Tag Archives: burger

White Hart, Witley

The White Hart is a 16th century pub found in Witley, a small village in Surrey for those of you, who like me, hadn’t heard of the place before and had no idea of where it was. Despite its age this pub’s definitely pushing the boat out and made the bold choice of veering off the tried and tested route of typical pub fare. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m always up for a decent fish and chips or Sunday roast, but if you’re expecting classic pub grub you’ll be disappointed.

We were pointed in the direction of the White Hart by my brother in-law and I can see why, a few years ago the menu became focused around burgers, barbecue, whisky and beer – enlisting BBQ Whisky Beer, winners of Ribstock in 2013 to devise a menu. A number of cultural influences including North American, North African and Korean to name a few have been taken on board, making the menu and interesting read and it doesn’t disappoint. So much so we revisited a few weeks after our first! Not only have they revamped the food menu, the drinks menu causes a bit of a stir too – expect craft beers, flights of whisky and unusually named cocktails, such as Hard Knocks & Slut Drops and Yuzu Nikka. Miso Horny?!

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Our two visits came at different times of the day – our first was a Saturday evening and the second a late Sunday lunch, so I think it gave me a good overview of what goes on at the White Hart. Now in a culinary age where burgers and barbecue have virtually been done to death, the menu pushes the boundaries making what could be a standard burger and barbecue menu into something a bit different from the norm. Diners will find a selection of starters, burgers, barbecue including their award winning Jacobs Ladder beef rib, sides including slaw, salads, mac and cheese. There’s always smoked ribs, 3 ways a B.O.T.M (burger of the month) and a special on offer too.
Here’s a summary of some of the dishes we had from both visits:

Scallops with crispy pork – a popular combination done well. The surf and turf elements were spot on – it’s hard to fault plump, soft scallops, cooked till barely translucent paired with salty, crispy bacon.

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Scallops, crisp pork, Thai garnish

Stunning Iberico pork ribs, juicy and tender with enough charring to add a smokiness to meat that fell off the bone. The pickle on the side working well bringing a little acidity to the plate. They were so tasty, in hindsight I wish I’d ordered the bigger portion!

Iberico pork baby back ribs w/ house pickles 
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Chicken wings, hot sauce, blue cheese and celery
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Crab cocktail, charred gem, fried avocado and nduja aioli

Spot on beef royale burger; perfectly pink, juicy patty cooked as stated by the waitress on ordering, topped with beef short rib slices which brought incredible smoky flavour and meatiness, a neutral cheese and a pickle to help cut through the richness. For me, burgers need to juggle a balancing act of flavours, juiciness and enough hold so it doesn’t fall apart and make a big mess. There was just the right amount of mess and give in the burger, where you could hold it intact to the last bite.

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Beef Royale burger – classic burger, short rib and portobello mushroom

B.O.T.M – Chinese burns on the beach; a fusion of asian and scottish by all accounts. May sound odd and even read odd on paper, but by all accounts made for a great burger – a classic burger topped with a haggis and black pudding fritter, hoi sin shredded duck, and bunny and fosters cheese. Unlike mine, the burger was a really messy one and definitely needed a knife and fork to tackle the beast.

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B.O.T.M – Chinese burns on the beach

Chicken shawarma – so much meat, seemed like half a chicken was on my plate, sat on top of a cucumber salsa, smear of hummus and a flatbread. The meat itself was juicy and delicately spiced, my favourite pieces are always the wings, thighs and legs rather than the breast and this was reinforced here. It was a large plate and I couldn’t eat it all, it didn’t go to waste though as the other half was happy to finish it off for me. If I was to fault it, it would be the flatbread, I found it a bit thick and would’ve preferred it on the side with the accompaniments, rather than on the plate where it became soggy from the hummus. 

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Chicken Shawarma

As much as the burgers and shawarma had gone down a treat, I reckon the stars of the show were the beef short ribs, which happen to be winners of Ribstock in 2013. The ribs cooked in a wood smoker were sublime, producing beautifully flavoursome meat where a subtle smokiness allowed the beef’s innate meatiness to come through. All that remained on the plate were two clean bones!

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Coal roasted sweet potato w/  dill aioli, black garlic 

The White Hart’s a great pub and definitely worth travelling to, with its relaxed coach house feel, friendly service and stand out food! I’ll be looking in the diary for our 3rd visit! 

The White Hart

Petworth Road

Witley

Godalming

GU8 5PH

http://whitehartwitley.co.uk

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Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House

Day’s out are great aren’t they? On this particular day I was getting a culture fix, trying to decipher the meanings of pieces of art at Ai Wei Wei’s exhibition in the Royal Academy and probably still remained a bit clueless at the end of it!

