Ack, it’s been a little while, sorry. The hot weather has rendered me totally useless, not too useless to thumb food into my gaping maw mind you, but too useless to spend all day at work writing only to come home and do it again. I cannot wait for winter to hit, I hope it’s as cold as you summer worshipers have had it hot.
Anyway, to more interesting things than how sweaty I am, Honest Burgers has come to Bristol and they’re not being dicks about it! A weird line to introduce these guys with I know, but Bristol and chain restaurants have never been comfortable bedfellows. They seem to either come in, promise the earth, deliver little and retreat back to London or join the ranks of tourist and hen/stag do traps around the more popular areas of the city.
Honest Burgers has decided to do things a little differently. They have brewed their house beer with Good Chemistry, distilled their own gin with Psychopomp and are sourcing their extras such as cheese as close to the city as possible. This is the way you move into an established food scene.
They already have a fab reputation for their dedication to serving fantastic meat, opening their own butchers that source beef from small Scottish farms and provide the meat for their burgers in each of their 27 stores. The beef they use is only made up of chuck steak and rib cap (the fatty bit on a ribeye) so they know exactly where it’s coming from and where it’s going. They are also only one of 10 businesses that are accredited to serve their burgers medium rare (something I have harped on about before, this shit is important) checking 14 burgers a service to ensure the meat is served safely.
FINALLY, the secret to their burgery success (in my opinion at least) is that they chop their beef for burgers, not mince. Mincing can create a rubbery burger that is packed too tight, chopping creates a steak tartare texture, perfect for serving pink and creates an incredible mouthfeel when eating them that I’ve not experienced before.
I have been ridiculously lucky to have been invited in twice over the last two weeks, once to review and once to have the Honest Burgers induction treatment from Co-Founder Tom, hence the above paragraph gives the impression I am an expert.
The first time I went to try HB, it was horrendously hot and I had made the amateur mistake of heading to Wings Diner for lunch for a friends birthday which left me in a terrible state for trying the menu. I soldiered on with the traditional “Honest Burger”, a beef patty served with mature cheddar, bacon and red onion chutney and served, as always with their rosemary salted chips. The second mistake I made was asking for the burger to be served medium well. These burgers really are made to be served pink but asking for them served the way I liked (medium well) didn’t receive any negative pushback at all.
Steadied by my new information I was ready and willing to try these burgers juicy and pink the second time around and I did not regret it. Opting this time for the Bristol special, a burger topped with bacon, cheese curds and mature cheddar and finished with crispy fries. Sadly the curds were lost in this monster of a burger but everything else was gorgeous. The patty was succulent, the chips liberally salted and everything holding together without the need to resort to a knife and fork.
All in all Honest Burgers are very welcome to take up residence in the centre and offer something new to the burger scene without trying to take anything away, Chips coming as standard is always a bonus in my eyes, the staff are all charming and those burgers have been a bit of an eye-opener.
* These meals were offered free of charge and despite what some reviewers might snarkily insinuate, it did not affect my opinion at all. *