I am all for independent shops, cafes and restaurants in our towns and cities, they give a place character and set it apart from everywhere else. But there is also a place for the chains, and while some are awful (I’m looking at you MacWrongalds) there are some very good ones, Byron Hamburgers being a perfect example.
Finding myself in the city centre on a much welcomed day off and in need of food, I decided to eschew my usual independent haunts, heading instead for Byron Hamburgers on George Street. With 57 outlets across the country and another 3 due to open soon they are just behind rivals Gourmet Burger Kitchen in size but seem to offer something a bit more refined.
On entering the restaurant I was greeted and shown to a table. Upon taking my seat, I soon realised I seemed to be sat in the worst possible place, floating in no-mans land between the till and the kitchen. I noticed there was a bigger area towards the rear of the restaurant so asked if I could sit elsewhere. The waiter was more than happy to help me shift out to the back, seating me at a table with long bench style seating with a much nicer feel to it – top marks for helpfulness.
Once happy with my spot I was able to relax and take in my surroundings. The open-plan restaurant is bright and airy with high ceilings and shelved walls containing a LOT of white crockery helping to bring light into the space. I liked the atmosphere and ambience in the restaurant, the integrated kitchen added a bit of background noise and interest without being overpowering and the seating was well spaced to ensure you didn’t feel crammed in, or like your every word was heard by fellow diners.
So then, what about the food? Mighty. The burger was a f$@#ing beast!! There were two veggie options available, Mushroom or Bean Patty, going for the Bean Patty was a no brainer. I might be vegetarian but when I order a burger I want a burger, not a big mushroom in a bun – that is a mushroom roll.
It came in a squishy bun with roasted red pepper, baby spinach, tomato, red onion, aioli and Byron sauce plus a honking great pickle on the side – all for £7.95 which isn’t too bad, though I would be annoyed at paying £7.95 for the Mushroom Roll. I added an Oreo Cookie Shake for the rather steep price of £4.50, a portion of french fries for £2.95 and pimped my burger by adding Monterey Jack cheese for an extra £1.25, which meant the cost of the meal was £16.65 in total and I have to say it was worth it. You can view the full menu on their website by clicking here.
The bun was gently warmed and was indeed squishy, the salad was fresh and tasty, they were generous with the cheese and flavours all worked well together. The patty itself was really good, a bit prone to crumbling but that is common with a bean patty. It was a struggle to eat it was so big, I’m a firm believer that you eat a burger with your hands rather than a knife and fork as it just doesn’t feel right otherwise. Needless to say, I ended up with sauce all in my beard but hey, getting in a bit of a mess is half the fun of a decent burger!!
The shake was good, served in an enormous metal urn as seems to be the ‘cool’ thing to do these days and wasn’t TOO cold which is always a winner. The chunks of Oreo were noticeable but not so big they got stuck in the straw, partly due to the uber fat straw they give you to help you slurp it down as quick as possible. The only disappointment were the fries, that were a little dry for my liking, but the portion size was generous so what they lacked in quality they made up for in quantity.
If you are looking for somewhere in the city centre for a quick lunch or dinner in a nice relaxed setting and burgers are your thing then you can’t go far wrong walking past Gourmet Burger and heading for Byron.