Doppleganger Burger opened today in Cambridge. It’s a vegan burger joint. Now, i’m not a big fan of vegan food generally. For me it tastes a little empty, or claggy, or just missing a little ‘something’ - usually the flavour of real fat: butter, cheese or, as my favourite vegan Malgo would say - ‘flesh’.
Alfy has been in residence at 2648 in Cambridge cooking vegan burgers for the past year, and has developed a cult following. He turned this whole site around in just a couple of months. And, i’ve got to give it to him - the food is pretty fantastic - vegan or not.
Order on iPads (a la MacDonald’s) and watch your food being prepared in the open kitchen. The soya-based patties are cooked in air fryers.
BBK: miso and lime mayo, lime slaw, dopplepatti glazed in sticky Korean BBQ sauce, five spice pulled jack fruit, pickled pear and cucumber in chilli. This is a big, sticky beast. Doppleganger burgers have an expansive range of textures - high and low shades of flavour, with pickle, sweetness and crunch. I tried the BBK because it was enormous, and lets face it, great for the ‘gram. But also because it combined the famous jackfruit with a ‘dopplepatt’.
For me, as a meat eater (read ‘enthusiast) the ‘beef’ impersonation isn’t particularly pleasing as an alternative. What a dopplepatti lacks is juiciness - it has a slightly smokey flavour, a bit of chew, and certainly more texture than a melt-in-your-mouth Riverside Beef patty. But as a textural experience, the BBK is a marvel. It was a little on the sweet side with the pear and Korean BBQ sauces, but offset with the smokiness of the patty and the heat of chilli.
What I really want to talk about though is the chicken. The Hot Chirpy - with vegan ranch sauce (creamy AF), southern fried chicken fillet, Frank’s buffalo hot sauce and Jalapeño is hands down one of my favourite burgers in the city. It’s very reminiscent of the Steak & Honour Sid Vicious - but without the filthy dimension of blue cheese its smoother sailing - a more accessible, unctuous creaminess, ending in a tart hit in the centre of your tongue - SMACK - with the zinging Franks. I have a very passionate relationship with Frank. We go way back.
And the chicken. How is it not chicken? It looks like chicken, breaks apart like chicken, is juicy, soft and… seems like bloody chicken to me. They say they make it out of soy but if that’s actually true (doubtful - it’s chicken) they are vegan food wizards.
Doppleganger is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Regent Street 7 days a week. You’ll probably find me there casting my meaty eye over the vegan ‘sausages’ and gluten free waffles. I fear that I may be wrong about the Hot Chirpy, and plan to go back tomorrow to eat it again. Just to check, you know, that it’s really that good. I haven’t really thought about anything else since…