Vegan review: Stacks Oxford

With our go-to V Stack burger closed for the Christmas break, but craving a burger and loaded fries, I spotted Stacks on the Uber Eats menu and it seemed like it could be the answer. Trading out of the Frankie and Benny’s kitchen at the Kassam Stadium (though it’s still not clear to me if it’s the same company or a completely different one), Stacks offer what looked like pretty reasonably priced burgers and American diner style sides. I had a £15 off voucher for my first order from Uber Eats so it felt like as good a time as any to try them out.

Our order arrived in good time for a Friday night. We received two little burger sized boxes, one labelled vegan, and one that was blank. Our first impressions weren’t great, as Jamie opened his burger box and saw they’d got his order completely wrong – except they hadn’t. They’d put his incredibly meaty burger in the wrong box, and my vegan burger in his. Of course we could tell the difference once I opened my box and we realised what had happened but it seemed like a pretty basic mistake to make, and one that shouldn’t be happening when it comes to dietary requirements and good kitchen practices.

shiny brioche bun sandwiching a messy looking burger. Lettuce leaf on the bottom, with burger patty and pile of onions and sauce spilling out, with gherkin slice on top.

The ‘We’ve Got No Beef’ Vegan Smash Stack burger had seemed like a decent enough deal, at only £6.50 on its own. I paid an extra pound on top of that for a slice of cheese, because it sounded a bit plain without. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for my pound to be refunded, because they forgot to add my cheese (yes, I’m that person). I know it’s only £1 but when I tick a box to add something to my burger and pay extra for the privilege, I expect there to be a slice of cheese in my burger! Minus the cheese, I was understandably disappointed, and the rest of the burger was not particularly pleasant. The large chunks of fried onion must not have touched the pan for very long as they were crunchy, and there was something about either the sweet tomato relish or the vegan mayo that tasted a bit funky. There was also so much sauce that it became a bit soupy, and I had to eat it with a knife and fork. The burger patty itself was fine, cooked nicely enough, as all standard vegan burgers come these days. The many slices of crunchy gherkin also added a good vinegary tang, which I liked, though there may have been too much of it for some people. There was definitely nothing special about the whole thing, and I found myself ‘getting through it’ rather than savouring it.

box filled with thin cut fries, topped with slices of red pepper, some hints of cheese sauce and sprinkling of chives

The loaded fries had more potential than the burger, and I enjoyed these more. The portion size was pretty decent, and there was a generous amount of creamy vegan cheese sauce poured all over, enough that I could get it in every mouthful rather than just a token gesture on top. Sadly though, despite our house being pretty much round the corner from the takeaway’s kitchen, the chips were already quite cold, and instead of staying crisp they’d gone rather soggy. As had the slightly slimy thin red pepper slices, which I could’ve done without, and I wasn’t convinced they’d been heated up at all in the first place. If they had been hot and fresh though, these would’ve been a pretty great vegan side.

paper bag ripped open to reveal thin cut sweet potato fries.

Lastly, because we weren’t sure how big the loaded fries portions would be, we ordered a side of sweet potato fries. When I opened the fairly small packet, I felt pretty robbed of the £4 they’d cost me. They were even more limp than the regular potato fries, completely cold, and had absolutely no salt on at all. I shouldn’t have to add a hefty amount of my own seasoning to food I’ve ordered! Again, they felt like they had probably had a nice crispy exterior during a past life, but that time was long gone. Feeling sufficiently full from the rest of the food, I couldn’t even bring myself to finish them, they just weren’t worth it.

The whole meal felt like the sort of thing you’d be happy enough to tuck into after a drunken night out, rather than an indulgent treat to reward yourself with on a Friday evening with a G&T after a long week. The aftermath was also unfortunately similar – that night I woke up multiple times feeling really sick, and even the next day I didn’t fancy eating until gone midday. I don’t think it was food poisoning, and Jamie didn’t have the same reaction, but it was enough to put me off from ordering there again. A shame based on the hopes I’d had from the description, but I should’ve learned by now not to get my hopes up when it comes to these non-vegan fast food establishments.

I’d love to know if any of you have stumbled across the Stacks delivery service too, and whether you’ve given it a go? Please let me know what you thought in the comments if so!

Author: Heather Grace

Eating my way through all the vegan food, one restaurant at a time.

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