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Brussels’ 5 best vegetarian burgers
Can you judge a city by its burgers? If you’re a vegetarian in Brussels, you can. Every year, Brussels gets friendlier and friendlier to vegetarians, and one landmark signfying that times are a-changing for the herbivores among us is the notable improvement in the quantity and quality of the city’s veggie burgers.
In the past veggie burgers were frozen and reheated afterthoughts to appease a tiny portion of the population who restaurateurs tend to assume aren’t really hungry anyway. Today, interesting, well-crafted plant-, grain- and bean-based burgers are appearing on menus in dishes that would make a carnivore salivate. Here’s our pick for the best five vegetarian burgers in Brussels.
1. Sin Street Food
It took me a year to finally try the burger at this tiny vegetarian street food cart I saw every time I went to the Flagey or Saint-Gilles markets – it always looked a bit too wholesome for street food and I’d opt for some fries or a waffle. This was a mistake. Sin’s (pictured) veggie burger is remarkable. It looks dense and dry, but is in fact filled with flavour and interesting textures, with a great chewiness rarely found in vegetarian versions of the noble burger. All the ingredients are homemade, including the ketchup, and you can choose to have it with or sans dairy. Though small in size, it’s packed with nuts and grains guarantee to fill your belly.
Location varies, see website
Better known for its fresh, multi-course brunch, Yeti offers a pretty burger that packs a lot of taste, sans animals. Like all the menu items of this minimalist, modern cantina tucked away in Brussels’ city centre, the veggie burger is beautifully crafted and elegantly displayed from wholesome, largely organic and local ingredients. It’s a burger that’s been given some though: a thick, golden patty of pumpkin, grains and legumes on a perfectly formed sesame bun with a wide leaf of red lettuce flowering out from its top. Bringing the burger together is a beet-based spread that accompanies it, serving to wet it and let its subtle flavours flow.
4 Rue de Bon Secours
3. Chez Rachel
Best all-round goes to Rachel, a bright little bagel and burger joint behind Place Fontainas, whose Super Mario veggie burger makes you feel like they care just as much about the non-meat-eaters as they do the carnivores. Made from red beans and topped with cheddar, alfalfa sprouts and the usual veggies, this towering burger is a sight for hungry eyes. It comes with salad and delicious, herb-roast potato wedges, and you get to choose between several interesting sauces, including aioli, teriyaki, barbecue and hot chilli. Truly a vegetarian burger for the burger lover.
100 Rue du Marché au Charbon
4. Le Comptoir
There are some things not to like about Le Comptoir: their beer options are limited to a few big names; their fries are uninspired; even their signature house dish, the pitta, while homemade and with a variety of toppings, is nothing special.
Nevertheless, there are a few good reasons to go to Le Comptoir. The enormous terrace that flows out on to Place Boniface, for one. Also, the prices, which are low for the area and fair for the very edible food they serve. However, the thing that brings me back again and again is the surprisingly on-point portabello burger they offer for a mere €10. Topped with fresh mozzaralla, sundried tomatoes, roasted artichoke and assorted crudités, along with a sizeable salad and portion of fries, you get an outstanding meat-free burger for your buck. Plus they bring you a whole range of sauces along with your burger, including a curry sauce and a garlicky aioli.
22 Rue de la Paix
5. L’Amour Fou
To be totally honest, L’Amour Fou’s spinach patty doesn’t really stand up against the other patties on this list. While enjoyable, it’s characteristic of your less inspired veggie burgers: mushy in texture, bland in flavour, missing the whole grains and nuts that often make great veggie burgers stand out. But when you step back and look at the burger as a whole you still get a worthy meal. Everything on the plate – from bun to mayo to fries – is homemade, hand cut, artfully assembled. What the patty lacks in punch, the horseradish sauce makes up for, and a sweet potato mash and grilled almonds add a lot to every bite.
185 Chaussée d'Ixelles
Photo courtesty Sin Street Food