The 2014 search for the best vege burger took another step as we visited one of the icons of the vegetarian/vegan food scene, Bliss Organic Cafe. Hopes were indeed very high as if anyone was going to get a vege burger right, surely somewhere like this would be it.
Like a little oasis in the hubub of the cbd, Bliss serenely wraps you in it’s welcoming arms and hides you away from the rest of the world. Their courtyard is a wonderfully disconnected mix of mismatched tables, chairs, cutlery and uneven concrete all under a beautiful old tree of some genus (I have no idea about trees and not about to start caring). It is rimmed by various ferns and other plants (see the note regards trees), and it really does just make you feel like you are in a different place entirely.
And this is just the outside – inside there are more quirks to both marvel at and also to endear the new guest to this place. There is a small library from which you can borrow from, there is information on a variety of different (largely alternative) businesses and services around Adelaide, and then there is the organic shop component. The whole thing feels like it has just evolved naturally over time – organically if you like – and is at the complete other end of the spectrum to any given chain café. This clearly has a vision and passion behind it that isn’t about extracting as much money from passing clients as efficiently as possible, and that is obvious from the moment you even approach it’s door.
This is a little off track though – so lets get back to the food.
The menu is online so you can look at it for yourself, but it has a variety of wraps, sandwiches, salads, ‘raw foods’, as well as specials and of course burgers. The word organic is used specifically 157 times on the online lunch menu – it is in their name after all – but they definitely are getting that point across.
From the menu
Bliss Burger(best seller) – $15 : home-made almond, bean and lentil patty made from organic ingredients, with house-made seasonal
chutney, organic lettuce, organic tomato, organic cucumber, organic grated carrot, organic alfalfa sprouts,
tomato sauce and home-made soy sugar-free mayonnaise, in an organic rye bun
The patty was as above – and I have to say it was perhaps a little underwhelming. The beans and lentils were obviously in there, and it was really well put together, but it just lacked a little in the flavour department. I am not sure if this was a lack of seasoning or not, or perhaps just as a result of the nature of the ingredients used, but it wasn’t as amazing as I had hoped it would be.
Lots of organics stuff going on once more, and it did make for impressive reading. It also looked a treat, with a variety of colours and textures clambering for your attention. Again though, it just seemed to be a bit restrained overall, like it was going through the motions a bit. There was no single thing that really stood out, but that was mainly because everything just seems a bit reserved. Even the chutney, which I had been pinning good hopes on, came up short.
This was by no means bad though. Everything was amazingly fresh and impeccably put together and presented. It came out looking exactly as you might expect – however the overall effect was just a little less than expected. A little less than the sum of its parts.
An organic rye bun was the order of the day and it was pretty tasty. As far apart from the glazed burger buns from a Burger Theory as you could get and still call it a bread roll, this was pretty good and held up its end of the bargain.
Nothing came specific to the burger, but as all the meals that we saw were quite sizable – so you end up feeling like a snake that has swallowed a tofu (organic naturally) rabbit – you didn’t really need anything. However, that didn’t stop us ordering the wedges/chips, and these were properly excellent.
$15 for the quality and freshness of the ingredients, and just due to the sheer size of the burger, and also served in this environment, no complaints at all.
This is a difficult one as I did expect to be amazed and really wanted to love it. I wanted to report back that my quest was over – the best vege burger had been found. However, sadly, this was not the case.
It just needed some zing, something to lift it. It was a little under-seasoned which I adjusted with the salt provided, but something with a little kick and punch to it would have made all the difference. Thinking a mango or other fruit chutney and it would have seriously lifted this to a whole different level.
Overall, Bliss Organic Café is without question an amazing place to be spending some time. The clientel that I saw did more or less fit within the cliche of what you would expect – lots of rainbow bags, facial piercing, alternative styled clothing and the like. In my office work clothes I did feel a little conspicuous, but also not unwelcome.
The burger itself was pretty good – but not any more than that. All the elements were there but it just didn’t quite come together. A bit like having all the LEGO blocks but no plans to work off. Sure, you will be able to cobble something together, but it wont quite be as good as was intended. Bliss came close to really nailing it, so perhaps one of their other burger options might do the job. Regardless of this though, the venue still comes very highly recommended. Just lower your expectations a notch before you get there (and clear your calendar after it as time does seem to slip by very quickly once you step through the doors).
Score – 7.9