For many vegetarians a burger is a loaded proposition. Some disciples protest that co-opting such a visible symbol of the meat industry is traitorous from the off, while others with less staunch positions are nonetheless horrified by imitation meat patties and will only countenance halloumi or mushroom in place of the meat.
There is another way: a peaceful compromise around which herbivores can rally. It is not as opportunistic as imitation meat, nor as hackneyed and predictable as a halloumi or mushroom burger. And if you mash it up a bit, you can forget it’s a burger at all — which should placate the ideologues opposed to the very notion of a veggie burger. You need to find a quinoa patty.
The hashtag #quinoapatties is in the ascendant: there are currently almost 1,300 posts associated with it. And, crucially, the dish is getting a grip across the capital. Roast in SE1 was hitherto a carnivorous zone, but launched a vegetarian menu last month. One notable contribution is the bright quinoa and beetroot patty, which is served sandwiched inside a charcoal brioche bun and spread liberally with pickled carrot chutney and avocado and tahini dressing (The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, SE1, roast-restaurant.com).
Roast’s version is the seemly, upmarket burger, though the Star of Kings on York Way in King’s Cross has a messier one that errs on the side of street food — a new patch for quinoa. The Morrissey burger — so-named after the famous vegan — slaps a root veg, chickpea, lentil and quinoa patty in a brioche bun and is garnished with cheddar, guac, salsa and lime crema. There is a totally vegan version too, which cans the cheese for starters (126 York Way, N1, starofkings.co.uk). The burger is also served at sister pub The Star of Hackney Downs.