As an Afrikaans traditionalist I love a salacious hamburger; a gourmet patty oozing with barbeque sauce, crowned with creative toppings and complimented with signature sides. Cape Town has no shortage of prime burger joints but up till recently the vegans amongst us struggled to find anything other than soya cardboard on a burnt bun. Fortunately veganism is slowly but surely creeping its way onto menus and I have scattered through the hipster corners of the Mother City to find burgers with salivating status. Today I jubilantly bring you my current top vegan burger eat-outs in town.
IYO Burgers (Inside and You’re Out Burgers) is an urban, ego chic burger bar based in Bree Street. This intimate little bar was born from a food truck concept that captivated the taste buds of guests visiting the City Bowl Market. It officially opened its doors next to the popular La Parada merely two months ago and already Capetonians are queuing for a table at this new it-spot. Every burger on the menu can be ordered traditionally with a bun or the healthy, bunless way in bowl of crispy greens, a selection of sides are included. The vegan Health Nut (R76) was my obvious choice, ordered bunless with a side of spicy kale crisps. It consists of a curried lentil, aubergine, flax seed and sweet potato patty, filled with cashew nuts and topped with baby spinach, hummus, loads of avocado, sprouts, wild rocket and their homemade, creamy vegan-cashew mayo. I easily demolished my bowl guilt-free.
Hudsons is probably one of the most renowned Cape Town restaurants acknowledged for their bangin’ burgers. They perfected the balance of producing an old-world, American diner feel in a contemporary setting. It is a trendy favourite for locals, tourists, meat-lovers and vegetarians. They have two veggie burger options on their vast menu that can be adjusted to suit our vegan needs, not to mention their sweet potato fries are what starchy dreams are made off. Both burgers have a chickpea and lentil base but The Meridian (R45) is topped with mustard mayo, tomato relish, red onions & jalapeños, while The Stack (69) features caramelized onion marmalade, herbed goats cheese & avo (vegan can remove the goats cheese). Equally they go down pretty well with a craft beer.
When you roll out of Royale Eatery in Long Street, expect to be expecting a royal burger baby. For Sebastian’s first love of burgers and beer, I treated him to Royale Eatery on his 27th birthday. Royale is a restaurant with burgers that make your soul tingle and your dreams come true. Their menu consists of pages and pages and a few more pages of mouth-watering burgers. Over 50 in total of which 18 are vegetarian/vegan! I have never been so indecisive when choosing a meal, probably as us vegans usually have a mere option or three to ponder over. After much thought I settled for the Georgia Brown: A vegan, wheat-free patty made from black-eyed beans and finely cut seasonal vegetables; topped with fresh Italian parsley and homemade sundried tomato pesto (R77). Indulged in its sweet appeal, I managed to clear my plate and leave the restaurant with an overly gratified birthday boy. The Royale Eatery is definitely the best place to line your stomach with a group of friends before hitting out to paint the town pink. A thoughtful suggestion, book in advance and wear something that can stretch over your bulging burger belly.
Ordering vegan meals could become quite an intricate task. I always feel sorry for the flabbergasted waiter trying to write down my order with three items to swop, two ingredients to adapt and additional bites on the side. Therefore, build your own menus have become my magic tool to ordering wholesome vegan meals that doesn’t require an instruction manual. Our recent delectable find is Craft Burger Bar, situated right at the end of Regent Road in Sea Point. This intimate restaurant seats about 30 people inside and out. The menu consists of ten burgers that can be easily adapted into vegan delights. But the fun begins on the back of the menu… building your own burger in 8 easy steps. The standard burger (R49) includes a patty (beef, chicken or veggie), a bun (or not) and four toppings. For the premium toppings, cheese, sauce and sides you pay an additional fee per item. I indulged in a veggie patty, half bun, lettuce, chilli, sautéed onions and a grilled pineapple, topped with guacamole and spicy chakalaka. An interesting yet heavenly combination, just watch out for the chilli! The thick, homemade patty is packed with real veggies, not the frozen type you buy in a box or get served at a fast food retailer as I anticipated. Sebastian had the Wellington with chopped garlic, fresh chillies and fried onion rings, which I might order the vegan way next time around. Our helpings were substantial and settled every craving for the day in one meal. I am looking forward to our return and already masterminding my next creative stack.
Do you have a favourite vegan burger joint in Cape Town?
Let me know, I’d love to go :)