By now, regular readers know that I am a huge fan of Mildred’s, so it’s probably no surprise that I returned in order to try yet another of their marvellous burgers. This one is the Polish Burger from the regular menu. It’s served in a focaccia bun with iceburg lettuce, mayonnaise, pickled cabbage and gherkin, and my favourite: vegan cheese! It’s a beetroot, white bean and dill burger, which sounds amazing even to start with.
I chose sweet potato fries as my side – this is probably the one thing that lets Mildred’s down, in that you don’t get your burger with fries or salad as standard. It does rack the price up a bit, which is annoying. But it’s all really amazing food, and even if they don’t change the menu often, I’ve still managed to have something different on three different visits, so there is a lot of variety.
This was probably my favourite burger from Mildred’s so far. The tangy dill against the beetroot is always such a great combination, and the ratio was just right here. The smooth taste of the pesto mayonnaise went beautifully, and it was just so so good with perfectly balanced flavours. It was big too and very filling, which means it a) took me ages to eat and b) was really satisfying. And yes, I managed to eat it without a knife and fork. I will not be defeated by a huge burger!
Recently we went back to Ed’s Diner to try their second burger – a full year after the first! The chickpea and quinoa burger was the focus of this visit, but I also decided to get a plate of the atomic American fries. These are served “With chilli, sour cream, Cheddar cheese sauce and guacamole on the side. Veggie option with BBQ sauce”. As you will see below, they are absolutely huge. The burger itself was very filling too, so just with these two items it was a filling meal.
The main taste that comes through right away is sweetcorn. It is also pretty similar to a bean burger, with that very slightly spicy taste and the generally creamy texture of beans. It had a soft interior which was covered in breadcrumbs, though not crispy or crunchy ones – they were quite soft in themselves as well. There were chunks of green beans and other little vegetable pieces, and an overall rich, oily taste which no doubt comes from the way they are cooked. Overall very pleasant, and enjoyable.
It had a fair but not overwhelming amount of salad. The bread buns were good, covered with sesame seeds in a light brioche. Basically what you expect from burger buns in the current trend. Not the most remarkable buns but certainly complementary to the burger taste. They don’t distract either, which is a good thing.
The chips were pretty amazing. Well, the chips themselves were generally just normal chips, but the dips… Oh the dips. The nacho cheese was divine, as was the super smooth guacamole. Sweet and tangy barbecue sauce also matched up well against the smooth sour cream. The overall winner however was the chilli dip, which was actually a whole lot less spicy than you would think and instead just kind of delicious.
So this week I wanted to write a few lines about a little place to eat that we visit now and then, and which is definitely on my love list. Basil is a cafe/deli which serves beautiful food, much of it vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, in Kent. They currently have three branches: two in Tunbridge Wells, and one in Tonbridge – our favourite as it’s a short walk away!
This place is really great because it sells a lot of alternative food that you can’t get elsewhere here. They serve courgette cake which is absolutely delicious, and plenty of tarts, quiches, pies, and sandwiches which change daily. They also – and this is probably my favourite part – make gorgeous milkshakes with flavours like peanut butter, Snickers, and so on that turn a simple milkshake into a sin. In the kind of way that makes you want to be a sinner. Mmm. Actually, I might have lied: my favourite part might just be the desserts, which have to be tasted to be believed.
One of the things I had there recently was the butternut squash, spinach, and feta pie you can see above. It was just divine, especially with my Snickers milkshake. Their ready-made sandwiches are also delicious, and you can go right in and pick whatever you want from the counter.
The decor is so cute as well, with rustic walls combined with home-made touches and flowers. I absolutely love this place, is basically what I’m saying. If you want to impress me, you know where to invite me out for coffee!
As part of our recent trip to France – which you are all no doubt getting sick of hearing about! – one of the last places we visited was Planet Hollywood, over at Downtown Disney. We had spent the day shopping at a nearby outlet centre and popped down to Disney for the end of the day, a bit of souvenir shopping, and a quick meal. It was my birthday, so I spent the day doing things I love – shopping for expensive clothes and eating veggie burgers!
Planet Hollywood seemed the obvious choice, especially as they had a veggie burger option. It was a portobello mushroom burger, which always sounds good to me. It came in at 15 euros each, but was served with chips, so we gave it a go.
When it arrived, I began to take a look with interest. There were two big mushrooms stacked one on top of the other, making a juicy burger wedge that was dripping with juices. Unfortunately, there was also a very thick slice of red onion – right across the middle of a large one – and a whole wedge of lettuce. There was a lot of everything, but each flavour was in turn too strong. For reference, EVERYTHING in the photo below above the cheese is salad. And the salad only consisted of lettuce, onion, tomato, and a gherkin.
