Cape Town has no shortage of cool places to eat, but Lekker Vegan is setting a new standard all fast-food joints should be judged on.
Good food, check. Massive portions, check. Flavour, check. Meat-free, check.
The idea of not having meat during a meal makes carnivores grimace – but Lekker Vegan proves that presentation, cool decor, and serving cruelty-free meals is actually an asset.
Vegan is no longer a curse word. I have a cousin that has been a vegan for a number of years. I’ve seen her struggle as a plant-based feeder. Even when she orders a giant fried mushroom, restaurants often still top it with a mountain of cheese because isn’t that how we solve food problems: cover it with cheese?
The assumption is that if there’s no meat, it’s vegan. Places like Lekker Vegan only serves to encourage more restaurants to include 100% vegan options on their menus because it makes a statement about what vegan can be when no meat or animal by-products are used: really, really delicious.
Picture this. It’s Saturday night in Cape Town. The bars are overflowing, you’ve had a few drinks and the junk food bug bites – hard. For once McD’s and Burger King wasn’t the first thing on my mind – it was Lekker Vegan, the place I’ve started double tapping on Instagram a while back.
In an Uber, Zonnebloem Lekker Vegan’s bright lights shine like the pearly gates for those who are hungry. The menu is riddled with staples like burgers, “chicken” nuggets, chip rolls, sandwiches and their soon-to-be famous Gatsbies.
The Gatsby is not only one of Cape Town’s most famous culinary exports, it’s also one of the most comforting junk food options around. At Lekker Vegan Gatsbies are serious business – so serious that a half portion can easily feed two ravenous teens after a soccer match.
It is made with vegan “beef” strips, chips, “cheddar” cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, jalapenos and doused in Lekker Vegan’s signature spicy sauce before being sandwiched between two pieces of crunchy bread. This could easily be one of the best Gatsbies in Cape Town.
The burgers are equally tasty, and there is the option to make your burger naked: instead of a bun it’s served on a salad. If you’ve ever had vegan sausages or patties you’d know that vegans often serve up flavour. Don’t expect that it tastes like meat, but rather that it delivers layers of flavours when it hits your mouth.
Lekker Vegan certainly ain’t bland. While the banting crowd will be mortified by the chips, Lekker Vegan knows their spuds. Chips are crispy, well-seasoned and very dipable (just ask for tomato sauce when you order).
If you’re for some terrible reason averted toward potatoes, there’s also the option of sweet potato fries. Although relatively common, these fries remain a little lighter on the carbs and certainly hits the notes good junk food should.
Blindfolded, Lekker Vegan would pass the test and meat-eaters would be none the wiser when it comes to their “chicken” nuggets. Even texturally they come close to the real thing.
What really sets Lekker Vegan apart is the infectious atmosphere. Old, young, tourist, local – we all dined together with recycled cutlery. If Lekker Vegan is the future of junk food, sign me up.