Nando’s, famous for its chicken, is the latest fast-food franchise to tap into the plant-based trend. From next week, you’ll be able to bite into a completely meat-free alternative burger, which Nando’s has dubbed the Great Pretender.
The Great Pretender protein option – which you can substitute for chicken in any burger, wrap, pita, salad or paella for $1 extra – has been designed to be have the texture, taste and even caramelising properties as a minced chicken burger patty. Nando’s Head of Food Mario Manabe said in a statement they’d “tweaked and retweeked” everything from the coarseness of the protein to the juiciness of the patty itself in order to land on an “absolute winner”.
“Unlike our veggie patty, the Great Pretender’s texture is very similar to a minced chicken burger patty, and it caramelises and smells just like meat when it’s cooked,” Manabe said.
It’s not quite like biting into those fake meats that look and taste exactly like meat, but have actually been grown in a lab somewhere. It’s also not quite a traditional veggie patty (like the Macca’s McVeggie Burger, launched earlier this month). Personally, I was very aware I was not eating meat, but it was still delicious, y’know? Like a really good veggie patty but with Peri-Peri vibes and zero falling apart issues.
But honestly, you need no higher praise than this from PEDESTRIAN.TV’s resident non-animal eater.
“As a vegan that’s a good mock grilled chicken,” he said. “The last meal I ate before going veggie was Nando’s. Forgot how good the lemon and herb goodness was.”
That being said, the Great Pretender is not suitable for strict vegetarians or vegans – the patties are grilled on the same grills as Nando’s chicken, so up to you how strict you want to be here. The aim is to appeal to the flexitarian, a.k.a. those of us trying to cut down on meat but not give it up entirely.
It’s launching in Queensland next Tuesday (Feb 4), with plans to launch it nationwide next year. Honestly, get around it.