In theory Huxtaburger now have two vegetarian burgers on offer, the Sondra and the Vege Denise. I ordered the Sondra, but with no luck – I was told they were sold out. So I went with the Vege Denise. “Lucky,” the lady behind the counter said. “We only have three left!” And this was before the lunchtime rush. There were going to be a few disappointed vegetarians at Huxtaburger today. Or maybe not? You see, Huxtaburger got themselves in trouble with vegetarians a while back, saying on Facebook:
“Yo vegetarians, we respect your whole ‘no meat’ get up, but please don’t write into our page complaining that we only have one option, our catchphrase is HOT BEEF COLD BEER after all. You don’t see us ringing Vegie Bar to whinge about the lack of steaks that are on offer. Instead, why don’t use all those (lentil derived) protein filled brain cells to get creative with the menu. Some of our vegetarian staff recommend trying the Bills with a tofu patty. Huzzah.”
Some vegetarians took offence and threatened to boycott. Sometimes I think we are a bit thin-skinned – the post was meant to be taken light-heartedly. And I am very proud to be the owner of lentil derived protein brain cells. They are the best!
Anyway, what about the burger? The signature element of the Vege Denise is a patty made of spicy beans and quinoa. It was a lot crunchier than I expected and this was a good thing, it provided that all-important texture variety to the burger. On top of the patty were cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard, tomato sauce, Sriracha mayo, jalapeños and pickles. That’s a lot of added flavours, but they didn’t overwhelm each other. Bonus points for the crispy pickles. And the chips were good too, and not over-seasoned.
I don’t think we should expect every burger restaurant to have a vegetarian option, just as a carnivore wouldn’t assume every burger restaurant to have, for example, a pulled-pork option. At the end of the day it boils down to simple economics. If Huxtaburger found that their vegetarian burgers sold like hotcakes then they would be the star of the menu, and they certainly wouldn’t want to be sold out before the lunch rush has started. Unfortunately we vegetarians are a small demographic. We need to convince our friends and family that vegetarianism and veganism are the best ways to go through positivity, compassion and good humour. Then our numbers, and therefore choices, will grow.
Postscript: I emailed Huxtaburger after doing this review and asked about their cheese. Unfortunately it is not vegetarian, so you would need to order the Vege Denise without cheese to make it so. Their other burger, the Sondra, is vegetarian and can be made vegan.
Burger: $12.50 /not totally vegetarian (cheese has animal rennet)
Chips: Small / $3.50 + $1.50 for aioli / vegetarian
Location: Rear 357 Collins Street (Off Flinders Lane), Melbourne, VIC