IMAGINE being served a burger that sizzles, smells, looks and tastes exactly like the sumptuous meat-treat that it should traditionally be, only to find out there wasn’t an ounce of animal produce between the buns.

This, is exactly what the clever people at The Willows in Blackburn have done with the latest addition to their menu, the Moving Mountains B12 Burger.

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The vegan burger

Served with BBQ jackfruit, chips, sweet chilli coleslaw and onion rings, the meat-like patty is made with plant protein, mushrooms, coconut oil and beetroot, making it 100 per cent vegan friendly.

But the meal, which claims to be the UK’s first ‘bleeding’ burger, isn’t the only meat-free option available at the pub, which is located on Haslingden Road.

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The two rival burgers side-by-side

In fact the Marston’s-owned pub has launched an entirely vegan menu which includes starters and desserts – making it one of the first in the area to cater so well to non-meat eaters.

Manager Karina Rogers said: “It’s not often nowadays that you go in to a pub that doesn’t offer a vegan option on their menu and we hope our new dedicated vegan menu will give more choice for those who choose to live a plant-based lifestyle.

“There’s been a huge rise in vegetarians and vegans over the years and we want to be able to accommodate to everybody that comes through the doors."

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Reporters Amy Farnworth and Sophie-May Clarke

She added: "Something else we have noticed is the number of meat eaters who are just looking to cut-down on their meat consumption. The B12 burger is the perfect option for them thanks to its likeness to meat.

“Since it’s launch the new menu, but particularly the vegan burger, has gone down a storm.”

No doubt vegans around the county will be rejoicing at the prospect of the new menu, but it would be understandable that meat-eaters could be sceptical about the meat-like authenticity that this burger claims to possess.

That’s why we sent two reporters, one a ravenous carnivore and the other a longtime vegetarian and vegan, to try them out.

OMNIVORE'S OPINION (Amy Farnworth)

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As a big meat-eater, the thought of tucking into an unattractive-looking cauliflower burger when eating out just didn’t fill me with much delight. I would always opt for a juicy beef or lamb burger as opposed to the limited vegetarian or vegan options available on pub menus.

In recent months though, I’ve been making a conscious effort to consume less red meat, not just for health or ethical reasons, but mainly because meat is expensive, and I’m flat broke.

So when offered the chance to try the new Moving Mountains B12 Burger on offer at The Willows in Blackburn, one which claims to be ‘a famous meat-like burger’, I jumped at the chance.

Tucking into the burger, which is made with plant protein, mushrooms, coconut oil and beetroot, the first thing I thought was, ‘this doesn’t really taste like meat’.

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The real thing - one of the pub's beef burgers

The texture for one was different, and it was much lighter than beef; the flavour wasn’t as strong either. For a meat-eater, the difference between this and a real beef burger is pretty obvious, however, that’s not to say it was bad.

It wasn’t. It was surprisingly, and delightfully delicious. It was smooth, flavoursome, and tender, and compared to the vegan menu options of yore, in which it was a spicy bean burger or nothing, this was definitely something I could get excited about.

If I was to opt for a meat alternative when eating out in the future, I would definitely choose the B12 Burger. It might not taste exactly like real meat, but it wasn’t far off.

VEGAN VERDICT (Sophie-May Clarke)

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A vegan of nearly two years and a vegetarian of many more, I’ve suffered through many sad meals when eating out. It's just something that comes with the territory (as do the relentless ‘hippy’ jokes).

The truth of it is, vegan lifestyles are becoming increasingly more popular and thousands of people choose to eliminate meat and dairy from their diet for a variety of reasons.

That’s why its so important that places like The Willows are offering something we can really get our teeth into. I can't count the times I've been served a sorry excuse of a vegan meal that's left me unsatisfied and begrudging to fork out for.

But take it from me, this was not the case here. The B12 burger was nothing short of a real treat. The texture and taste of the patty was good and not too ‘meaty’ which is something that could put vegetarians, who up until now would be more accustomed to bean-based burgers, off.

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Amy and Sophie-May with their burgers

It was also surprisingly light and didn't leave us with that heavy feeling you get in the pit of your stomach after eating a chunk of real meat.

The flavour in each bite comes from the BBQ jackfruit which sat beneath the soft bun and was a real delight - adding an authentic smoky flavour which was definitely the highlight for me. The accompanying chilli coleslaw and onion rings were the perfect side-addition.

I challenge anyone to try this burger out with an open mind and tell me they didn't enjoy it. While you're at it treat yourself to the chocolate and cherry cheesecake, this I promise you wont regret!

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