Tatler Tastes: Does This Vegan Burger Really Look And Cook Like Beef?
Earlier this spring, the Beyond Burger was launched for the first time outside of the United States—birthplace of this particular plant-based vegan patty—after seven years of research and repetitive testing by an innovative team led by Bill Gates and Tyson Foods. The meatless beef burger substitute has been exclusively available in Hong Kong’s Green Common shops and bistros since April, and only recently has it been made available on the other end of the spectrum—at none other than The Butcher’s Club.
When I heard of a new vegan burger patty in the market, I was feeling slightly reluctant to try it, thinking that might just be another thick puck made with beans and pulses. Upon discovering it was lab-researched product made from pea protein, my anticipation grew even less—would this product have a ‘fake’ flavour profile laden with preservatives and chemical flavorings?
The Butcher’s Club advertises their Beyond Burger by placing it right next to its original signature burger on their in-house posters and yes, you have to look closer to tell the difference between the two. The staff were keen on describing what components form the vegetarian option, but they couldn’t tell us much more after that. The staff still show skepticism over the Beyond Burger and failed to answer some of the most commonly asked questions, such as ‘What is the vegetarian patty made of?’, ‘Will it be dry?’ and ‘What does it taste like?’ . What they did tell us twice, however, was that the new patty “tastes kinda like meat”.
The 100% vegan option featuring the Beyond Burger patty at The Butcher’s Club is heftily constructed with vegan cheddar cheese, crisp pickled beetroot, tomatoes, dill pickle, and a vegan burger sauce—all sandwiched between two halves of a toasted bun. The patty looked the part of a beef burger, which bears a caramelised brown crust on the outside. The burger patty itself was moist and tender, resembling its meaty kin. Gone may be the ‘desired degree of doneness’ but one can expect a slightly crumbly texture, just like a ground beef patty that yields to the bite.
Unlike other lab-tested meat products with the aesthetic effect to ‘bleed’ or ooze juices, the Beyond Burger patty was relatively less exciting when cooked. The middle of the patty remains a one-dimensional brown colour, and it appeared a little dry on appearance. We were slightly taken aback by how boring it looked, although the aroma was intriguing thanks to the caramelisation formed on the crust. The vegetarian patty itself is spot-on when it comes to texture, even if the supporting ingredients of vegan cheese and burger sauces were on the greasy side. Surprisingly, these were the only flaws I found.
In terms of level of satisfaction the new vegetarian burger offers, this vegan patty’s slightly crumbly texture is far superior to conventional chickpea-rich patties, which tend to be rather dense. The vegan product may lack the juiciness of meat but the texture still reigns high among conventional vegetarian burger patties.
Beyond Burger is worth trying but one should look beyond its beefed up hype.
The Beyond Burger is available at The Butcher’s Club from now until June 7. For more information on the Beyond Burger vegan patties, please click here.
Like this story? Get the latest restaurant news and views delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to our weekly newsletter