The large slice of tomato and the gherkin I took out right away, as it was difficult enough to manage the red onion – and I really like red onion! There was stringy cheese which added a great texture however, and a soft bread bun with a thick and solid edge to it. It was a little difficult to eat the burger as by the time you got halfway through it, all of the mushroom juice was dripping out and soaking the bread – plus it was large enough to cause problems for your jaw. It got so slippery in the end that the main challenge was holding it together without losing half the filling.
It was not a terrible burger, per se, but it was certainly a victim of the Disney overpricing. It tasted like cheap pub food to me – and while I do love pub food, it wasn’t a patch on a Wetherspoons veggie burger. Still, at least it wasn’t undercooked or cold like other mushroom burgers I have had in the past – and it was served in an interesting setting, with a delicious milkshake, and with a game on the tablemat that allowed you to match up the celebrities with their yearbook photos. It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but certainly not the worst.
So this week I’ll be reviewing something a little closer to home… I’ve volunteered at Brands Hatch since around 2006, and worked there since 2014. Somehow, however, I’ve never tried their veggie burgers. How is that possible?
Well, first of all, you can only get them at a couple of places. There’s the Grand Prix Terrace in the paddock area, which is only accessible to those with passes on big race weekends. For the rest of the time, you can get there simply by walking through the tunnel or from the lower paddock. The other fast food-style serving areas are not always open, particularly during the week, so the GPT is generally your best option.
The burger comes in a little fast food box, which was great for me as I had to grab one really quickly while I was working. I just had the barest amount of time to eat it before I had to run off again, so that’s why I only have a couple of images to show you. Inside the bun is a bit of cheese with a Mexican style burger, which is actually surprisingly spicy considering the context! I was pretty happy with it to be honest, for the fact that it did actually taste pretty good. It’s not necessarily what you expect from a fast serve counter, particularly not one which is set up in the middle of a busy event.
They don’t generally have the burgers ready to buy because not many people ask for them, so you do have to wait for about five minutes for them to be cooked. Still, the turnaround time is pretty good, and you will be absolutely sure that the burger is fresh. It’s worth noting that they do not have the burger up on all of the menus, so you can ask if they have one available if you are not sure.
Other than that, it’s pretty much a simple fast food burger. The bun is good, soft and seeded, exactly what this kind of burger calls for. It’s a little greasy, and packs quite a punch. Otherwise, a simple and tasty choice.
I used to eat at Frankie and Bennys quite often, but it’s been a while since I was back. I went for their veggie burger to remind myself of what it was like! The menu describes it as follows:
“A Mediterranean style combination of red peppers, olives, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella. Served in a toasted sesame seed bun with fresh baby gem lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickle and mayo. With house fries and tomato-chilli relish on the side.”
It is priced at £10.75, so it’s one of the more expensive burgers you will come across in this type of restaurant. The ambiance is good most of the time, but it has a tendency to break into the annoying – such as every time someone has a birthday. The lights dim, and “Congratulations” plays, every single time – sometimes four or five times a night during your meal if you go on a busy day. But having said that, there are places with more annoying traditions. Let’s move on to the burger now!
This burger comes with a very tasty fruity relish, which I enjoyed. Actually, I’m always on the lookout for a good burger relish – I may add some reviews later on, after recently picking up some at a local craft fair. This one fit the bill and was one of the highlights of the meal. It was served with a good amount of onion and some nice stringy cheese which melted nicely against the rest. There was a kind of average bun which did not make so much of an impression on me. Unfortunately, I would also have to say that the burger was not so remarkable. It is made with large amounts of olives but not a very strong taste – on the one hand this is good, as I’m not really an olive fan. On the other hand, I expected more flavour. It does need a little something added – as is so often sadly the case, the burger itself is just not anything special. I really want to see more of an effort made in this area by restaurants – plenty of their other dishes are packed with flavour, so this is a disappointment.
It was also served with thin chips, which felt quite cheap and did not add much to the meal. You had the option to change to a thick cut chip if you wanted to pay more, but that hardly seems worth it. There is a lot more that could be done with this meal, particularly for the price at which it is sold.
Recently we headed to a branch of Byrons in the Strand area of London. They have two options for veggie burgers on the menu, so I opted for the “Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Goat’s Cheese Burger” served with “roasted red pepper, baby spinach, tomato, red onion and aioli” (taken from the menu). It’s a little disappointing that they don’t have a speciality veggie burger, or at least a few options. If they market themselves as a burger place, you might expect that they would provide alternatives. This is certainly the case in other burger joints that I’ve been to.
