REVIEW: Could Harvester's new vegan burgers be the solution to eating less red meat?
PUBLISHED: 09:43 20 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:52 20 January 2019
Veganism is a trend that I didn't think I would ever join - but after my trip to Harvester in Cardinal Park, I'm finding it impossible to think of an excuse as to why I shouldn't give it a go.
Like a number of restaurants across the country, Harvester has launched a “Vegan and Veggie” menu in line with ‘veganuary’, which sees thousands of people ditching meat for plant-based alternatives.
Recent reports have said one 75g beef burger contributes almost four times the amount of greenhouse gases produced by fish - nearly 8kg of greenhouse gases per serving.
Johanna Cullum, Harvester’s social media coordinator for Suffolk and Essex, said she has noticed more and more people choosing vegan options in the restaurant.
She said: “More people were asking for vegan food, especially the younger generation and big groups of students.
“It’s really nice and easy now that we can offer them an entire menu, including desserts.”
The menu includes two new vegan burgers – the “purist burger” and the “beyond bean burger”.
I went for the purist burger – a plant-based burger topped with a melting mature Violife cheese slice, in a toasted seeded bun with lettuce, tomato, burger sauce and a side of chunky chips.
The patty was made out of oyster mushrooms, regular mushrooms, onion, beetroot, chicory, tomato and vegan proteins.
It was surprisingly thick and meat-like in texture, which as a meat-lover was important for me.
Having previously tried vegan burgers which have been mushy in texture, I was hoping for something similar to a beef-burger - and I was impressed.
When the plant-based patty was paired with the burger sauce (a mixture of gherkins, tomatoes, mustard, vinegar, paprika and potato starch) it tasted quite nice and was a lot more filling than I had expected.
But the cheese for me was the star of the show.
Strong, rich and tasting no different to your classic cheddar, the Violife option went down a treat.
All in all it was a hearty burger which could have easily been the real deal. Top marks on the main course.
Now for dessert – a vegan chocolate orange slice, featuring a brownie base topped with a rich chocolate and orange mousse, and chocolate crumb. It was served with sweet strawberries and non-dairy vanilla ice-cream.
As a very sweet-toothed individual, this dessert was always going to go down a treat.
I was amazed by the ice cream, although slightly disappointed that it was not as creamy as I usually go for – but that’s to be expected considering the absence of milk.
The mousse was fluffy and sweet, yet not too sickly. The combination of the ice cream, the chocolate sauce, the rich brownie base and the sweet strawberries was incredible. And if I hadn’t known it was vegan, I would’ve been clueless.
Overall I was thoroughly impressed – and my trip has really left me reconsidering my eating habits.
Maybe I don’t need to indulge in meaty-meals on days out if it’s going to have such a huge impact on the world, and inevitably my future.
The plant-based options proved to be just as tasty – if not tastier.