f there’s one thing we Melbournians should hold our heads up high about, it’s the high quality of vegetarian and vegan food that’s available around town. The dark ages of vegetarians having to contend with token risottos and vegetable stacks are long gone. One way to illustrate this is by looking at the incredible variety of veggie burgers now on offer. We’ve gathered together some of the most interesting and, more importantly, tasty examples that are being dished up – with nary a soggy, processed patty of miscellaneous vegetables to be found.
And while each of these burger options are excellent on their own, may we suggest using this list as the basis of a veggie burger crawl? While we hold no responsibility for any instances of burger overload, we will, however, take full credit for the veggie satisfaction you’ll experience.
Market Lane Prahran
To begin with, you’ll have to get yourself up nice and early to head out to the Prahran Market to partake in Market Lane’s mushroom burger barbeque. The giant Portobello mushrooms are generously brushed with herb butter before hitting the grill and are served in a Dench bun with fine slices of onion, parmesan and chipotle mayonnaise. At $8 a pop, this is one burger that’s an absolute steal, and a rare commodity. Only available between 10am and 2pm on Saturdays, make sure you’re in early to get a hold of one of these babies.
1000 £ Bend
The people in the 1000 £ Bend kitchen clearly understand that cheese is a precious, delightful ingredient that deserves respect. So their saganaki burger makes cheese the star rather than an accompaniment. The ever-so-salty saganaki is served with an abundance of salad leaves, caramelised onion and a condiment double of tomato relish and aioli. It’s as rich as they come, but is well worth the burger belly.
Yes, Gasometer is on everyone’s list of best burgers, but the reason this pub is on all those lists is that their faux-meat burgers are seriously good. The Gasometer kitchen has recently revamped its menu for winter, shifting its focus from American soul food to a more Eastern European bent. The new pastrami burger comes with mock meat that’s made in house, pickles, onions, vegan goats cheese and is served with coleslaw, pickled beetroot and a side of Gasometer fries, which themselves must go pretty close to being the best chips in town. It may not be quite as good as the star of their previous menu – the Southern fried ‘chicken’ burger – but in this context, it’s like saying Paul McCartney isn’t quite as good as John Lennon, and will provoke just as much debate.
The Napier Hotel
More famous for their Bogan Burger (it has a potato cake in it, don’t pretend you’re not intrigued), the Napier also serves up an Indian-inspired veggie burger. The South Indian Dahl burger has a red lentil patty that is augmented by tart pickled courgettes, tomato, curry mayonnaise and a punchy kasundi for relish. With sides of both fries and coleslaw, it’s another mighty meal, and eating it in the surrounds of one of the best pubs in town certainly adds to the experience.
Time to jump into a car or flag down a tram – we’re going food truck hunting. The vegetarian option at Beatbox Kitchen is a relatively simple mushroom burger, but the simplicity belies its deliciousness. The Portobello mushrooms are thick and juicy and their heat melts the gouda cheese, which, combined with the ‘stereo sauce’, makes for a sloppy concoction of deliciousness. At $10, there is an argument to be made that they’re a touch pricey for what they are. But hey, where else are you going to be able to eat a veggie burger that’s come out of a van that looks like a ghetto blaster?
Location changes daily, check the Beatbox twitter
In the backstreets of North Fitzroy you will find the Tramway Hotel. It’s a modest, unassuming pub that nevertheless dishes up two seriously impressive vegan burgers. The Portobello mushroom burger is striking enough, but we politely urge you to go with the quinoa burger. The moist quinoa, basil and hummus patty is accompanied by cos lettuce leaves, tomato relish and a particularly delicious vegan almondaise, squished in between the halves of a seedy wholemeal bun. The Tramway burgers also come with rough-hewn chips that still retain their potato skins, making for a hearty meal.
Lord of the Fries
Many vegetarians and vegans have found themselves queuing at a Lords outlet at the end of a night out to get some burgers and fries into their liquor-soaked bellies. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, because the burgers at the entirely vegetarian Lord of the Fries are delicious any time of day. There are six different burgers to choose from in a variety of sizes. May we suggest the parma burger, with a vegetable protein ‘chick’n’ patty, crispy ‘facon’ rashers, onions and Napoli sauce? Considering how many omnivores frequent the place, Lords are definitely doing tasty right.