When your name is Burgers & Beers you’ve got to be able to do what you say on the tin and do it well! So, how did they fare when I visited them?
I was kindly invited to review Burgers & Beers on the Royal Mile, after they saw my recent abominable burger experience at Bryon. After Byron, I was genuinely tempted to give up beef altogether so I was keen to see if B&B could change my mind.
Housed in a beautiful Georgian building, the probably limiting planning restrictions on signage mean that Burgers & Beers is quite subtle in its advertising of itself. Come night, bright red bulbs illuminate the lunette windows and draw you in to their deceptively large restaurant. I’ve passed it many a time, but assumed it was small and loud – when it’s burgers and beers you expect a clientele of “lads” who are out for a sesh. In reality, when we went, it could not be further from the truth: entering the building you are lead through the bar area, passing several friendly and smiling members of staff, to the large dining room at the rear. Patterned tiles, rustic wood and a little more of the neon red is the theme in this room. There were lots of mixed groups and dates filling up the restaurant on a Friday night.
Seated promptly and introduced to our waiter for the evening, we were given menus and a few minutes to decide on drinks. Controversial, I know, but I went for a wine in a beer joint. My boyfriend went for a Brewdog can of IPA. The waiter was as friendly as all of the other faces we had thus far encountered, offering up a short explanation of the menu when we said we hadn’t been before and making genuine feeling conversation.
To try to get a base line for burgers I try to order a similar one wherever I go so that they can be directly comparable to others. I decided, after seriously toying with the idea of sticking the finger to that plan and getting the one that came with a naughty-sounding mac n cheese fritter in it, to go for the classic – the Uncle Sam – whilst my boyfriend went for a Dirty South. After much deliberation, we went for the sweet potato fries (on the recommendation of the waiter) and chilli cheese balls (cos I love cheese) as our sides. The menu has good choice and variation and it is worth noting that they also cater to gluten free customers. I don’t like the “mansize” your burger – it’s 2017 and we don’t need to “mansize” anything.
There is another option of “man vs burger” which I can just about allow given the television programme of similar naming.
Whilst waiting for our meal, we took the opportunity to get a good look around; I love the neon “license to grill” sign and I snuck off to the toilets for an inspection. The toilets are all unisex, so they get a big tick there. It’s not often I mention toilets in my reviews but they passed all the tests: slick design, decent handwash soap and clean!
The food, despite the place being packed out, was not long in coming and we were soon tucking into our gigantic burgers and sides. The portions are very generous and with 8oz patties for burgers, you certainly won’t go hungry!
The “Uncle Sam” – 8oz patty, Monterey jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, gherkin and mayonnaise served on a glazed white bun
If you love meat, you’re going to love this place. Eight ounces, put into perspective, is half a pound. So when you think of ordering “a quarterpounder” elsewhere, that’s only half the beast of a burger that comes out of Burgers & Beers’ kitchen. The bun was lovely and crisp (and toasted, hallelujah) the lettuce crisp, the onions were very lightly pickled. I asked for bacon in mine – for the sake of continuity of course 😉 – and this was just the right side of crispy resting on the gooey Monterey jack cheese. The burgers, which are made with 100% Aberdeen Angus beef, are very beefy; as I said above if you love meat, you’ll love this place. For my personal taste, the burger was too dense; they’re hand pressed and I wondered if it had been pressed after cooking to press out oil?
I would also say that mine was a touch overcooked – if you’re using 100% Aberdeen Angus beef of good provenance you have the ability to leave it a touch pink in the middle and my burger was cooked all the way through.
Anyway, as I say, if you’re a meat-heed you’ll love it.
The Dirty South – 8oz patty, pulled pork, onions, pickles, hickory smoked BBQ sauce on a white glazed bun
My boyfriend went for the double meat, which for those of you who know him, was brave! He managed to eat 99% of the whole thing which was pretty good going for him as he’s not got the biggest appetite (see, just one of the reasons the “mansizing” thing doesn’t work for me) and I tried some of the pulled pork which was really tasty, not too heavy on the barbeque taste but slow cooked long enough to be brimming with flavour and really soft.
The sweet potato fries were…perfect! I’m often a little reluctant to order them as I can find them quite sickly after a while, particularly if they’re not crisp enough. These, however, were perfectly cooked, perfectly crisp and perfectly seasoned. We had a garlic mayo and BBQ sauce to dip them in and my garlic mayo was nice and strong – just the way I like it!
The chilli cheese balls had all the cheese porn going when we tore them apart – gooey melty loveliness. For chilli cheese balls, however, I would expect there to be a bit more chilli in them. Whilst there were some traces of chilli and/or jalapenos, it wasn’t quite enough to carry through the heaviness of the cheese. I was quite happy with them as I love cheese more than I love chilli but my boyfriend was quite disappointed. Silver lining was that I got to eat more of them. They came in a lovely crispy breadcrumb and were cooked perfectly, they just need to ramp up the chilli next time!
The overall experience was very positive, with just a few minor things to be improved upon. The staff are really their crowning glory – not a glum face in the place! Everybody around us seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we did. The atmosphere was good as were the tunes coming through the speakers.
We can all now thank Burgers & Beers for restoring my faith in burgers!
* As ever, although this meal was complimentary for review purposes all words, thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.