Last week, we got the crowdsourcing website Airtasker to deliver Lord Of The Fries to our office (you can read how the venture turned out here). For most of us, it marked the first time we had sampled the company's famous meat-free burgers which are billed as having the look, taste and texture of beef or poultry. But can an animal substitute really compare to the real thing? Here are our verdicts...
Lord Of The Fries is principally known for its extensive hot chips selection, but the company also sells a range of vegetarian burgers, hot dogs and "chicken" nuggets. The food is made from textured vegetable protein designed to mimic the look and taste of real meat.
"Our patties: have the look, taste, texture of beef or chicken with virtually no fat," the company boasts on its website. "We also try to cater to all: vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, halal and kosher."
It sounds to good to be true, right? Usually that means it is. However, the proof is in the (black) pudding: here are a few office reactions after trying Lord Of The Fries' fake meat for the first time.
Angus Kidman on the Parma Burger:
Because the mere thought of chicken and cheese makes me salivate, I was instantly drawn to the Parma clone, which includes a "Chick'n" patty. Taste-wise, this was impressive: I could have been persuaded this was poultry. Looks-wise, the resemblance was poor: I've seen more convincing chicken clones thrown up by a cat. But inside a burger and smothered with sauce and cheese, that didn't matter.
Luke Hopewell on the Spicy Burger:
Honestly? I had no idea that the Lord Of The Fries burgers weren't meat. You could have fooled me, and in fact, they did. I bit into it and thanks to the texture, shape and colour of the pattie, my brain told me it was meat. It's probably not something that hardcore vegetarians would knowingly go for, rather it's the methadone program for reformed cow munchers. 8/10, would eat again.
Chris Jager on the Nuggets:
As a staunch carnivore, I wasn't expecting big things from Lord Of The Fries' hyped-up meat imitations. I subsequently plumped for the nugget box, reasoning that most chicken nuggets barely taste like meat anyway. However, upon first bite I was pleasantly surprised: the nuggets are packed with flavour and surprisingly juicy with none of the bland dryness that often mars meat substitutes. I'd go so far as to say that these things rival non-breast nuggets in both taste and texture. Even if you don't care about the plight of farm animals, I'd still recommend them heartily.
So there you have it: Lord Of The Fries' bold claims aren't quite as hyperbolic as we were expecting. If you love the taste of meat but are a vegetarian on moral grounds, we can't recommend this stuff highly enough.
That said, you wouldn't want to make it a regular habit — as we've noted in the past, the burgers contain up to 12.2g of saturated fats, which doesn't really qualify as "virtually no fat". As an occasional treat though, there's really nothing to complain about.