I ended up at Byron Burger recently sort of by accident. Andrew and I had just seen a movie at the Phoenix Cinema on a Saturday night, and every restaurant we peered into was either fully booked or had a long wait. So finally we decided to try Byron Burger who were able to seat us immediately, despite the restaurant being almost completely full.
I had heard all good things about this burger joint (Byron went on a bit of a blogger blitz when they first opened), but these reviews were from people who eat meat, so I really didn’t know what to expect for the vegan/vegetarian diner. There are currently two veggie choices: a portobello burger with goat’s cheese or a black bean burger.
The first thing I asked was whether the black bean burger was vegan, and our very helpful server went to check with the kitchen. Unfortunately it is not (they use egg to bind it), so I went for the portobello burger with added avocado, minus cheese and aioli, while Andrew ordered the bean burger with avocado and cheese. We also ordered the tortilla chips and guacamole to start, plus a side of chips and courgette fries.
A few minutes after the order was placed, our server came back by with the allergen list to inform us that the courgette fries were not vegan – so we ordered the onion rings instead. She also said the buns had an egg wash on them, but that I could get my burger “skinny” style without the bun, so I said that was fine. Hmm… this was starting to sound like a veggie salad now rather than a burger. Oh well.
The corn tortilla chips came out first and were really nice. They tasted fairly authentic, and the guacamole was actual smashed avocado rather than the gloopy, fake stuff most restaurants try to pass off as the real thing. My only complaint was that it was really light on the seasoning and the portion size was pretty skimpy. Luckily the signature hot sauce had a nice flavor so I ended up smothering that all over my tortilla chips (it’s not spicy at all, despite what is says on the label).
Our mains came out next and – as I expected – what I had was essentially a vegetable salad. There was absolutely nothing resembling a burger on my plate. That being said, everything was really tasty and I was happy with the big portion of avocado that came with it. As a salad I can’t complain, but I had come here for a burger, and a burger this was not.
Andrew very much enjoyed his burger. The black bean patty was soft and nicely seasoned, with a lightly fried outer edge to give the burger a bit of crunch. It also came with roasted red pepper, tomato, red onion, aioli and spinach, plus a generous portion of avocado.
The sides were delicious – the chips were soft and warm and not greasy at all, while the onion rings were cooked in some of the lightest, fluffiest batter and were beautifully seasoned.
All in all it was a good meal, but I don’t think I’d go back there as a vegan. For starters, if I want a salad there are lots of other places I can go in town where the portion will be bigger and the pricetag not as high. For our dishes, plus one can of beer each, we spent just over £40. Ouch. If I’m going to pay £10 for a veggie burger, it better be the best I’ve ever had.
I do have to say that the restaurant has a cool ambiance, and our server and the manager were incredibly helpful, especially considering how busy the place was. Maybe if they offered an actual vegan burger on a vegan bun, maybe then I’d consider going back.