I was rather keen to get my hands on Byron’s seasonal burger offering. It’s freezing cold outside. It’s dark before 4pm. We’ve already had our Christmas party and there’s very little on the horizon to ease my way through the ever-lengthening nights and grey days until the Christmas break begins. So why in the world would I not take the chance to sample an indecently huge burger stuffed with many types of cheese of a Tuesday evening?
Byron is offering diners a choice between two extravagant new burgers up until 2nd January (as well as all of their usual fare, of course; those of a more delicate constitution will not be forced to eat a burger that comes with, among other things, a scoop of macaroni cheese). There is, appropriately, both a meat-packed version and a vegetarian version of their Cheesemas creation.
The Holy Cheesemas burger costs £14.95 and is described as ‘beef patty, American cheese, smoked cheese, cheese crisp, pickled red onions, lettuce, spicy garlic mayonnaise, onion ring, as well as a scoop of bacon macaroni cheese. Served with fries and a house salad’, while for the Veggie Cheesemas option (also £14.95) they have ‘veggie bean patty, American cheese, smoked cheese, cheese crisp, pickled red onions, lettuce, spicy garlic mayonnaise, onion ring, a scoop of macaroni cheese. Served with fries and a house salad’. Phew. That’s a lot of cheese. Just the way I like it.
As part of the special cheesy menu, there’s also a whole host of sides to get stuck into. Complete the ultimate Cheesemas feast by choosing from Byron’s halloumi fries (£5.25), bacon cheese fries (£4.50), mac and cheese balls (£5.50) or an Oreo Cheesecake Freakshake (£8.50). You can even order a bowl of molten cheese sauce for £1.00 – a mix of Byron cheese, Cheddar and Emmental that’s designed for dipping and dunking.
In the interests of thorough research, I ordered the Veggie Cheesemas while my dining companion ordered the Holy Cheesemas. I do eat meat, but have found myself gravitating towards vegetarians options with increasing regularity over the last couple of years, and was perfectly happy to forgo the beef for the bean (though I admit I did try a bite of the meaty version. You know, for the thorough research).
We were absolutely starving when our burgers arrived, so set upon them like hungry wolves. Even if we hadn’t been ready to rabidly consume whatever food arrived in front of us, though, we’d have still very much enjoyed the Cheesemas offerings. I mean, it’s ridiculous food, isn’t it? No one needs a burger with eight adornments, four of which are cheese-based. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very delightful thing to eat. The Holy Cheesemas was satisfyingly meaty and moreish, dripping with juice and full of flavour, the way a burger should be. A classically great Byron offering. I was a little surprised, though, at how good the Veggie Cheesemas was. I am not a veggie burger connoisseur by any means, but this seemed like a particularly good example of the genre.
The patty itself had a satisfyingly crispy exterior and a pleasingly textured interior; whole recognisable beans, rather than indistinct mush. There was a pleasing warmth and spiciness to it that cut through the richness of all the cheese, and the whole burger was a great combination of crispy things, soft things, and melty things (yes, those are indeed the scientific terms).
Both burgers came with fries, and we chose the sweet potato and courgette varieties, both of which were perfectly good. Though the burgers were great, the meal did fall down on a couple of details. Service was friendly and pleasant but slow, considering it was a weeknight and not too busy, and a bit inattentive. We didn’t get the house salads advertised with the burgers in the press release. We also ordered coleslaw that never arrived at the table, and by the time there was anyone back in our orbit to ask about it we’d finished the other food and didn’t want to wait for an extra side of coleslaw.
The Christmas set menu also boasts a choice of two desserts – a cheesecake and a brownie. We ordered the cheesecake and waited for around ten minutes before being told it wasn’t available. We could have had the brownie instead, but by that point we didn’t want to wait any longer so left it. I do think that if you’re advertising only two desserts on a set menu it should be possible to have both available, or, if one isn’t, to at least inform waiting staff when one runs out so that they can tell you that when you’re ordering and prevent you from waiting for something that’s not going to arrive.
So, all in all, great burgers: tasty; festive; fun. Details left a little to be desired, but I’m willing to chalk it up to an off night and would be happy to go back again. And I’d particularly recommend the Veggie Cheesemas to any vegetarians looking for a decent burger. And a lot of cheese.
We dined as guests of Byron