I recently stayed at the Arden Hotel in Birmingham ahead of Clothes Show Live, and since all of the food venues in the NEC closed early, we ended up eating at their own restaurant and bar. Apparently you have to book ahead to get into the main restaurant (even though the entire thing was empty bar one table when we got there), so we ate at the Burgundy Bar section just opposite. Unfortunately for the burger, it found itself in an inhospitable environment: drunk Christmas party guests were staggering around, gusts of cold air were blowing in from outside in the smoking area, and much more could have been desired from the staff.
Recently I ate at a pub in a small local village in Kent, Wrotham. The pub is called The Moat, and they serve a sweet potato and red pepper burger on their menu. Of course, I just had to try this out! It comes served with homemade coleslaw and skinny fries, and has a gherkin stuck on top as well, giving it quite a strange appearance. It is placed on a wooden board with a paper tray, which unfortunately is quite easy to tear once you start to eat the coleslaw. This is one of my pet hates at the moment as paper seems to be “in” with burgers – it just makes a mess, and I don’t want to eat it by accident.
This week I’m taking a look at the Iceland Spicy Bean Burgers, which are available in the vegetarian freezer section and can be cooked either in the microwave or the oven. For the purposes of this review, I put them in the oven, although a favourite snack when I was a student with no money was to put them in the microwave. I would then cut them into strips, lay them inside a tortilla, and wrap them up with some salad vegetables. They are fine if done like this, but can be a bit soggy underneath if they get too damp.
It is perhaps debatable whether or not a bake qualifies as a burger, but based on the shape and the consistency, on this occasion I’m counting it. Particularly when it comes to being a vegetarian option, I think this one just fits the bill. The mushroom and spinach bake is available from Sainsbury’s, where you can buy a pack of four at once. They cook in the oven – I could say that they would probably do fine if microwaved, but I have never tried it, and I’m sure the breadcrumbs would suffer for it. They are quite “tall” compared to the average burger, and have a tendency to get a bit droopy in the middle once cooked – beware of them accidentally spilling out their insides before you even get them on the plate.