Just over a year since it was first announced, Bvrger, the latest from vegan chef and entrepreneur Christian Ventura, is here. Located on an Old Montreal stretch of Notre-Dame Street West, the meatless burger joint began flipping its patties — made of nuts, sweet potatoes, beans, soy, and shiitake mushrooms — earlier this week.
The brain behind bellwether vegan restaurant Sushi Momo, Ventura is at the forefront of Montreal’s ever-growing animal-free dining scene. In the time since opening the sushi spot on Duluth in 2014, he’s rolled out a series of other all-vegan restaurants like Mexican-Asian Casa Kaizen, Plateau torta haunt Nopalito, and a slightly more upscale Old Montreal sushi destination called Bloom — and relocated Momo (twice) into larger premises to accommodate diner demand. With Bvrger, he says the goal is to give Montrealers one more reason to consider reducing their meat consumption.
Bvrger’s menu features 11 takes on the near-universally beloved fast food staple, including one that stuffs a brioche bun with a veggie patty, balsamic caramelized onions, confit mushrooms, and a black garlic truffle mayo, and another with a crisp mushroom-based “chicken” patty, some kimchi pikliz, baby kale, and a sesame-black bean sauce. One called the “Surf and Turf” involves a beef-like patty, faux lobster tempura, mustard caviar, fennel-green papaya slaw, and a harissa and saffron aioli. Otherwise, there’s a series of decadent oat-based milkshakes — with flavours running the gamut from salted caramel and chocolate to matcha-pineapple and S’mores — and some simple sides (fries, tater tots, and onion rings), all priced so that diners can put together a three-piece meal for less than $30.
Additional menu items include vegan Korean fried chicken, poutine made with a black garlic gravy, Chinese five spice tempura pickles, and “bacon” croquettes made with corn, furikake, pickled red onions, and nori strips.
Matching Ventura’s plant-loving cuisine, the compact 30-seat restaurant space is outfitted with a hydroponic wall garden, plenty of potted plants, and a handsome forest-themed wallpaper, plus some patio-esque furniture. The restaurant takes over the locale that once housed Japanese snack bar Marusan.
Though frequently credited for popularizing fish-free sushi in Montreal, when it comes to vegan burgers, Ventura joins a more saturated market. Several other local vegan restaurants like LOV, Maynard, and Burger Fiancé — the last of these located just steps away from Bvrger — prepare meat-free patties, while plenty more beefy burger joints across town have at least one vegan alternative on the menu. But Ventura welcomes the competition: “The way I see it, the more vegan places there are, the more awareness it brings,” he previously told Eater while sharing plans for the project.
Bvrger is open daily from 12 to 9 p.m. at 401 Notre-Dame Ouest.