With late lunch booked at Tom’s Kitchen in Somerset House there were high hopes of a satisfying feed, beginning strongly with drinks to get our digestive juices flowing, our fingers were crossed it would continue in a similar style. Service was efficient from the outset and I would’ve been disappointed with anything less, considering it’s one of Tom Aiken’s establishments. Rather than being full of fancy posh dishes, the menu was littered with classics and comfort food dishes – perfect for the colder weather.

Even after a decent breakfast, trudging around for a few hours soon burned off any energy reserves and we were pretty ravenous by the time 2pm arrived. To start a crab cake and chicken liver parfait kicked off our lunch – the spicy crab and salad demolished in a couple of minutes with the partnership of cool cucumber and tomato balancing the heat from the crab cake nicely.

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I was a little disarmed when was faced with the portion in front of me, the curl of parfait was crazy big and would take some eating – I tried my best though! Great with the toasted brioche which was fully loaded with a bit of everything – the richly smooth parfait worked perfectly with the chutney and sharp cornichons, just enough to break up the richness and prevent it become too intense. However, despite my best efforts there was still parfait left, making me feel a touch of guilt because I hate wasting good food!

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Shepherd’s pie isn’t something I eat often, even at home I prefer the cottage equivalent and it’s not something I’ve ever ordered in a meal. However, on an Autumnal day it was a dish that was most welcome! Underneath a cheesy mash top was a generous layer of lamb, which I can be a bit funny about – I don’t know if you’re the same? It’s not my favourite meat – I’m all about beef, pork and seafood, sometimes struggling with the lambiness of the meat. I much prefer it spiced North African style because it disguises the innate flavour of the meat itself and in my opinion makes it a lot more interesting.

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The other half’s burger did all the right things and there were no complaints. Even though burgers are cooked through here, something stated by the waiter at the time, it was still incredibly juicy and must be testament to the quality of the meat used and the combination of ingredients in the patty. Topped with perfectly melted smoked Applewood cheddar, salty crisped bacon and a generous amount of gherkins there was plenty going on taste and texture-wise. No sign of the seemingly ever-present brioche bun here, with a sesame seed bun taking pride of place, as much as I love a brioche bun sometimes a touch of old-school is great too.

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Set within the grounds of the beautiful Somerset House, the restaurant ticks a lot of boxes and great if you are in  the centre of London. My only bug bear was the lacklustre atmosphere in the dining room, being separate from the bar it misses out on the extra ambience and character.

Tom’s Kitchen

Somerset House

Strand

London

WC2R 1LA

http://www.tomskitchen.co.uk/somerset-house

Ed’s Easy Diner, Woking

As far as I’ve noticed, the majority of additions to Woking’s food scene, which tend to be chains such as Bill’s, Las Iguanas and Carluccio’s occupy the town centre’s main pedestrianised street, unlike recently opened Ed’s Easy Diner which is found inside the town’s shopping centre. This could be seen as an unusual location, but with its eye-catching neon signage and interior retro 50’s look it’s caught my eye and it seems to have lured in lots of customers since opening. 

From the interior I could imagine being sat dressed up like the characters from Grease ordering a burger with everything on it and a milkshake, wearing a 50’s style dress with lots of petticoats and a neck scarf, all the while singing along to tunes from the jukebox.

  

It’s not often you see establishments advertising a gluten free menu that’s certified by Coeliac UK, VERY rare for those serving up burgers and hot dogs. It’s probably the only reason why we stepped into Ed’s because of the GF menu, my husband wanted to see if was it any good, could GF burger buns be redeemed or was it going to as bad as most of the others he’d regrettably tried before? Having struggled to find menus with GF beers, seeing Celia on the menu was more than a pleasant surprise and it also good to see food prices were the same whether it was GF or not!

Burgers are probably right up there for my husband’s favourite food, but a spanner was thrown into the works when the whole gluten intolerance kicked off! There have been times when he’s succumbed, knowing the consequences he’s eaten one anyway just to satisfy the craving, so when a menu advertises GF burgers he’s always gone for it! Now imagine when you think at last you can enjoy eating something without pain and discomfort etc, just to be wholly disappointed….well in most cases the bun’s are a real let down; dry to the point of falling apart because of its brittle nature. Damn you gluten for making bread so awesome!! The number of times the goods have been well below par, leaving one very deflated burger lover! I’ve even suggested the notion of a naked burger, but to him it completely defeats the object and takes all the joy out of eating one. I can see his point!

His Big Bubba’s bacon ‘n’ cheese burger came with a bun that was surprisingly spot on – soft, nicely holding its shape and actually tasted of something resembling bread! The bacon was crisp and patty was cooked well – they could make them a bit thicker though, as they’re a little meagre for the price (£7.75)! The American cheese to me looked like a bit plasticky, it’d be good if they’d take the time to let the cheese melt with a little steam and a cloche doing all the work.

