Since I first started following Doner Summer on Instagram over a year ago, I have been eager to try it. And I know I have been asking the universe the right questions as Doner Summer has opened right around the corner.
Doner Summer specializes in vegan junk food. They sell vegan burgers and kebabs as well as chicken wings and all the accompaniments. They have branches in Yorkshire, including Leeds, Huddersfield, Hull and the most recent store in Sheffield’s Kelham Island. There is also one in Manchester.
Everything about Doner Sommer seems cool to my eyes, from their name to the Talking Heads reference they use in their slogan “This must be the place”(Naive melody anyone?) Their branding is bright pink with everything on their social channels that is super Instagrammable.
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I am a vegetarian but not strictly so. However, I try to eat as few meats as possible. Luckily, this is easy as the only meat that I really like is chicken nuggets. I am a junk food snob so any outlet that can satisfy my cravings for beige food is something I will want to try.
(Image: Helen Whitehouse).
I walked past the branch to take a look inside when it opened. It’s a great place to spend an evening on Kelham Island, enjoying a cocktail and delicious fake meat.
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Because I had been working from home and it was raining, I decided to go for the take-out option. It meant I missed out on their wide range of cocktails. But that’s another story.
I am someone who eats most of my meals slightly undercooked, due to chronic impatience. So it was a bit disappointing to see the wait take up to 75 minutes. But it was well worth it.
Before someone calls my fat or unhealthy, as we’ve come to expect from a woman writing about food online, the food I ordered was shared with three people. There were leftovers so we could have had three meals.
I was made to choose the Chick’n’ Parm Teller tray after an unfortunate incident following a pub trivia. This was chips with fake chicken wings and vegan aioli.
My teatime companions had the Bad Girl vegan kebab, the Chick’n’ combo platter and some ‘tatertots’ (as one pointed, there were plenty of fries, but they are a different kettle of fish).
It was definitely worth the wait. Although it was a takeaway, everything was presented beautifully. There was no tray of polystyrene looking half-mashed up as we have all seen in takeaway kebabs. The garnishes were generously used – the kebab was so colorful you could almost believe it was a healthy food.
The fake chicken wings were just what you needed if you want something that hits the spot without coming from a live animal. I have been a vegetarian almost all my life, with a few exceptions for chicken nuggets. I thought the fake chicken wings were almost as good as the real thing. The spicy wings had a nice bite without being too strong, which is exactly what I like.
All the sides and sauces were perfectly matched with the main meals. The fries were especially good, crispy and well-seasoned.
I was able to forget my fears and finally try the doner-kebab. It was far better than the real deal, as it didn’t taste like sweaty solidified. It was delicious and of great quality, even the Turkish pide bread that it was served on.
Everyone agreed that we should have ordered what the Americans call tater-tots. They are tiny, but have a certain magic about them.
Importantly, I ate with meat-eaters as well as others who loved the dishes. They agreed that you can’t mistake the dish for real meat, but that is not the point. The whole experience is just good.
Because I got a takeaway, we didn’t buy any drinks – soft or alcoholic – and I was surprised that it came to £34 in total. While not outrageously high, it was a bit more expensive that your average brown fast food meal. We ordered extra sauces but they didn’t arrive, which was a bit disappointing. So we had to eat plain old fridge mayonnaise.
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