If you suggest to me to go check out a vegan burger place, I’d probably roll my eyes at you. But then the mention of Sir Lewis Hamilton – 7-time F1 World Champion – has hooked my attention and got me curious enough to check out Neat Burger. The F1 World Champ is one of the chief backers of the plant-based burger chain and has been integral for the business’ rapid expansion.
Neat Burger boasts itself as an ethical and sustainable business, with the goal to recreate classic American fast food in a meat-free form. Its menu features the likes of ‘beef’, ‘chicken’, and even ‘fish’ burger but, of course, all completely meatless. The milkshakes and cheese are all also plant-based. Additionally, in collaboration with the Eden Project, every burger sold goes to planting a new tree.
We visited one of their branches on Princes Street, which is just a stone’s throw away from Oxford Circus station. The shop follows a very aesthetic white backdrop that’s laced with touches of green and pink across both exterior and interior. It’s like a nicer version of a typical fast-food restaurant in my opinion. For orders, it’s done via the iPad at the till and your name/number will then be shown on the main screen to collect. That’s quintessentially a typical fast-food experience but in a much nicer environment at Neat Burger.
*Disclaimer: we were invited for their Smash Burger launch and our meal was complimentary. But all views are our own.
Smash Burger (£9.99)
I went double (+£3.99) for the burger and included some grilled onions as an extra topping. We truly didn’t know what to expect with the burger. It looked very decent to start with, seeing the patties drenched with ‘melted cheese’ and a lovely grilled aroma filling the table. That anticipating first bite has certainly left us feeling impressed. Obviously, it’s not quite the same as a proper juicy burger. But considering it’s meatless, it’s actually really good and is better than a mediocre dry burger that we see so much these days.
The burger is moist and they’ve definitely given an excellent shot at replicating a meat texture. Essentially, the only thing that ‘lacks’ is the beefy flavour one could get from good quality and well-executed burger. But, as mentioned, there are plenty of mediocre burger places out there these days where the burger was rather flavourless and I would pick this vegan burger in a blink over these poorly-done burgers.
Another thing that strikes me is the cheese. I didn’t have the best experience with vegan cheese before and it’s something I feel a bit hesitant about when coming to Neat Burger. However, they’ve really turned the tables around for me as I thoroughly enjoyed it on this burger without any traces of the ‘cardboard taste’ that haunted me before.
Fries (£2.99 + loaded toppings £2.50)
For sides, we had one regular fries and added toppings for the other one with the ‘make it nasty’ option. The fries were pretty good. They were crispy on the outside, well-seasoned with a rustic touch, and fluffy on the inside. For the ‘nasty’ topping, they basically loaded the fries with both mayo and spicy mayo, cheese sauce, mustard, pickles, vegan bacon bits, jalapenos, grilled onions & crispy onions. The toppings were generous and all in all a good munch.
We certainly found ourselves enjoying Neat Burger a lot more than we originally thought we would. It is certainly a game-changer in not just improving the vegan food scene but to raise it to another level to appeal to meat-eaters. Great efforts are made to really up the game and we’ve certainly been impressed. I’m sure we’re not the only ones and many will find it enjoyable. If you fancy something different and are curious about vegan food, this would be a spot on the top of the list to try.
Neat Burger is a fully plant-based restaurant.
Nearest station: Oxford Circus