I fancied an original fried chicken burger, it was alright but probably a little forgettable. The good bits – chicken was golden and moist, iceberg was crisp and it was housed in a decent sesame bun. Not so good bits: the chicken’s thin and a little flimsy, it was all a bit safe and that’s coming from me – who loves simplicity when it comes to burgers. To elevate it the burger would need a juicy chunk of meat and extras of which there are plenty to choose from, but at a quid a pop for each the price of a burger can quickly sky rocket if you feel the need. I’ve definitely had much better fried chicken burgers for less, such as old faithful Leeds’ Patty Smith’s Colonel Patty and Manchester’s Mumma Schnitzel’s Mumma Burger!

Maybe against my better judgement I’d topped my fries with chilli con carne, the fries were fine, however the chilli con carne was underwhelming and didn’t really add a great deal. Maybe as it’s a family orientated menu their trying to play it safe on the level of heat, but it needed more oomph and was lacklustre in depth and meatiness, rather than being a meaty chilli with a nice warming feeling.

Overall I think our experience was just OK, it’s great the GF buns do the job, but the food didn’t blow us away. The staff are friendly and enthusiastic, service was pretty good and I can see why family’s may want to go there, but with an extra beer and a tip we didn’t get much change out of £40 quid though, so as far as value for money goes I’m not so sure. 

Ed’s Easy Diner

Woking Peacock Centre
Unit 42
Peacocks Centre,
Woking,
GU21 6GD

Five Guys

Hey there! A belated ‘Happy Christmas’ to everyone, I hope you’ve all had a lovely time with family and friends, enjoying the festive period to the fullest!! It’s been a few weeks since my last post (The Reliance), so I have a few reviews to post to stop a mini-backlog building up. Here’s the first!!

Another burger place has popped up in Leeds, this time in the form of Five Guys. I didn’t really know anything about them, they hadn’t crossed my radar before, should they have?? Others had told me it was a better version of the well known burger place with the golden arches, only when in London recently did I even notice them with a long queue wrapped around the building. I’m still on the fence to how many burger joints we actually need in the city, so when they opened recently, I popped in to give it a fair chance and see how they compared to others.

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It’s found on the Cardigan Fields site with other family friendly eateries on the busy thoroughfare that is Kirkstall road. I parked up to be greeted by a couple of the staff trying to entice customers in, I was always going to come in, so let them ‘persuade’ me and duly followed. On the walls were displayed some of the plaudits Five Guys has received, seems like they’ve been a big deal for quite a while by the looks of it!

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Being unfamiliar with the menu, a quick explanation made it pretty straightforward – it has a build-your-own-burger quality to it; little burgers have one patty, standard burgers have two, the price includes all the toppings, of which there are many to choose from. Fries and drinks are extra. For those not wanting a burger, there were some hot dogs and sandwiches (e.g. grilled cheese and BLT) also on the menu.
One thing that struck me was the simplicity of it, I still like the simple stuff, dislike fussy burgers and how pretentious they are in some places. Five Guys seems to stick to this philosophy too!  Ordering a little bacon cheeseburger with tomato ketchup and small fries, the next thing to tackle was the drinks machine which could conjure up 120 different combinations!! WTF?! If you’re a soft drink fan, surely this is soft drink heaven. With a push of a button, a plethora of flavours, even ones I never knew existed popped up on the screen. After spending a minute pressing as many buttons as I could before annoying anyone, I went for raspberry flavour cloudy lemonade. Refillable too, so more flavours could be tried out!

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Sitting down I could watch the busyness going on behind the counter, with approximately 14/15 staff, orders were shouted out and dealt with in a regimented and orderly fashion. A few minutes later my number was called out from the counter and I collected my brown paper bag.

The skin-on fries were crisp, golden and the portion size was more than decent. My only complaint was the amount of salt on them, there was visibly too much for me and I couldn’t eat many, needing to drink in-between to dilute the saltiness. 

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As far as the burger goes I liked it; the patties are cooked through which I can understand as they are thin, topped with thin crispy bacon and well melted cheese to made for a tasty burger. None of that horrid solid cheese hanging off the edge. You won’t get any brioche buns either here, the seeded bun tasted good and matched the diameter of the patty, which is a silly picky thing, but a majorly important thing for me.

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I liked it that staff were asking if everything was alright, of course they’ve just opened and wanted to create a good impression. Nevertheless it’s good that they’re bothered, you won’t see that in some of the other well known fast food burger joints out there. Being asked did give me an opportunity to mention the fries, the man said they can be ordered without salt so I could add my own. He kindly ordered a complimentary portion so I could see for myself, then a few minutes later a massive portion was brought over. I tasted them as they were, again lovely and crisp, with a little salt added to my liking made them just right!

