Tag Archives: Burgers

Five Guys – Arndale, Manchester

“Not sure my valet would approve but this fast food burger chain can certainly turn out a decent burger”

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Its become a bit of a Friday treat. Even become known as burger Friday. Working in Manchester I have been gradually schlepping round the hip burger joints with a group of like minded cohorts. We’ve done the usual suspects Byron, Solita, Almost Famous, Yard and Coop, Common, Reds, Westcorner and others. However, nagging away at the back, big ‘Dazzer’ kept banging on about Five Guys. “Where is it?”, “in the Arndale” he quipped. “Good Lord, my valet wont let me go in there, thats for the youngsters, how will I dress? What jacket will I wear?”, “No honest its ace, just keep with me you’ll be fine”.

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The Arndale is Manchester’s compendium of garish retail emporiums, so loved by the ‘yoof’. I felt so out of place in my Harris tweed. Dazzer led on, armed with a full hipster beard, he took looked the part and soon led me to the double height cathedral of glass and red panelling. Five Guys cuts quite a dash, you cant miss it.

We queued in. A riot of formica with the odd daub of oak. I was encouraged by the claim that ‘chips are hand formed and sourced locally,’ from some farm in Huddersfield today by all accounts.

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Dazzer clearly experienced in the protocol quickly ordered the burger with a riot of extras (there are 15 to chose from!), lettuce, jalepeno, cheese, onion, hot sauce and various other ingredients. To avoid confusion and embarrassment I simply ordered the same, but with a salted caramel milkshake instead of one of about 170 different coca cola flavours!

We then waited out front whilst the uniformed operatives set to work. It’s an impressive set up. All the workings are on show. A huge metallic range applies the necessary heat to the foodstuffs whilst an overhead cowl hoovers up the steam and sweat of honest toil. Within minutes our number is called and we grasp our feed. Its all wrapped in brown paper.

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Have to say it was very good. The burger was tasty and moist. Probably overdid it with the extras as it disintegrated into a gooey mess. A lovely gooey mess though. The skin on chips were historic. Proper fantastic. The milkshake was up there with the best too.

Came it at around £12 a head, so whilst its fast food, it’s not necessarily fast food prices, but well worth it.

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Whilst I went to the Arndale in Manchester there is one in the Trafford Centre too. That said they are sprouting up everywhere, emanating from London as ever. Worth a try if you happen to be in the type of place they happen to be! Not sure Jeeves will let me out again, but that doesn’t stop you though…..

Five Guys
Somewhere near you soon….
http://www.fiveguys.co.uk

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Byron – Proper Hamburgers – Manchester

I work in Manchester and walk down Deansgate most days. For months now I’ve passed this strange little, yellow, corner plot called ‘Byron’. It has a sub title ‘Proper Hamburgers’. I’ve always wondered whether it was the naffest bit of branding you could imagine or the cleverest. It has a very plain typeface and shop frontage. However, the thing I have noticed, it seems to get plenty in. Lots of business types, young and old.
Manchester has had a burgeoning burger empire for some time now, sprouting mainly from its trendy Northern Quarter. Indeed I’ve already reviewed a few, ‘Almost Famous’, ‘SoLita’ and ‘Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn’ to name but a few. They’ve all come up trumps in my book, so how would ‘Byron’ fare?

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The Byron story hails from the misspent youth of its founder Tom Byng. He ate proper burgers in America at a diner called ‘Silver Top’ in Providence, Rhode Island. He reckoned they were simple, tasty, a bit messy, but made with good quality meat with classic adornments; some lettuce, tomato, red onion, and maybe a slice of cheese or bacon. He opened up his first gaff In London in 2007, with the mantra to do a simple thing well, and do it properly. A laudable aim. The beef is good from Scotland, minced fresh every day, cooked medium so it’s pink, juicy and succulent.
I ventured in as part of a fifteen man posse (although there was some girls as well!). We had to split up to fit in, but we were quickly seated and it wasn’t long before an ice cold can of Brewdog Dead Pony pale ale was in hand.
The decor is simple. Yellow is the dominant hue. Exposed concrete, exposed containment (painted yellow), old school chairs, pastel tables and mustard banquettes complete the look. I suppose it is meant to shout industrial, up cycling, trendy, in one easy swoop. It’s pleasant enough.
We all chose from the simple menu, burgers with various extras. I plumbed in for the ‘Byron’ burger. Plain burger with crispy bacon, lettuce, onion and melted cheese. One of the team had a veggie burger.

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We ordered a shed load of extra fries, chips and onion rings. I have to say my burger was superb. This was a view shared by the whole team, including the veggie! My burger was indeed served pink and was succulent and juicy as per the ‘Byron’ mission statement. It wasn’t cheap (£9.60 for the burger) but then this trend for quality burgers does come at a price. The bun was soft and soaked up all the luciousness that oozed from the centrepiece.
We were served by a smiling and enthusiastic young waitress. Nothing was too much trouble. All in all, couldn’t fault it. A simple menu, quality craft ales, great ingredients, good atmosphere. There are thirty four ‘Byron’s’ kicking about, only five outside London so you will have to hunt round a bit, but if you find one give it a  go.