If You Know What To Order, Flipside Has The Perfect Vegan Burger
A hop, skip and a jump away from the beating heart of London's meat industry is Flipside. Everywhere you look around Smithfield there's a nod to a carnivorous history. Flipside sits on Cowcross Street, named after the cattle market that was once here. But as times change, so does London. Because despite the presence of burgers, Flipside serves no meat. Everything is vegan.
Sorry, we should say plant-based, because that's clearly the word-du-jour. There's no mention of vegan anywhere — we wonder if someone might walk in here expecting a standard beef burger, not realising the place's USP. And if they did, would they be satisfied? Well, that depends on what they order.
Flipside is imbued with a State-side influence: the blisteringly white paintjob, the drive-thru-esque signage, and the wide range of food on offer — all clearly diner inspired. As we're staying in for our meal, we opt for a couple of burgers, all the sides and two malt heavy 'milkshakes'.
We head to our table and after a noticeable wait, our buzzer starts pinging like mad. We grab two trays and head back to our table. Things kick off on a wondrously high note — The Beyond Burger. Deliciously meaty and painted in mustard that provides a hefty kick, this is a top, top vegan burger. It's burgers like these that remind veggies and vegetarians that weirdly beige patties with the odd sweetcorn or pea sticking out of them, no longer cut it — so please, tired vegetarian menus, stop serving them. With a side of fries and the lip-lickingly sweet malt milkshake, this is a perfect — if a bit unhealthy — lunch for nearby office workers.
However, everything else we try... not so much. Case in point, the other burger, the outlandishly named Who Ya Callin'. We're callin' it mediocre. It's supposed to be a chicken burger, but the patty is rather dry and doesn't have the same flavour as the Beyond Burger. However the burger format carries it through, thanks to the pickle and aioli topping covering up the patty's shortcomings.
There's nowhere for this ersatz chicken to hide though, in the side dish, Buffalo Tenders. In fact they're worse. They soggy taste betrays the likelihood of microwaving, and not even a good hot sauce can make up for this catastrophe. Not quite as disastrous — although, still pretty poor — are the coleslaw and crispy rashers. Steer well clear.
One wrong deviation on the menu at Flipside and the carnivores will be sprinting back to Smithfield, apologising to the meat lords that they ever doubted them. However if they do right by the lucky dip at this near endless menu, we reckon they'd be happy to return. If Flipside cut the flab, and focuses on the things it does best, it could become a London vegan stalwart. Right now it's a risky prospect for punters.
Flipside, 88 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6BP.
Last Updated 19 February 2019