Huxtaburger

In continuing ‘Hayley is finally visiting places that the blogosphere was losing their minds about three years ago’ news, I finally made a visit to Huxtaburger.

There was a time, young readers, when you couldn’t move for folks posting rave reviews about Huxtable’s various endeavours, especially their burger offshoot Huxtaburger. The first one, situated across the road from Huxtable base camp on Smith Street in Collingwood, always had an enormous line spilling out the front of it. Everyone, it seemed, was rapacious for American diner style burgers that were simple, filling, and provided avenues for a lot of Bill Cosby sweater jokes while you were waiting for them.

I, and many other vegetarians, were silent on the Huxtaburger score, however, as for a long time (I think two years? More careful foodie historians will be able to correct me) Huxtaburger simply did not have a vegetarian burger option. Which seemed slightly mad in veg*n-obsessed Melbourne, but the official line given forth was that the burger boffins simply didn’t want to offer a vegetarian burger that wasn’t as good as the meaty ones that were sending Melbourne collectively mad, and were going to keep quietly developing until one cut the mustard. Fair enough, I suppose, although in that time waiting my interest in visiting Huxtaburger waned into non-existence.

Indeed, it took Mel and I coming into possession of some Huxtaburger vouchers for me to remember that indeed they actually had vegie options now. To the CBD outpost we went!

The shop itself is very clean and a fusion between a diner and a slicker version of your standard chain burger restaurant. The staff were ENORMOUSLY friendly, and certainly made the customer service level of things far more enjoyable than I’m used to expecting in similar establishments.

The vegie burger is called the Sondra (all the burgers are named after Cosby Show characters) and consists of a slab of grilled tofu, tomato slices, lettuce, and sesame-soy mayo sandwiched in a brioche-style bun. The bun wasn’t too sweet, thankfully, which I often find is the standard fault of the brioche burger bun, but instead was very well balanced in flavour while also being structurally sound in keeping the burger together. The Sondra was actually the least messy burger I’ve encountered in a long time, a pleasing antidote to the types of burgers that stuff far too many toppings in that collapse out all over you as soon as you take a bite.

The tofu itself, being a cohesive slab, also stayed together nicely, but the one big problem with the burger as a whole is that the tofu itself just isn’t that flavourful. It had possibly been marinated in some kind of soy concoction before being put on the grill, but contrasted with the mild mayo it didn’t pack any kind of punch and was rather dull. Like eating a geography teacher.

What did pack punch, however, was the side order of chipotle fries. A colourful cup of crinkly chips that had been liberally sprinkled with chipotle seasoning, I actually needed to go a little mad in squirting tomato sauce on them so that my mouth didn’t end up on fire. They were a needed dose of fun!

The real question here is, would I go back to Huxtaburger without the dangled carrot of a voucher, and would I encourage you all to do the same? Honestly, I am not sure that I would. The pros that it is cheap and quick is overshadowed by the reality that the vegetarian option is simply not that exciting. The fact that within walking distance of the CBD Huxtaburger I could go to three different Lord of the Fries outlets and gorge myself on plentiful vegetarian burger options is probably damning enough.

There was a time, young readers, when if a food place didn’t have terribly good vegie options, veg*n diners would just sadly shrug and muddle through. But considering that Melbourne now boasts such an extremely veg*n-friendly food scene, whenever I now come across seemingly tokenistic vegetarian options my reaction tends to be “why did you even bother?” Because there are so many options now that we don’t have to put up with it. So while Huxtaburger may be one of the grand burger poobahs for meat eaters, vegetarians might want to seek out other alternatives. And that’s okay, because now we can.

Huxtaburger

Rear 357 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD (also locations in Collingwood and Prahran)

www.huxtaburger.com.au

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8 thoughts on “Huxtaburger

  1. Thanks for reporting on this long overdue vegxtaburger. We were cheekily hassling them their lack of a veg burger for a while (A SALAD IS NOT A LEGITIMATE BURGER ALTERNATIVE). Then, ever since the Sondra turned up on the menu, we’ve talked about going and ordering it and have never really been able to get excited about a tofu slab (see: Lord of the Fries eaten last Saturday night instead). Now we’ll probably drop all pretense.

    • SALAD IS DEFINITELY NOT A VALID ALTERNATIVE FOR BURGERS, JEEZE PULL IT TOGETHER PEOPLE. Yeah, a tofu slab probably isn’t an exciting enough enticement to get most veg*ns through the door, I don’t blame anyone for not bothering. Although for anyone who does get shepherded along by a crowd of omnis, I do recommend the chipotle chips! Far more exciting.

      • In stark contrast to salad, chips are almost certainly a legitimate dinner.

        … and I almost immediately have to withdraw my crack about tofu slabs – we actually had an awfully good tofu burger last night at Radhey Kitchen!

  2. Yikes, a tofu slab as the burger would kinda seal the deal for me to go elsewhere 😦 I think if places are going to offer veg*n burgers, they should really make the effort to come up with something other than a tofu slab. Kinda like when I went to a veg*n place in Richmond– great vegan mains but none of the many many desserts were vegan. Why bother? It’s really not that difficult coming up with at least one vegan dessert that isn’t fruit salad!

    • It isn’t really HARD to do something more interesting than a tofu slab, that’s the thing that boggles me. It seems very much that omnis were in charge of the vegie burger brainstorming rather than actual veg*ns, as I’m sure they would have kaboshed such a boring idea in a trice. I would much rather a place just refuse to do a veg*n option rather than do a lazy, uninspired one.

    • You could do a THOUSAND more interesting veggie burgers, Catherine, you this I have no doubt.

      For legal reasons I cannot disclose exactly how many geography teachers I have sampled, but let’s just put it at a conservative estimate given the aforementioned blandness.

  3. Pingback: Thaiger | Ballroom Blintz

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