Monday, 7 January 2013

[Meat Free January] Byron Veggie Burger

In a fit of drunkeness, and in no small measure doffing my cap to my colon which thinks I should eat less red meat, I made a New Year's resolution to give my body a much needed detox and spend the whole month of January meat free (and alcohol free, but that's another story). 
Byron Veggie Portobello mushroom burger
Byron Veggie Portobello mushroom burger 
So it's the 3rd January and the last day of the Byron Triple Cheesemas special...
..and what am I having? 

That's right. It's a fucking veggie burger. I've just ordered one. And the couple next to me have  just been served their Triple Cheesemas burgers. Kill me. Kill me now. 

I remind myself that it's only 3 January and I have a month to go. I remind myself that this is going to be great for vegetarians who for too long have been surrounded by beef burgers and haven't had a reliable source of veggie burger information. I remind myself that I'm raising money for the MS Society [come and sponsor me!], and my dad's pledged a pound for every day I go without meat. I'm only three days in. FML.

Right melodrama (mostly) over, so here's the low-down on the Byron Veggie Burger:

Byron Veggie Burger - £7.75
Macaroni Cheese - £3.50
Byron Veggie Portobello mushroom burger with 'fake bacon'
Byron Veggie Portobello mushroom burger with 'fake bacon'
My 'burger' arrives…and it doesn't look too bad. Proper soft, squishy bun. Portobello mushroom masquerading as beef. Goats cheese lightly melted over the red pepper, inserted as a kind of fake bacon (god I miss bacon). It's topped with aioli and leaves of baby spinach, tomato and rings of red onion. 
Under the lid - the Byron Veggie Burger
Under the lid - the Byron Veggie Burger
First bite. My mouth is 'almost' fooled into thinking this could be a beef burger. Except the mushroom doesn't offer the same resistance as ground beef does, or the meaty, fatty juices I'd normally expect to taste.

As I plough through it, the mushroom 'snaps' as my teeth cut through it, rather than gently pulling away from a meat patty in an ooze of juice. The flavour combination is good, earthy mushroom, coupled with a mild goat's cheese, and a hint of garlicky aioli, while the baby spinach adds a nice contrasting crunch to the mix. 

As it goes, the Byron Veggie burger is actually pretty good - it's moist and flavoursome, whilst not being boring, but it's missing something I can't quite put my finger on. Oh yeah, that's it, MEAT. It's lacking the savoury kick of beef meaning the flavour comes in a high riff, rather than a more carefully composed symphony. 
Byron Veggie Burger and Mac 'n' Cheese
Byron Veggie Burger and Mac 'n' Cheese

I finish my veggie burger, Tom Byng's comments about consistent grilling under the salamander clearly taken on board, and sob gently into my (pretty good) mac 'n' cheese.

It’s going to be a long month. But YOU can help me through it by sponsoring me on Virgin Money Giving!

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5 comments:

  1. I like that it's real food - not some pretend meat veggie patty - I think those things can be sinister, I've never quite understood the desire to create faux veggie version of bacon, burgers, meat etc.


    Also a big haloumi fan - ate loads when I was vegetarian. But recently I've seen it being sold in supermarkets in round burger bun shape now, so very easy to turn into a burger home. I love it with some chilli flakes sprinked on and griddled.

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  2. Sounds (and looks) awesome Nicko - much more my type of burger!! xx

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  3. Nick Andrews07 January, 2013

    I'm with you on the halloumi, Ian - nice touch with the chilli flakes as well. I've also heard falafel can be good in a burger, but I remain to be convinced. I'll report back sir!

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  4. Nick Andrews07 January, 2013

    But no meat in it :(

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  5. Rachel Page09 January, 2015

    Excellent looking veggie burger — will be trying this out for sure!

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