I love mushrooms, especially of the Portobello variety, so it was exceedingly disappointing that there was not much taste to the mushroom. It was not hugely warm either, so I’m placing the blame for that solely on the cooking method. It needs to be done with a little more skill in order to retain that juicy taste. There was a strong goats cheese flavour which overpowered everything else, and while I do like goats cheese, it needed something else to balance it out. Perhaps a stronger mushroom flavour would have done the job! The whole burger was quite thin and small, particularly when you consider that the price covers a burger alone. You do not get any sides with it unless you order them separately. What’s more, with so many ingredients listed on the menu, I perhaps expected a bit more height at least.
The bread of the bun was not memorable at all. It was served as only a thin slice, and only a little crispy – again, better cooking could have helped here. I could just about taste the spinach and peppers through the goats cheese, but they were nothing remarkable. The rest of the ingredients may as well not have been there for all the difference they made to the taste. As I ate the burger, the juices of the mushroom soaked into the bread, leaving me with a mushy mess at the end.
I had been meaning to try this burger for a while, as we had been to Byrons before at a lunch time for smaller meals, and to be honest I expected more. I was really quite disappointed. When a restaurant shoves you into tiny spaces like sardines and charges stupid prices for it, you at least expect the food to be good. This wasn’t, and I won’t be trying it again. It’s unfortunate that they were not able to deliver even at a time when the restaurant was mostly empty. I did try one of their milkshakes which was pretty good, but considering it cost about the same as the burger itself, it wasn’t a great measurement of quality.
I recently wrote a post on AXS about Byrons in general. There you can check up on the three branches they currently have in London if you are interested in trying the burger for yourself.
The Big Easy in Covent Garden has an interesting look right from the entrance. A long corridor leads you into a bar area, where you can wait to be seated with a couple of drinks. The whole building feels a bit like a maze, with more seats around corners and a downstairs area too. The spicy black bean veggie burger is one of just a few vegetarian options. This is perhaps to be expected at a barbecue restaurant however! It costs £10.90, and is described in the menu as follows: “Avocado, Pickle and Chipotle Sour Cream”, “with fresh potato fries and ‘slaw and house pickles”.
Costing almost as much as the burger was my fabulous hard shake, pictured above. This was the Sailor Strawberry Shortcake, and it was absolutely delicious. It contains Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Chase rhubarb liqueur, Becherovka bitters, milk, and strawberry ice cream. It is definitely recommended for those heading there on a late night! We actually came out of the theatre in to this meal, so it was a great end to the night. The cocktail barely even tasted like alcohol, so I imagine you could make your way through a few of these without really noticing it!
The burger itself was really good, much better than the description makes it sound. It was topped off with very spicy onions pickled in chilli vinegar, which were somewhat difficult to eat on their own. As a part of the whole, they blended in enough that it was manageable. It did detract from the overall flavour a little, but it was an interesting addition all the same. The buns were made of lovely thick bread, but I was still able to eat the whole thing by holding it in my hands. I didn’t need to cut it up, so it was sized just perfectly if you ask me! The burger itself had a soft but chewy, homemade texture, with lots of black beans giving quite an earthy taste. There was also plenty of salad and sauce included in the bun, though of course I discarded the tomato as always. It was finished off with some nice smooth avocado, the taste of which was mostly lost. However, the texture was fantastic against the burger.
The unfortunate side was that the chips were sub par, with a lot of crispy bits rather than full chips, which was disappointing. I also found the house slaw to be quite vinegary and peppery. I’m not really a fan of slaws normally. A lot of restaurants are adding their own versions now, but I don’t feel they add much. To be honest, I’m getting a little sick of always having it there. It’s definitely not my favourite side and it doesn’t always make sense with the flavours of the burger. In this case, I could have done without it. I also didn’t like the pickle, though I don’t like them in general so no surprise there.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is really nice. It’s quite dark, as you can probably tell from these images, but that just serves to make each booth feel intimate and private. There was great music with live blues being played somewhere – for the life of me I could not figure out where! We ended up right round a corner out of the way, so couldn’t see anything. It feels like a great place to be and to be “seen”, too. It was packed full even late in the evening, without any spare tables or room at the bar. You can tell that this is a very popular venue at the moment. That just adds to the atmosphere and makes you want to be there all the more.
