I am a burger bitch. A big fat shameless burger bitch.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram will know, barely a week goes by without me enjoying one of life’s finest creations. Burgers bring me joy. They make me happy. Hungry? I’ll have a burger. Sad? I’ll have a burger? Late night? I’ll definitely be chowing down on a big fat juicy burger.
Luckily, we don’t have to venture too far in any direction in Bristol to find a decent burger joint and with so much variety on offer we can pretty much have any combination we want. Now whilst I don’t claim to have enjoyed all of the burgers in this city’s great establishments (2017 is the year I will definitely rectify this) there are a few places I have particularly enjoyed stuffing my face in. If you know of a great burger place that I have missed then please flag it to me, or better yet, invite me to come with you! This ass doesn’t cushion itself you know.
So if you want filth…
Oowee has managed to garner quite the reputation and following throughout Bristol in a short space of time and upon visiting them and tasting their wares it is not difficult to see why. Word of mouth has spread across the city like wildfire and once you have braved the crowds and managed to place your order, you are in store for a real treat. Verity (formerly of Gourmet Sandwich Club) and her gang are serving up filth at its finest. This is like seeing a celebrity in real life, when food porn pictures become a reality and honestly there is nothing more beautiful than seeing perfectly cooked beef oozing with cheese. The Double C is my frontrunner so far, cooked to perfection with the beef being just juicy enough without feeling greasy and fantastically complimented by layers of cheese and burger relish. Saying that, I am yet to try their chicken burger offerings and again, they do have great vegetarian options. There are also an abundance of fries and sides to choose from, including steak, shrimp, chicken, garlic butter and marmite to name but a few. The fries portions are massive and more than enough for two people (unless you hate your dining partner or are greedy). Or, you could eat half of them and then save the other half for after your night out like I did (rotter). They still tasted glorious mind.
I had been excited to visit Gloucester Road’s Hobgoblin for months due to the ridiculous stories I had heard about their burgers and I am delighted to say they did not disappoint. The first word that pops into my mind when I think about their creations is MENTAL; don’t eat before you go otherwise you will not be able to move, for days. The menu is something to behold with burger combos so out there I would recommend going with a group of pals so you can all order differently and try as much as possible. I tried the ‘Cow and Chicken’ (melted brie, smoked bacon, fried chicken and beef patty) and ‘The Squealer’ (pulled pork, smoked bacon, with cheddar cheese) and both were pretty full on and heavy, you wouldn’t want to go out on the lash after putting them away. Of course, we teamed our burgers with the infamous ‘dirty dirty fries’ (because you just have to when visiting) and trust me, Christina Aguilera and her ass chaps have got nothing on these – seasoned fries with smoked pulled pork, BBQ sauce, 8 spices, melted blue cheese, cheddar cheese and coriander mayonnaise. Just FILTHY. I thought two of us would be able to handle the portion until a group of 5 men sat down next to us and ordered the same to share between them. Big portions and big ass burgers = big bellies but sometimes when you are eating burgers you’ve got to go all out, otherwise what’s the point?! I can see why Bristol raves about The Hob.
Meatliquor has slotted nicely into Stokes Croft like it has been living there forever; normally I am not an advocate of chain restaurants, but I make an exception for this lot. The restaurant is laid back, cool and I personally really love their side orders just as much as their burgers. The top two offerings in my opinion are the Buffalo Chicken Burger; chicken covered in home-made hot pepper sauce, blue cheese sauce, red onions and lettuce. The chicken was perfectly crispy and I have a soft spot for hot sauce, also, who doesn’t like blue cheese? Everything works well together with a pleasant kick coming at the end of every bite. In terms of beef, I enjoy the Dead Hippie; x2 French mustard-fried beef patties, dead hippie sauce (it’s a secret), lettuce, cheese, pickles and minced white onions, it’s a beast but one of their signature burgers I think. They also have great vegetarian options and have recently unveiled their vegetarian range of side dishes. There are also hot dogs if you’d rather. In terms of sides, their chicken wings are to die for, and the deep fried pickles are EVERYTHING. You must order them if you visit.
Recently opening on Whiteladies Road, Hubbox is a burger joint close to my heart. What started out as a small burger shack down in Cornwall, has now grown due to popularity, with the gang opening a few more sites where they first started out, one in Exeter and now in Bristol. Hubbox offers ‘burgers, dogs and craft beer’ but also so much more. There is an extensive menu, which features small nibbles, (think Nachos, chicken wings, Mac ‘n’ Cheese), a whole range of burgers including beef, chicken and fish. Hotdogs, lobster rolls and different takes on fries. There is also a cracking cocktail list, local beers, spirits and wines. It wouldn’t be a visit for me without ordering ‘The Big Kahuna’; 2 beef patties, BBQ pulled pork, Swiss cheese, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, red onion, lettuce, tomato and onion rings. (For picture scale, I had the smaller version – believe it or not!). It was everything a burger should be, packed full of juices, bigger than my face and cooked well. I also sampled the ‘Kim Yum Chick’ which I must also say was delicious. Crispy-fried buttermilk chicken breast smothered in Korean BBQ sauce and Gochujang mayonnaise, it was crispy with a subtle kick coming at the end of every bite. Hubbox is a great venue for dropping in with a group of friends who are all hungry, it caters for families and children well and the hungover amongst us. I’m really pleased to see them arrive in our city.
