Newly launched restaurant Flipside’s menu includes Beyond Meat burgers for those looking for healthier alternatives, and its speciality, American style “smash burgers”
Is it possible to build a kinder burger? Of course. The real challenge is creating one that is delicious as well, since virtue alone cannot fuel sales.
Recently launched Flipside has a secret weapon up its sleeve: the Beyond Meat burger, which is now making its India debut.
In the bustling kitchen, chef Deepesh Chandran experiments with the first batch, searing a Beyond Meat patty, then layering it with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Placing it on the table with a flourish and French fries, he slices the burger into two to study its pleasing caramelised surface and intricate marbling of fat for optimum juiciness and a springy texture. Then does the same with the brand’s Beyond Sausage.
A clever alchemy of plant proteins, cacao butter and beetroot juice all intricately knitted together to provide a tasty alternative to meat, the product has a loyal following among vegetarians and vegans in the United States, where it was launched in 2012. Founded in 2009, in Los Angeles, Beyond Meat attempts to offer consumers plant-based substitutes that have more protein than their animal counterparts, no cholesterol, less saturated fat and no antibiotics or hormones.
More sophisticated than the fake meat and soy substitutes of yore, these products are engineered to taste familiar, primarily appealing to a niche but growing group of vegans and vegetarians who have given up eating meat for ethical reasons. For protein, there is pea, mung bean, faba bean and brown rice, with beetroot juice and apple extract for colour, potato starch for texture and so on.
The company saw a surge in demand with the pandemic, with more people cooking at home, and also looking for healthier alternatives for themselves as well as the planet. Now, expect to see it roll out in supermarkets and restaurants in India.
In Chennai, you can sample it first at Flipside, where Beyond Meat burgers will be added to the menu this weekend. Taruna Hinduja, who runs Flipside, says that they are excited about being able to showcase what she believes could be the “future of protein”.
Of course, the cheery restaurant, which as a mid-pandemic launch has been focussed on takeaway, will continue to put together traditional meat burgers as well. The American style “smash burgers” they specialise in, involve pressing down the meat on an iron skillet with a spatula and searing it for crisp edges with steamy interiors.
Flipside offers customers the option to tailor burgers with the plant-based alternative, thus gently updating a deliberately old school menu focussed on comfort food and nostalgia. Leaning into a world of bright American sitcoms from the 90s, choose from classic burgers, as well as a “kitchen sink” version, with smoky barbeque sauce, jalapenos and fries.
If you are feeling adventurous, try the startling Louisiana Fry Master, where the entire burger is deep fried with cheddar, mozzarella, garlic aioli, pickles and caramelised onion.
Will it work with Beyond Meat? Deepesh heads back into the kitchen, wielding his spatula with a sense of purpose. After all, in your quest for a kinder burger, you never made any promises to your weighing scale.
Flipside Burgers is at New No: 50/A, Bava Street, Alwarpet.