This was something really exciting for me, because I’ve never been to a full vegetarian restaurant before. Mildred‘s serves vegetarian and vegan choices, and is quite busy normally as you can’t book a table in advance. It’s a little cramped inside, but we managed to get a table to ourselves, and the food was absolutely worth it. We were told to try turning up a little later as that would reduce the wait, and we did not queue for long. Looking at the menu was ridiculous. This is the first time I’ve been able to choose anything I want from a whole menu! I could barely decide. But, since I knew it would be something I could talk about here, I eventually went for the burger of the day. As it was a special occasion, I also started out with tortelloni as an appetiser.
This was described on the menu as, “fresh tortelloni filled with pumpkin and ricotta, with chestnut mushroom, white wine cream sauce, drizzled with truffle oil”. It was irresistible, and in fact I was quite tempted to get it as a main. There was altogether too much sauce to be satisfying, as I ended up with half of it left behind on the plate. However, the pasta itself was delicious. The filling was soft and tasty, and melted in the mouth. The mushrooms were prepared perfectly. I definitely would recommend this one, although it is very filling for an appetiser.
As for the burger, this was selected from the daily specials. There is a different burger available each day, though I would assume that they do rotate some of the same recipes around a bit. This one was described as, “puy lentil, black olive, roast pepper, smoked tofu”. It’s served “in sour dough bun with relish, red onion, rocket and tomato with fries and basil mayo”. This came in at £9.35, with an extra £1.50 charge for sweet potato fries to be swapped for the normal fries.
I don’t really like olives, so I was a tiny bit worried about that part. However, even though the olive taste was strong, it was also really good. It took away the texture which I hate and just retained a salty, smoky flavour. The burger itself was actually really tasty. It also came with the sweet, smoky, and spicy relish, which I could eat on its own from a jar. Seriously, that is good relish. Not only that, but the other dip – the delicious basil mayo – was also just sublime. I was pretty happy with those, enough that I could have forgiven faults with the burger itself. The fact that there were none just improved the experience all the more! The sweet potato fries were all crispy but soft and juicy in the middle, to the point where I didn’t even want to put them in the mayo because I wanted to taste that full flavour on its own. The burger was filled with a good amount of rocket and red onion, but not too much that it would overpower the rest of the flavours.
One criticism was that the tomato was far too big for the bun, but of course you know by now that I just have a thing about raw tomato. I don’t understand why it still has a place in burgers of any kind, particularly so when you are at a more progressive restaurant such as this one. The sourdough bun was a little too tough for chewing or cutting, which did cause me a few problems. The burger was very large but hard to cut also, so it was tough to eat at times. I managed to do it without a knife and fork, but I think this is one area that they could improve.
Overall, I loved the experience. It was so amazing to be able to choose anything that I was almost overwhelmed. The service was friendly and there was a good atmosphere too. This is one place I’ll be visiting again for certain.
I’ve been to TGI Fridays a couple of times, although the last time was a while ago. I don’t know whether they have changed their menu recently, but I certainly remember having a much better meal the first time I went. Whether the food has changed, or whether it was the fault of the particular chefs, I’m not sure – but I expected a bit more from this burger, or “sandwich” as they call it, than I got. To start with, it was brought out first with the wrong fries, and out of a table of eight there were four mistakes when they brought the food out, with another plate arriving very late. Three out of eight is not a good start.
My burger was topped with a slice of cheap looking singles cheese which melted onto the burger and bun, rendering them quite difficult to separate when it came to putting sauce between them. There was also a massive and watery tomato which I took out as soon as it arrived, and a small amount of red onion under the burger with some cheesy relish. This relish was also served on the plate as a dip for the sweet potato fries that I opted for, and it was a spicy cheesy dip containing small pieces of jalapenos to add spice. The burger itself was made up of kidney beans and sweet corn as far as I could see, with a mushy cheesy texture which did not do it any favours. There was a fried, greasy texture and flavouring to the outside with some crunchy bits around the edges where it had overcooked – not quite the standard that I would normally hold burgers up to.
It was held inside a rich brioche bun which had been lightly fried on the inside, one of the better parts of the meal in all, although it was almost too rich to be put with the burger. I had chosen to order the really nice sweet potato fries with crispy seasoning on the outside, which went fine with the spicy dip or on their own. The burger as a whole was quite thin but filling enough, especially after a starter – even if we did share that between several of us. It is one of the cheaper vegetarian options on the menu, so I am not sure that I would appreciate getting the same sort of quality at a higher price. As it was, I don’t think I would relish the idea of going there and buying one again. This was unfortunate as I did not have bad memories previously – next time I will likely eat something different, if I do go there again.
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 4/10
Price – 5/10
Rest of experience – 6/10