Vegetarians are always complaining. Not in general, but about burgers.
I get it. They get the bum deal. No veggie wants to head out for a burger with a meat loving friend to have the restaurant fob them off with a big grey watery mushroom in a bun. That’s no burger, that’s just fungus flopping around in bread. With lots of anti-mushroom folk out there (not me, I love them) I’m surprised that more restaurants haven’t realised the need to be more creative with veggie burgers. Just because the mushroom is the right shape, it doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. It’s the lazy choice.
Er, well that’s what I thought.
I’ve never reviewed a veggie burger on here, and that’s because I don’t remember the last time I ate a veggie burger. But it turns out lots of Springsteen fans are vegetarians, as is Jake Clemons from the E Street Horns (I know, I was disappointed with him too).
The first veggie burger to grab my attention in a long time was the “Dirty Cop Out” burger from Dirty Burger. I look at pictures of burgers all day, so they really need to be striking for me to sit up and take notice. This veggie burger, with its bulging mushroom skulking around under all that cheese, caught my eye.
So I headed to Dirty Burger for another visit (the first write up is here). This time I went to Vauxhall to see how that compared to the first site in Kentish Town.The Vauxhall branch is less of a place to linger and more of a place to dip in and either takeaway, or perch on a stool for a few minutes.
Anyway, my burger – the Dirty Cop Out. No floppy mushroom in bread here! Despite my initial thoughts, the portobello mushroom was great – and weirdly, quite a satisfying texture – it had some bite and worked well with the tarragon mayo and smoked applewood cheese, which to be honest was the main thing you could taste here. No bad thing, the cheese was tangy and delicious.
Fickle perhaps, but the reason this burger caught my eye was down to its good looks. All that rocket! Look at the all the cheese, a little bit crispy. The above is the picture of the Dirty Cop Out burger roaming twitter and press releases.
And here is a friend’s picture from her visit a few months back:
And this is my burger:
No rocket, no sticky out cheese, no pickles and that mushroom is distinctly…flaccid.
You don’t have to be the smartest person to see I was undersold here.
I decided to ask another Springsteen fan @JenNorthy for her opinion on the burger. She’s vegetarian, so knows her veggie burgers well. Her verdict: “I felt like they’d actually taken some time to find ingredients that went well together and offered something different – I felt cared for.” In response to the big mushroom debate, she believes “if the fillings are well matched and tasty, and if the mushroom in question is massive, it’s actually sometimes the most delicious thing.”
And I agree. In this case it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and although my burger was lacking love (and pickles, and rocket) it was creamy and strangely comforting, and the best veggie burger I remember. OK, the only veggie burger I remember.
Obviously I wasn’t only going to eat a mushroom burger, I had to try the new bacon cheeseburger too (£6.50). Very very nice.
Great value, great burgers. One for the veggies, but for your meat loving friends too.
Read more about Jake Clemons and his favourite veggie burger here.