Melbourne Central, Knox Lane, Melbourne 3000
If there’s one thing I hate about being a vegetarian, it’s the lack of fast food. Everyone seems to think that just because you don’t want to be responsible for the deaths of animals, you therefore are some sort of health freak without a soul or taste buds. Well, I love being unhealthy. It’s one of my favourite past times, right after completing The Age crossword before anyone else at college has a chance to. So the existence of Lord of the Fries is pretty much a godsend for me and one of the reasons I hate going back home to Perth.
When I first moved to Melbourne and came across Lord of the Fries, I was disappointed. The hilarious pun made me chuckle and want to try it but on first glance, it seemed like there were no vego options on the menu. How wrong I was. Lord of the Fries has in fact received awards for being a great vegetarian and vegan restaurant and all of the burgers, hot dogs and supposed chicken nuggets are made from soy protein, meaning that it’s completely meat-free, low in fat and high in protein. I was not the only one to make such a mistake: a staunch meat-eater friend of mine ate at Lords three times, teasing us about how good it was to us vegos, without realising that it was fake meat. So rather than sampling the chocolate mousse, his dessert was humble pie.
While I love Lords, she can be a harsh mistress. I’ve noticed that if I eat too much there, I don’t just feel full but sick as well. Other friends who dine here agree that there is a sweet spot when it comes to gorging on these vego delights, so take care to not over-order. This is quite easy, given that burgers and hot dogs come in two sizes: mini and big. The mini burger is perfect for a snack, while the big burger is better for a proper meal, though I tend to order a mini burger regardless and just fill up on the delicious chips. One of the main strengths of Lords is its wide range of choice and this is evident when you take a look at their sauce menu. Serving everything from tomato sauce and BBQ sauce to satay sauce and chilli salsa, there’s a sauce to appeal to everyone’s taste. But the question remains: what does the food actually taste like?
The Original Burger, with a patty, cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce, mayo, mustard and ketchup, is a classic that is pretty damn tasty. However this is not an easy burger to eat, as the patties can be quite sloppy and combined with all the sauce and the soft bun, it’s a recipe for disaster (or at least messy hands). Furthermore, despite claiming to be low fat and healthy, the burger doesn’t taste like it. It’s quite greasy and the limp lettuce and pickles hardly make you feel like a herbivore. The chips taste different to your standard fare and, with the ketchup or satay sauce, are heaven (just don’t expect too much crunch as they can be a bit soggy). The hot dogs are surprisingly convincing, which I find almost disconcerting, and the nuggets are possibly my favourite menu item, all crispy and perfect.
Lord of the Fries is pretty cheap, with a burger, chips and drink ranging around the $10 mark. The atmosphere is quite cramped and hurried as they are often hole-in-the-wall stalls with scant seating, however the new Brunswick and Swanston St. stores feel a little more comfortable with proper retro diner seating and a bit more space. Overall it’s a good place for a guilty bite while in the city but this is takeaway so don’t expect fine dining.
- Taste: 7/10
- Nutrition: 6/10
- Atmosphere: 5/10
- Cost: 9/10
- Convenience: 9/10
- Overall: 36/50
Conclusion: Tasty. Worth trying.