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By Leah Lynch
May 03, 2019
By Leah Lynch
May 03, 2019

in partnership with

The Economist, bastion of serious journalism, has proclaimed 2019 "the year of the vegan."  And so, Dear Meat Eater, in case you missed the memo, veganism is going mainstream. Whether someone eschews animal products for the sake of their health, the environment, or their fellow sentient beings, there is no longer any reason they should expect to compromise on flavour. We now have chefs who specialise in plant-based cooking, entire establishments devoted to vegan food, and ample pantry supplies from the supermarket to ensure that a vegan, or their pal, can whip up a tasty meal in no time. Plant-based food can and should be simple, non-elitist, and delicious.

To this end, we want to show you five typically meat-based dishes that have in recent times been successfully 'veganised' by local eateries. Successful veganisation means that the end product appeals not only to those who regularly abstain from eating meat but also to their more carnivorous pals. These dishes simulate their fleshy counterparts so convincingly that, if the companies behind them did not advertise them as plant-based, you might not notice the difference.



As every Auckland vegan worth their dairy-free cheese knows, incorporating delicious plant-based options into BurgerFuel's menu has been a priority for the company since its inception. Unlike a number of other restaurant chains, who, once in a while, drop a vegan option, BurgerFuel's vegan burgers, as well as their sides, sauces, and shakes, remain on their menu year round. Perhaps it is no surprise then that, come May 2019, BurgerFuel will launch its first plant-based 'beef' burger, The Beyond Beleaf. Using Beyond Meat's trademark patty, the one that is making beetroot-coloured splashes worldwide, on account of it actually looking and tasting like meat (of the animal flesh variety), BurgerFuel has created a burger that tastes 'bloody' brilliant. Did we mention that it is also high in protein and iron?

BurgerFuel's Beyond Beleaf will take the form of a limited edition mini-sized burger, with vegan provolone cheese, vegan aioli, salad, and relish, served in a fresh artisan bun. It will be available from its day of release until stock runs out.



There is a joke amongst vegans that, when going out to dinner with meat-eating friends, the only option will be a salad. Though this estrangement of culinary persuasions from one another has contracted over the last decade, there remain countless eateries where the vegan will indeed have to settle for the side salad and fries. Worse, in the case of the ubiquitous Caesar salad, one may find oneself in a situation where even the salad option is not an option. No, you don't eat chicken. No, you can't have the boiled egg. What's for dinner? An unfortunate mass of tasteless lettuce. Vegans, however much we might find rabbits adorable, do not ourselves belong to that species.

Enter The Butcher's Son, a Herne Bay favourite with an amusingly misleading name – the only things you will find its staff 'butchering' are plants. They make their entire menu, including an extensive array of drinks, without animal products. And to create that crispy, delicious and totally vegan Caesar salad you did not know you have been craving, The Butcher's Son has partnered with Sunfed Meats to bring you a dish that is at once flavoursome and excitingly textured. It comprises freshly tossed baby gem lettuce, chicken-free chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions, fried capers, crispy croûtons, caesar dressing and cashew parmesan.



Often sold out at the two Auckland locations, Lord of the Fries' (LOTF's) mythical Phish & Chips have transformed a Kiwi classic into something that people of all dietary persuasions can enjoy. As the image above evinces, this is an internal, rather than an external, makeover. LOTF has performed this internal refitting so well, however, that those who have been fortunate enough to eat the dish, especially for the first time, are wont to become suspicious that what they have just consumed is fish. Real fish.

As your vegan pals will be sure to inform you, though, there is nothing fishy going on at LOTF. Their 'phish' is plant-derived, coated with crispy decadent batter for your palate's pleasure, and served with a portion of LOTF's famous chips. Order more fries — another thing meat eaters and vegans can surely agree on: there is no such thing as too much potato — and make it a meal for two.



It is renowned – and rightly so – for its sweet treats. Yet Tart Bakery is also home to some of the most scrumptious pies around, meat or no. If you grew up eating meat, you may have avoided the routine, somewhat isolating experience, that I, as a child, and a staunchly vegetarian one at that, would endure each time my pals popped into the dairy to grab a pie. (I quickly learned that they did not mean an apple pie.)

You can spare your vego and vegan buddies, young and old, this trauma. Bypass the corner shop, and take them directly to Tart Bakery. Tart's plant-based pies are so democratic, so delicious, and so disconcertingly 'meaty' that we reckon you will succumb to their charm and try one yourself. At that point, you may have to struggle to suppress a look of astonishment from overwhelming your face. For such is the common response to the awkward and wonderful truth your mouth will have just realised – no animals were harmed in the making of this mouthwatering pastry.



You want to grab a pizza, but the pal you are hanging out with is vegan. Sighs. Though vegan pizza is available at quite a few spots in town these days, it tends to fall into one of two camps. There is the gourmet, and preventively expensive; or the cheap, and woefully slack. The latter is, more often than not, an otherwise meat or dairy-based pizza with the meat or dairy excised. Such a wildly uncreative method results in a dry and tasteless affair. You would be forgiven for not wanting to touch it.

Sal's, perhaps sensing an untapped market in between these polarised (and polarising) vegan pizza alternatives, has added a tasty plant-based option to its menu. Led with Sal's famous marinara sauce, the Staten Island is then topped with capsicum, mushroom, olives and onions — ensuring an outcome that is anything but bland.


BurgerFuel's limited edition plant-based burger The Beyond Beleaf is available this May. To wrap your hands around one, visit BurgerFuel.

Published on May 03, 2019 by Leah Lynch


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