Review: Burgers & Cocktails, Brighton

Seriously, could there be a more perfect combination? Other than perhaps “tea & cake” I think not!

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 5_zpsxez9ugj2.jpgWhilst wandering the North Laines of Brighton we stumbled upon Burgers & Cocktails (part of the Giraffe group). Drawn in by mention of two of my favourite things, we clocked the tummy-rumble-inducing menu, spied the student discount sign and our evening meal was sorted. We strolled up just before 7 to find it virtually empty; a sign that ususally puts us off, but we pererved as I really wanted a good burger. I’m glad we did. A good burger I definitely got.

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 1_zpsupvfjljp.jpgStarting with Mojitos (my cocktail of choice, sweet, sharp, strong and yum), we deliberated over burgers and combos of sides for far longer than socially acceptable. Burgers are a serious business, you guys! W eventually went for the Green Chilli Popper Burger, described as a little on the hot side. With a beef patty, green chilli relish, cream cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers & fondue raclette cheese this wasn’t a small burger! We were initially disappointed at the flat ‘McDonalds’ style patties, however it really worked well in both of our burgers. They were definitely good quality despite the thinness, with a good beef flavour coming through – and there’s no way you could eat these with a thick patty!

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 3_zpswh5asdg3.jpg photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 4_zpszyta5fwn.jpgFor me, there was only one real choice (though I did have a little food envy at the sight of the fondue raclette cheese!) – the Mac Mountain. A self-confessed mac’n’cheese addict, this one had had my mouth watering all afternoon. Allergy info checked, thanks to our fab waiter who said it had “red bits” he needed to check weren’t tomato, I was soon tucking into “beef patty topped with mac ‘n’ cheese, special sauce, smoky relish, lettuce & pickles” minus the sauce, relish and pickles, plus two rashers of bacon. Because everything needs more bacon. This was perfect, pure carbs-on-carbs indulgence. The bacon was perfectly cooked, crispy without being dry and brittle. The brioche bun squished well around the filling.

The mac’n’cheese deserves a special mention. Spiced up with jalapeño and chilli (the aforementioned red bits) this was lighter than expected, but still wonderfully cheesy and rich. The side portion W ordered came crisp with breadcrumbs, my portion tasted wonderful in my burger.

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 2_zpsa5og87zm.jpgAs I was already on double-carbs, I avoided fries on the side. Not for the salad option (we were on holiday) – I demolished a portion of the best onion rings I’ve had the pleasure of eating. I’m a huge fan of them, but they can often be lacking onion flavour, watery, soggy, greasy or (ultimate crime) breadcrumbed. These were great – properly oniony, crisp, a light batter and they stayed crunchy right until the end of the bowl. I’d go back for these alone.

And because we had been greedy enough, we went for Hard Shakes instead of a dessert. I know, we deserve a medal…

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 7_zps4nsnlzvm.jpg photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 6_zpsfelerkxz.jpgI highly recommend saving room for these! W’s “Chocolate Monkey” (banana shake, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, chocolate liqueur & vodka, whipped cream & vanilla ice cream) was a little banana-y for my taste. However my “It’s Not Terry’s It’s Ours” was divine. Triple sec, crème de cacao, delicious brownie pieces, whipped cream & vanilla ice cream made for an amazingly thick shake, chocolatey, orangey and a massive alcoholic kick.

So if you’re in Brighton and in need of a burger, this place is great. Don’t come expect gourmet burgers, mediumly pink. Expect filthy burgers (don’t come on a first date), massive toppings, and a need to lie-down afterwards…

Where’s the best burger you’ve ever had?


The London Diaries: Five Guys, Islington

I mentioned a while back about a craving for a ‘filthy’ burger – not cooked pink, plenty of grease, covered in plastic cheese. I’ve also probably mentioned I’ve been desperate to try Five Guys since forever.

 photo Five Guys 4_zpsrxrt7zxh.jpgAs desperate as I was, there was no way in hell I was queuing as I’d seen people queue at their branch near Leicester Square. Then the New Designers exhibition called W’s name, and with Five Guys’ Islington branch being practically next door it would have been rude not to, right? So the two of us rolled up hoping for a bit of junk food heaven.

After staring a bit confusedly as the menu, a rather helpful server told us ‘little’ burgers are single, standard are double. Guys, this is probably the first time I’ve ever heard W order a ‘little’ something! We both went for a Bacon Cheeseburger, W adding a slice of tomato, myself adding mustard (I <3 mustard!), sharing a portion of ‘small’ fries (not the spicy ones). Two drinks saw us at just under the £20.

 photo Five Guys 1_zpsygwlhhgf.jpgIt was then time to navigate the drinks machine. All I can say here is that Five Guys have made a diabetic boy very happy – we’ve been unable to find Diet/Zero Vanilla Coke here so he promptly filled up on that. I went down the route of half-filling in the attempt to try as much as possible. Still Peach Fanta is deliciously refreshing, but I LOVED the Grape Sprite. Yum.

I watched our burgers being made, the system at Five Guys is definitely efficient especially in such a small space. What was slightly disappointing was out burgers were made up and wrapped, then there was a five minute wait for the fries to be added – this did make for every so slightly soggy buns, and my cheese was a little colder than I would have liked…

However overall the burgers were pretty delicious.

 photo Five Guys 3_zpsioesmnfg.jpg photo Five Guys 7_zpsmo7qsepk.jpg photo Five Guys 8_zpsthpxwpqp.jpg photo Five Guys 9_zpslkyl44g0.jpgThe patty was thin and well-done, but juicy and extremely flavoursome. It LOOKS a little like something you’d find in McDonalds but tastes infinitely better. The cheese…well it’s not exactly good quality cheese, but it is yummy and adds the stickiness, creamy, slightly cheesy badness a burger like this needs. The bacon was perhaps a bit of a let down – mine was slightly burnt and some areas tasted a little over smokey – but I’ll forgive that. The mustard was definitely a welcome addition, adding a kick and slight sweetness. I only wish I’d added some onion too – maybe next time I’ll go mad with the toppings.

 photo Five Guys 5_zpsg1bphu1z.jpgFries were good. It made a welcome change to actually taste potato in fries. The Five Guys Style ones are very simple, though we felt a little more salt was necessary, but they were well cooked with fluffy insides, and crispy bits dotted about. The portion size was also extremely generous. At first W looked a little forlorn at the small pot on the table, until we opened the bag and found another pot’s worth in the bottom. A small was definitely big enough to share for lunch, along with some free peanuts!

 photo Five Guys 11_zps2jfg9kts.jpg photo Five Guys 12_zpstqnqjfvq.jpgYep, free peanuts are in massive sacks everywhere. Definitely not a place for someone with a nut allergy!

So, the conclusion of my review of Five Guys? It’s a simple restaurant – just burgers and fries, but what they do, they do well. It’s not a gourmet burger, it’s fast food, and as such it is a little overpriced for what it is. I wouldn’t hurry to go back (mainly due to the price point – I could have a Byron or Wahaca for roughly the same cost!), but I would heard here over a McDonalds when a craving hits. Either me for a burger, or W for some vanilla coke…

Have you been to Five Guys? What did you think of it? Can you recommend me any burger places to visit – I’m feeling a summer burger challenge!