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News had certainly got round about their opening day, as the place steadily filled during my visit, including some of the Reds True BBQ team, checking out the competition eh?!

Leeds already has more than its fair share of burger joints, which makes me wonder if there’s enough room for them all to be honest. However, I think if I was going to the cinema in the Cardigan Fields area, I’d rather go to Five Guys than any other chain burger joint in close proximity. My lunch did come to £12 though, maybe a touch pricey for a burger, fries and drink from a fast food joint. What do you reckon?

On another note, I do sympathise for those with nut allergies, as Five Guys use peanut oil for cooking with and love providing diners with free peanuts.

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As I said earlier, there are lots of quality of burgers joints in Leeds  now, my favourite being Patty Smiths ‘Dirty burger’ in the Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen.

Food: Simple concept, done well. 

Service: Quick, friendly service.

Five Guys

Cardigan Fields Leisure Park

Kirkstall Rd

Leeds

LS4 2DG

https://www.fiveguys.co.uk

Five Guys on Urbanspoon

Friday night bowling, burgers, subs and laughs @ Roxy Lanes, Leeds

A couple of Friday’s ago, the evening literally played itself out like a tale of two sittings!! It all began with a ‘quick’ curry after work in Wakefield, the intention was to have a starter or two, I really tried to stick to this, but inevitably it ended up becoming a full on curry, oops! A pretty decent one it was too. Then there was the small matter of a quick stop to see the latest Academy Alumni 2014, dressed in all their finery at the Year 11 Prom, it’s always a fantastic occasion seeing the students you teach looking all grown up and celebrating their 5 years becoming young adults. Unfortunately, it could only be a short visit as I’d unwittingly double booked myself and arranged to meet the girls for a catch-up. The plan was to meet at Roxy lanes for a bowling sesh, but stupidly in my haste forgot a much needed pair of socks, so after a quick detour (in the wrong direction) I finally got to our meeting place of Roxy Lanes in Leeds city centre.
Family, work and life in general had made this occasion a very long over-due catch up with my mates, and the older we get the more spread out these occasions become, so it was one I was really looking forward to. Yeah it was a Friday night, and I must admit that an evening of bowling, drinks and a burger wouldn’t normally be my evening of choice for a catch-up, but it made a refreshing change! 

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The location of Roxy Lanes is probably not the most obvious of choices, its entrance is a little unnoticeable being around the corner from Tesco, just off Park Row!

Once inside and up a set of stairs, you arrive into the venue to see an air of the semi-industrial, there’s neon and a street art vibe with four lanes for bowling. Lined up with bowling balls that resemble giant pool balls, we took great delight in having a go with the mahoosive ’15’ white ball which lit up in lots of different colours. I’m such a weakling I could hardly pick it up, let alone launch it down the lane and get a strike. Hey, nevermind it was all part of the fun!!

As we were probably a little giddy and excited, we weren’t observant enough to read the notices advertising their deals, we paid for 1 game (£8 each). Only later did we find out about said deals – drink & bowl – £10, mini eat, drink & bowl – £15 and mega eat, drink & bowl £20. Definitely worth another visit just to make the most of these deal I reckon.

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The plan for me was always to try out Roxy’s menu, and even though I’d had a full curry just a few hours earlier I still wanted to give it a shot! The team at Roxy have got a diner style menu with burgers, pizzas, and what they called grilled subs, more that a grilled panini and ale a selection of starters that would be great for sharing!

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After managing to squeeze in a quick game of bowling, we sat down for a feed. Roxy Lanes has pizza, burgers, grilled subs and a range of starters ideal for sharing. Three of us choose burgers and I went for a grilled meatball sub, all accompanied by cracked black pepper chips. 

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The staff were friendly and very helpful and waiting times for ordering and the food being brought to the table wasn’t overly long. On first appearances the portion sizes looked good and overall we were pretty pleased with our food.  My grilled sub was tasty enough, more like a panini but tasty all the sane! 

The impression we all got was that Roxy Lanes is the place you may go to at the start of the evening, where you can all meet, have a good laugh bowling, a few drinks and a bite to eat to line the stomachs, then head further into town to see what the rest of the evening has in store.
The price for our food (4 people) was £35.80.
I'd recommend Roxy Lanes!

Food: A reasonable choice of food, definitely worth using the deals if you are bowling and want to make an evening out of it!

Service: Pleasant service, decent waiting times.

Atmosphere: Good atmosphere, the place probably benefits from the lively action taking place on the bowling lanes. 

Roxy Lanes

1st Floor
The Podium
Bond St
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 5BQ
0113 322 1781
http://www.roxylanes.co.uk/main-page/4584618104