Vego n Lovin It – Mexican Burger

Tucked away in a tiny upstairs space on Rundle Street, I almost feel guilty for writing a review on this. I feel like I have been let in on a secret – not in a creepy cult kind of way, but in a special invite only club vibe. I was mildly surprised there wasn’t a secret knock required, or a special handshake that only the chosen few are aware of. They were however proudly displaying a framed award from….someone or other proclaiming they served the best vegetarian burgers in Adelaide, so they have obviously allowed themselves open to some kind of public scrutiny in the past. Unbeknowns to them of course, their greatest challenge lay before them – how would Burger Me rate their offerings? Read on dear followers to find out….

The Venue and Service
Lets just cut to the chase here – this place you are either going to love or, well not hate, but just not quite understand. This may not be the right term for it but it does have a bit of a bohemian vibe to it, but to try and explain that is going to be difficult. Climbing the narrow staircase and going through the tiny door, you are presented with the most random collection of decore, furniture and fixtures this side of a special on “Australia’s Biggest Hoarders”. Every table and chair seemed to be different. One of them looked like an old dressing table complete with mirror and trinkets. The main fridge looked like it had been there when the building was constructed, as I struggle to see how else it could have got there. The menu was printed on pieces of paper and tacked on the board and any changes/alterations were either made via pen or a new piece of paper stuck over the top. The lighting was definitely set to either ‘mood’ or ‘public car park’, depending on your particular mindset and the fire exit would require some climbing or not insignificant contortion to access.

The service was proficient and friendly enough. But just to sit and look around, you felt a bit like you had slipped into some kind of parallel universe – you kind of recognised what was going on but it just didn’t quite fit into your pre-conceived idea of what it should be like.

I thought it was brilliant.

The Burger
I went with the Mexican burger as per the title of the review. This meant I got a chilli burger (veggie pattie) with lettuce, tomato, ‘cheese sauce’ and chilli sauce.

 One thing about it was that it was freaking enormous. Mega. Epic. My word of choice when it was set down in front of me was outrageous. You can actually buy ½ burgers, and there is a very clear and obvious reason why. But here at Burger Me, we don’t do things in halves, so the full monty it was.

It did mean a definite first here at Burger Me – eating a burger with a knife and fork. Yes, this does seem a little crazy as the idea of a burger is you eat it with your hands. But trust me when I say there really is no option here.

The Pattie
The pattie was made of some kind of stuff. Yes, I didn’t pay too much attention to that. It was mildly spicy (to my taste) but it was very tasty and had a great texture to it. Other than that, I cant really offer too much.

Fillings
As I have stated already, you just got lettuce and tomato along with the pattie. Not heaps of either, and I don’t think that it would have hurt to have a bit of carrot or something similar on there. I am sure Mexicans eat carrot, so this wouldn’t be diverting too much from culinary stereotypes. But this is a very small thing indeed.

The one aspect that is again a little bit Alice in Wonderland is – and you would have seen this in the photo – the putting the cheese sauce and chilli sauce over the top of the burger. The world I live in, this just isn’t the done thing. But don’t think that I am saying that as a negative because I am not. Sure, I made a rookie error of going with the sweet chilli sauce (which was a bit too sweet by the end) and the ‘cheese’ also became a bit much, but as something different this was fantastic. This also absolutely sealed the fact that picking it up just wasn’t in the playbook today.

The Roll
The roll was a wholemeal offering and it was delicious. It was also very thick which was part of the reason for the sheer dimensions of the thing, and in the end I largely discarded the top. Tasty though, and when it comes to food this is usually high on the list of important attributes.

Sides
The side was some corn chips. Very tex-mex. But you know, some crunch did offer up a good textural change and it was a really nice addition. Also scooping up some of the sauce on there was a good use for them too.

Value
$14 was the asking price for this piece of exclusivity and given the quality and quantity here, that adds up nicely on my side of the ledger. They also seemed to accept my money which was a bonus – there must be a 1:1 exchange rate with this universe.

Summary
Veggo N Lovin it is a rather unique world to visit. I am reliably informed it has been essentially the same for the last 20 years or so, and in a modern world this is extremely rare. Just think about that for a second – when this place first started drowning their burgers in ‘cheese sauce’ and sweet chilli, Achy Breaky Heart had landed Billy Ray Cyrus the biggest selling single of the year. Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated. Bill Clinton became US president and we were still some 3 years away from the DVD being produced. A strange thing called a World Wide Web had only just been debuted for public use.

As such, I am not sure it is really my place to say if this was any good or not. They have been here for all this time, essentially unchanged, and have garnered themselves a devout following, and they will continue to be there for hopefully a very long time to come. When the Burger Theory van has broken down (although I hope that never happens), they will still be there, with the same tables, the same chairs, the same enormous old fridge and the same tv/record player/amp combo unit half blocking the fire exit. In some peoples eyes this might sound a bit sad, a bit boring. New is the in thing – tradition is something you read about on your iPad and loyalty is to whoever has the brightest new shiny thing. This is a throw back to a different time – and is all the better for it. For the hour of your lunch you are in a little time capsule. Its just a shame you have to leave and go back down the stairs to the real world. Just knowing it is there though – that is a comforting thought all the same.

So the score? Does it really matter?

I will give it an 8 for the burger I had. Purely of itself it didn’t change my world and I think they have better to offer. But just get along there if anything in what I said made sense to you. Sure, you cant all go at once (there just isn’t room) but at some point you really should check it out.

Review date – 17/10/2012
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Categories: Veg n Lovin It | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Vego n Lovin It – Mexican Burger

  1. Steviej

    When I lived in Adelade 20 years ago, this place was one of my favourite places to
    have lunch as it served good honest Veggie food at fair prices and was served in homely
    surroundings, unlike the fast food “get em in and get em out as quick as you can” feel.
    I ‘m glad to see this place is still there as it makes Adelade what it is today.

    • I suspect that if you went in there you would be hard pressed to see many changes – but this is a good thing of course! While the prices may have changed – the value is still excellent and the quality is there too. Its just nice to know that places like this are still around – as you said its completely different to the ‘fast food’ culture of today.

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