City Bites: Vego and Loven it

Located at level one, 240 Rundle Street, Vego and Loven it has remained unchanged for as long as it has existed.

Satisfying, healthy and cheap. The trifecta. Is it possible to achieve such lunchtime greatness in the middle of Rundle Street?

The menus on the walls are still hand written in harsh eccentric font and tacked up on coloured cardboard. When new items have been added, a new coloured cardboard square, different from the rest, appears.

vego-and-loven-it-city-bites-adelaide-review The place specialises in vegetarian burgers but also offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup and juice. Although there are no animal products used in the dishes, an inattentive non-vegan wouldn’t suspect a difference in flavour.

Search online and you won’t find the owners name or an official website. You won’t find any featured articles. You also won’t find anything about its opening date (suspected to be somewhere around 20 years ago based on local knowledge).

You will find a handful of blog reviews and TripAdvisor recommendations but that’s about it. Visit the venue at peak lunch hour however and you may find it hard to get a seat, or even face a wait time. The owner is friendly and attentive but even to his regular customers, seldom opens up. He likes the way things are and opens only for lunches on weekdays, 10am to 4pm.

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The burgers are what keep people coming back. Stuffed with thick savoury vegetable patties, their texture has a slight chew to it without being dense or gummy. Additions depend on your burger of choice, spicy mushroom, tempeh, tofu or chili (for the mexi burger) are some to choose from but they all contain fresh lettuce, tomato and avocado. Most come dressed with tahini and sweet chili sauce.

When ordering the Mexican Burger, there is a trick. It comes covered in a “cheese” sauce and is served with a side of plain corn chips. The choice is mild, medium or hot for salsa, but somewhere in the past 20 odd years the recipe for the medium sauce changed. Order medium today and expect it to be hotter than “hot”.

If you want it hot, order medium. Capiche? If spice isn’t to your tastes, but cheese sauce is, the wonderful liquid gold can be poured over any burger of ones choosing. All you have to do is ask.

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Size options for burgers (talk about choice) come in half, or full. A half burger sits at around 60% the cost of a full and features a bun cut in half to house the filling. Which, mind you, is nearly as much as a full burger.

The buns, salads and fillings are always fresh and consistently prepared. Ask anyone if they’ve had a bad meal there, it’s doubtful. This dependable quality is what keeps the dining room full in a city of bespoke fit outs and ancient grain salads. And don’t forget, “kitchen closes when I say so.”

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