If you want creativity…
My love affair with Burger Theory started back in April of last year when I went down to meet Rory and his team on behalf of Foozie. Since then, I have not been able to get enough of the wonderful burgers the creative gang offer up on their frequently changing menu. You can find the guys at Kongs on King Street or The Golden Lion on Gloucester Road. The main philosophy behind Burger Theory is one of ‘Keeping it Local’. This is a big theme in the Bristol food scene and is a subject that is particularly close to my own heart, as I am very interested in knowing where the food on my plate has come from and the story behind it. All of the meat used is sourced from one contact and is 100% British certified, the bread comes in from The Proper Bread Bakery, all vegetables are from local producers and all of the dairy products come from Ashton Farms. Rory and Ollie believe fresher is better and I couldn’t agree more with them. As I have already mentioned, the boys do like to mix up their menu as much as possible but my front runners as it stands at the moment would have to be ‘The Prarie Girl’, which is possibly THE best chicken burger in Bristol. It consists of a southern fried chicken breast with franks hot sauce and cool blue cheese dressing; it’s crispy, juicy and honestly just down right delicious. Another favourite is ‘The Don’ – beef, garlic, oregano and chilli patty with crispy bacon, pepperoni, pizza sauce, melted mozzarella and rocket. The clue is in the name, it is a boss burger! You can also find awesome vegetarian burger options here (I think some of the best out of this list) and if you aren’t feeling beef or chicken, they also have fish burger options. Also did I forget to mention the fact they offer kimchi fries, Korean fried chicken with sticky chilli sauce and pulled duck mac and cheese?!
Three Brothers Burgers
OK, so Three Brothers Burgers have probably nabbed the most picturesque spot in Bristol for you to chomp down on a beefy bun, but let’s not get side-tracked here. This restaurant is perfect for dropping by with a gang of mates, a family feast or an impromptu munch, and it’s relaxed with the focus being on quality burgers and a whole range of craft beers and ciders. It’s incredibly reasonable, with them offering a £5 lunchtime deal midweek, and for burgers of this quality, you just can’t argue with that. Ask any foodie in Bristol about Burgers and Three Brothers will always pop up; everyone has their personal favourites but I particularly enjoy the Blues Brothers burger – a single beef patty topped with caramelised onions and a big slab of Alex James’ (yes, the guy from Blur) blue cheese. If you really fancy a burger challenge though, here is where you will meet your contenders. The Meaty Mountain and Mega Burger are both full on, with lots of beef, bacon and American cheese, but they haven’t got anything on The Triple Burger – that’s right, three patties, triple sweet cured American bacon and triple cheese. Think you can handle all of that? Then head down to this place. Vegetarians are also catered for well here and can also be a part of the challenges with The Veggie Mountain Burger. You can add as much or as little as you like to your lunch or dinner with a range of extra toppings to add on as well.
Having opened their doors in 2009 these well-established burger pros know a thing or two about making a banging beef patty. This wonderful Bristol independent focuses on keeping it local and providing the highest of quality whilst still being kind to your wallet, so it’s understandable as to why they are still a firm favourite and have been going for so long. The great thing about Burger Joint is that you are the boss, you can have whatever you fancy, however you please. So what if your friends think your ingredient combinations make you a freak?! Eat that burger with pride! Firstly you choose your patty, whether it’s the veggie joint, venison, wild boar, lamb, peri-peri chicken or even kangaroo (?!) there are plenty of options. After this the possibilities are endless! You choose the toppings and sauces and you are free to create your very own perfect burger, what’s not to like? My personal favourite has got to be Venison topped with chilli con carne and all of the cheese, my own meaty madness. Also, the portions are very generous without bankrupting you. I would give these guys a go and discover for yourself why they were recently voted one of the top burger restaurants outside of London by the Daily Telegraph.
