite a while ago now at Ed’s Diner in Norwich while staying there for a short break, so if some of the details are a little vague, hopefully you will forgive me. I do remember one huge point which stuck out to me during even the ordering process and which certainly coloured my experience of the burger right from the get-go: the price. £6.55 for a burger on its own – no fries, no side salad, no drink, nothing but the plate it sits on – seems a bit excessive to me. We aren’t talking about prime Kobe beef here, but a simple Cajun Vegetable burger served with lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickle, mayonnaise, mild mustard, and a lightly toasted seeded bun. In order to figure all of that out you have to read up and down the menu a few times, too, as the entry for the Cajun Vegetable burger itself unhelpfully describes it simply as “the Original”, meaning you then have to go and read up on that menu item in order to get anywhere.
Recently I ate at The Two Brewers in Hadlow, which is a Harvey and Sons pub. It’s not the kind of place that I would normally choose to go, but a Secret Diner opportunity came up so we decided to give it a chance. First off I’ll apologise for the quality of the images that are included with this article – unfortunately the lighting was so low that my phone camera couldn’t handle it, and as I was trying to be somewhat incognito, flash seemed like a bad idea! On the menu, the burger is listed as the following: “Vegetarian burger in a sesame bap served with straight cut chips, homemade coleslaw & mixed leaf salad”. It only costs £6.95, which isn’t bad for pub food, but when compared to something like the Wetherspoons brand it does seem a bit pricey – particularly after you taste it.
The Pitcher and Piano in Tunbridge Wells is local to me, so I’ve tried most of the vegetarian items on the menu – including, of course, their veggie burger. This happens to be a tomato, houmous, and sweetcorn burger, served with (according to the menu) goat’s cheese rarebit, tomato, lettuce, and Russian dressing. On the occasion I’ll be describing here, I also had pan fried halloumi and chilli oil, as well as a delicious milkshake. The burger on its own costs £8.50, and is served with chunky fries, as you can see below.