I went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen, or GBK if you’re short on time, for a leaving do back in 2012. It was for an estate agent. It’s nice to have a varied work history.
I was feeling particularly cheap and not hungry at the time so I believe that I had a single classic burger. It was dry.
I also had a cheeseburger from a GBK van when I went to visit my friend in Oxford (of course Oxford would have GBK vans). It was bland and dry.
Chains succeed for a reason. I suspect it’s because branding works and people believe in the word “gourmet”. Or maybe I should have tried a more exciting burger.
Handmade Burger Co needs, if nothing else, a better name. Or maybe I need a better memory. My friend chose it for her birthday as she is a vegetarian and they have some of the better vegetarian choices. And everyone loves a good burger; if they don’t, then they are not welcome at her birthday. She just lost her job. I wonder how she is. Anyway, the reason that I pointed out the name is that I asked her if she was having her meal at the “proper hamburger company”, which was an amalgamation of the actual name and Byron’s slogan. This also possibly shows that burgers are too in at the moment. She, not realising this, didn’t correct me and I spent fifteen minutes frantically walking up and down Deansgate while she failed to answer her phone.
I finally got through to her and it was confirmed that I was at the right place. She asked me to go in so that she didn’t lose the table. The restaurant was half empty (I am a pessimist), and some of her other friends were already there. I didn’t know any of them so awkwardly sat at the other end answering some texts, before realising that they were her friends and starting a conversation.
She arrived, introductions were done, gifts were exchanged, it was lovely. She has nice friends. It’s always a good feeling when your friends have nice friends as it makes you somewhat grateful that you are friends with someone who has good taste. There is a certain disappointment with finding a friend who has terrible taste in friends. Why are they friends with them? And why are you?
There is quite a weighty selection of burgers on the menu. I suppose if you’re solely doing burgers you may as well give people choice (I do not agree with this as a restaurant stance).
You have to go to the till to order and their upsell game is strong. I didn’t fall for it, but several people ended up sending several additional Great British pounds on what is essentially garnish.
There was a peanut butter burger that no-one went for, but several people considered. Myself included. I had already pre-decided to go for a Beef Classic smaller burger and Denver Fries (fries with pulled pork and cheese). It was still a sizeable burger, and the chips were like a small meal in themselves.
Everyone else failed to finish their meals and were largely stuck with plain or rosemary fries. They were impressed with my choices. I won that menu game. And their hearts.
We left and went to Wetherspoons where I mildly connected with someone for also being from Kent. The night was done by 11pm. A wild 25th birthday.