Burgers are a food very dear to my heart. My death row meal would be ribs, but I have always had a real soft spot for burgers. When I was a teenager, Hans (I am sticking with the name choices that I made previously) and I used to go to Burger King on the regular (almost daily) and order the following:
An extra large bacon double cheeseburger meal, super size with extra cheese and a Diet Coke (*whisper* I’m on a diet)
All hail the teenage metabolism. We would then go home and have a further dinner each evening.
When we were feeling fancy, and that we could be bothered to walk up a hill, we went to The Old Gate Inn which used to do one of the best pub burgers around for £5. It since got worse, once giving me food poisoning (don’t trust scampi), once mildly offending us in the guise of being friendly (“that’s a nice way to spend an afternoon: stuffing”), and once grossly undercharging the group only to keep the receipt and charge them in full several months later. I wasn’t there on that occasion. Or any occasion thereafter. The prices went up and the quality went down.
After I moved away for uni I stopped eating in restaurants very often. Every so often, my then-boyfriend would treat us to Burger King. Burger King will always hold a piece of my heart. Otherwise, I would sometimes get a beer and a burger from Wetherspoons. I am a classy lady with impeccable taste.
In a particularly dull week at work, I found the glories of TripAdvisor. (note: the best review I’ve ever read on TripAdvisor is here on the 4th and 8th May 2015). Almost Famous was getting quite the reputation around Manchester’s restaurant scene as being both delicious and pretentious.
This was early 2013, when restaurant queuing was still in its relative infancy and hipster was still blossoming.
People would queue in the Manchester rain for up to an hour and a half madness.
People would pay £9 for a single burger, no chips or anything. This is quite standard now, but at the time I was shocked.
Shocked and intrigued.
Hans visited and so did we.
There was no queue, thankfully, as I wouldn’t have gone had there been a queue. We went upstairs to the original Northern Quarter restaurant which seemed like you were going up to someone’s house and/or bad office space. This is quite common in the Northern Quarter now.
We were seated halfheartedly.
Hans went to the bar to order, but forgot our drinks as he thought that they would be brought to the table.
We ordered hot wings to start. Looking at their menu it was the suicide wings, but it was over two years ago so I can’t rightly remember. What I do remember is that they were disappointing.
We both had flu at the time and wanted to leave at this point, but held out hope for the burgers.
As is still in fashion, the names of the burgers were ironic and cool and fun and sexy but not sexy; terrible is maybe in the neighbourhood of words that I’m looking for. I went for the Famous Burger (the least offensive of the names, and the signature burger) and Hans, a sucker for pulled pork, went for the Triple Nom. We accompanied this with bacon bacon fries.
The bacon bacon fries were nice but not worth the £4 or whatever they were. We shared the fries but even between the two of us they got too salty towards the end.
Luckily we had the burgers, which were worth the effort. It was possibly the first brioche bun burger that I ever had. I wanted all my buns to be brioche from then on. The burger was medium rare and tender as the night.
I would give the first bite a 10, but by the end it had slipped to an 8.
We finished and left to watch Food Network with the flu.
We never returned.
Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn, Almost Famous’ “Calexican” outpost in the Northern Quarter do exceedingly good burgers and burritos, but have the same ambiance issue. On a lovely summer day we were seated in a dark corner next and it seemed loud. Also the person I was there with was in a foul mood. Regardless, the food was very good.
Almost Famous is now a chain but I got there before it had sold out, man. It stands as my second favourite burger.