THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
I am not a vegan. My job as a world-renowned food critic won’t allow it. I am however, a nutritionist. In spite of my culinary cruelty, I eat a very healthy diet. That is due, at least in part, to the fact that I avoid eating fast food. Most fast food is highly processed and poor in nutritive value. When the young entrepreneur, Matteo Toto conceived Flower Burger, he did so to merge veganism with the burger culture. He now has 17 shops in 4 countries. Clearly, I am out of sync, so I invited a vegan fast foodie friend to join me.
The interior is a nod to the hippie culture of the 70s. It’s bright and cheery, but channels a nursery school vibe more than an acid fuelled flower power trip. Don’t ask me how I know that! It is whimsical. I liked the table with swings instead of chairs and “give peas a chance” did elicit a chortle.
The food is indeed very fast and served on reusable wooden trays. Certainly a cut above polystyrene! Meal deals, including a burger, side and soft drink or beer range from £10.95 to £14.55. Gee, I remember my first MacDonald’s when it was 99 cents! I guess that makes me Michael T Rex.
I had to have the eponymous flower burger. I thought the violet bun would enhance my seventh chakra! Inside, a seitan and red bean patty, vegan cheddar, bean sprouts, tomato confit and lettuce. “Magik” sauce added flavour and moisture. The sauce is basically a vegan mayo spiked with mostarda, an Italian condiment made of candied fruit and mustard. I thought it all tasted fab and it was light as air. I thought this was positive. My vegan friend did not. He wanted filling and fuelling, an understandable concern for herbivores. Luckily, he ordered the tangy chickpea burger, which he loved. He explained what a far cry this was from the very early days of veganism. I thought it a bit stodgy but it was indeed far more filling. It too came with vegan cheddar, tomatoes, lettuce and a violet bun. Tartarella sauce, a vegan take on tartar sauce is flavoured with carum ajowan seeds. From India, the taste is something akin to anise.
My side was savoury potatoes flavoured with paprika. Dry roasted, they were indeed, dry. I should have ordered a condiment but hadn’t realised the necessity. Mr. Vegan had potatas bravas, the same potatoes smothered in mayo and spicy ketchup. I ate his!
There is a great selection of Italian soft drinks. I had blood orange. It was delicious.
For pudding, a chocolate salami (£3.95) made from dark chocolate, Melba toast and digestive biscuits was a real treat. Choco love (£4.95) a vegan take on a fondant, knocked Mr. Vegan off his chair. He vowed to return and order several more. I concur. It was dark, rich, molten chocolate. For that, I could become a vegan!