I’ve been vegetarian for ages but I really wish I could be vegan. It would be far more ethical. But it’s hard enough being vegetarian sometimes – someone serving me in a cafe recently was convinced that vegetarians could eat chicken. When asking a restaurant if their food is vegetarian or vegan you are always at the mercy of their understanding of these terms.
So it’s a relief to go somewhere that advertises as being solely vegan because you know they get it. And one such place is The Alley, which has just opened on St Kilda Road near the corner of Toorak Road. The menu is rich with temptations, but today I’m focusing on the burgers of course. There are 4 of them (well, 5 if you count their breakfast burger) and I have ordered the Maple Bacon Burger.
The patty is made from portobello mushroom, sweet potato and adzuki beans and it’s very tasty. With that is lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles and coconut ‘bacon’, which added a lovely smokey, salty crunch. There was a flavoursome sauce with the burger that I couldn’t place when I was eating it, so when I finished I grabbed the menu and checked. It was carrot ketchup. That was definitely a first for me, and it complemented the burger perfectly. And all this in a lovely brioche bun.
I was already in burger heaven and I haven’t even mentioned the chips yet. Actually they were air-baked potato wedges with almond ‘parmesan’ and crispy kale. I love kale when it’s been fried and it added a great kick to the wedges.
You know that feeling you get after you’ve had a burger and chips – where you feel you’ve over-indulged and you just need to go somewhere to sleep it off? Well there was no such feeling with this burger – it was light and fresh while still being satisfying. And because I didn’t feel like a blimp afterwards I had a vegan donut for dessert. And that was a great way to finish off a perfect vegan burger.
Burger: $12.95 / vegan / can be made gluten-free
Chips: $6.95 / vegan / gluten-free
Location: 417 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC