I’m quite happy to admit it. One of the reasons I ditched 25 years of vegetarianism was to be able to participate in the chicken and burger jamboree that Soho House Group brought to Kentish Town.
Their ‘do one thing, and do it really well’ menu policy at Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger had me snookered. So I got involved.
And now they’ve only gone and changed the purist formula by introducing the Dirty Cop Out; a portobello mushroom-based burger that is 100% vegetarian. I feel slightly used and, well yes, dirty.
But my personal relationship with the sloppy patties from the corrugated iron shack does put me in a very good position to assess the merits of the meat-free newcomer.
At a fairly quibble-free £5, the choice of a simple, fleshy mushroom as the ‘burger’ is a good start. The more common veg-based horror shows – either a compressed disc of pea, bean and carrot, or alternatively a flatulent-tastic soya creation – are both wisely swerved.
The rest of the ensemble sticks fairly faithfully to Dirty Burger’s meaty original. Griddle-melted, super-stringy applewood cheese, pickles and rocket, plus the same bun all give the required sloppy decadence to the act of demolishing the thing. I found the slathering of tarragon-infused mayonnaise a little too much, and required a mouthful of crispy onion ring to provide some grip.
Nevertheless, as veggie burgers go, this is very possibly the most fun and blessedly unworthy one you’re ever likely to find. It really is just as dirty, messy and tasty as the real deal, meaning vegetarians (and lapsed ones) can enjoy the full DB experience without feeling like hairshirt-suffering freaks.
I’d certainly order it again, but I’ll also be back for the beef for those occasions when there’s simply no copping out.