Atomic Burger was one of the first burger venues I visited when I moved to Bristol as it was situated near my house on the Gloucester Road; a mate had recommended I try it for the “insane burgers, sci-fries and massive onion rings.” My mate wasn’t wrong. It has to be said, this is a burger that you don’t necessarily want to order through Deliveroo or to take away in my opinion. I say this because their restaurants are completely different to anywhere else on the scene and most importantly, great fun. Get ready to be transported back to your childhood, with your favourite cartoon hero’s and figures adorning the walls and the best 80’s playlist blaring from the TV screens; the decor makes for fantastic conversation whilst you wait for the main event, reminiscing about what you liked to watch when you were younger, or who was the worst cartoon villain. If you are anything like me however, you might just order a Corona and wail along to Culture Club’s ‘Karma Chameleon’ before chowing down. The burgers themselves are mostly named after cultural icons of our time, expect to find the ‘Chuck Norris’ (USA cheese slice, BBQ pulled pork and fried onions), the ‘Audrey Hepburn’ (crispy bacon, a fried egg and an onion ring) or even the ‘Dolly Parton’ (a double stacked burger, jalapenos, crispy bacon and double USA cheese). You choose the meat for your burger and there is also an option to create your own and there are plenty of other topping and sauce choices for if you want something extra. I have already mentioned the onion rings and sci-fries (one of my favourites, fries topped with chilli and garlic) but there are also super sides and milkshakes (you can add popping candy to these milkshakes!) which remind me of an American Diner but in a great way.
If you want something different…
I’ll be honest, before these three little piggy brothers and their pal opened up in Whapping Wharf, I probably wouldn’t have made a pork burger my first choice; I would normally indulge in the odd hog roast at a wedding or party but those are few and far between. That was until I made the trip down to Pigsty and I definitely wasn’t squealing all the way home. They have served me up some of the most delicious burgers I have enjoyed here in Bristol and are completely different to the normal suspects on offer in many other places. The two front runners for me currently are the ‘Whole Hog’ – slow roast pork belly, crackling, apple sauce and raw slaw and the ‘Pig Mac’ – a seasoned pork patty, slow roast bbq pulled pork, cheese baconnaise in a brioche bun with house slaw. The Pig Mac might just have the edge because it is juicy, cheesy and just plain wonderful. However the crackling in the Whole Hog provided the perfect crunch without being too tough for the burger itself. For the vegetarians there is the option of the ‘Egg Mac’ – a soft boiled egg wrapped in mac n cheese and served with raw slaw or if you don’t want a patty, the ‘Banger Bap’ is three different flavoured sausages served with bramley apple and cider chutney. It goes without saying that although this post is about burgers, you can’t visit these guys and not indulge in some porky treats as well. The Hoguettes and the Scotch egg will do you well as a warm up before ordering a bap and I’ll leave you with one word, BACONNAISE.
Smoke and Glaze
I only recently tried Smoke & Glaze after wanting to taste their wares for a while. Their South American inspired menu really appealed to me because that sort of food is right up my street and I have a weakness for chimichurri dressing. The burgers are meaty and juicy; I ordered the Chimi-Chimi-Ya – a beef patty, cheddar, fried chorizo, chimichurri dressing, paprika mayonnaise and cajun ketchup and it was fantastic. The chorizo and chimichurri worked perfectly with the beef patty and I think chorizo is an ingredient so often missed off of burgers or forgotten about altogether. The sauces mixed in with the cheese provided a wonderful aftertaste and I thought that this was proper comfort food at its best. I teamed my burger with the ‘Soul Fries’ twice cooked crispy cajun potatoes served with chimichurri dressing; they were more potato cubes than fries but I didn’t mind this because they were delicious and made a nice difference. The burger choices here are not for the faint hearted with the ‘Steak Dinner’ – a burger patty topped with a rump minute steak, cheddar, bourbon cream sauce, spiced onion rings and cajun ketchup (how EPIC does that sound?!) and the ‘Big Bird’ – crispy buttermilk fried chicken thigh, parma ham crisp, roast portobello mushroom, parmesan, truffle mayonnaise and cajun ketchup. Vegetarians and vegans are also catered for and I would almost be tempted to go meat free on my next order with what the guys are offering here, with the ‘Vegan Natty’ (no I don’t just like it because it’s got Natty in the name) sounding delicious with a garlic and thyme roast portobello mushroom, beetroot black pudding, tomato relish, ranch dressing and spiced ketchup. I’m genuinely getting hungry just writing this and also laughing at myself as to how many times I can say chimicurri in one paragraph.
Relative newcomers to the Bristol burger scene, but not ones to underestimate, Asado bring a taste of Spanish BBQ to proceedings. Everything at Asado is cooked over a wood-fired grill, giving the burgers that lingering smoky taste and filling the restaurant with charcoal aromas. The venue is playful and funky, decked out in yellow and blue with quirky frames filling the main wall. Asado’s own Spotify playlist booms from the speakers, a welcoming mix of Latin beats and old school hip-hop. The menu here is simple, but packs some big hitters. Chef Lucien Gordon (formerly of Patty & Bun in London) has focused on serving quality cooked patties with an array of toppings and sauces influenced by South American cuisine. The ‘Asado’ burger; a beef patty topped with west country cheddar, chimichurri, confit garlic mayonnaise, ketchup, pickled red onions, lettuce and salad is a bun to behold and is a messy but delicious affair and the rosemary salt chips are very easily addictive. Asado has granted Bristol a burger joint where you can come and easily spend a whole evening sipping on delicious cocktails, chowing down on some quality meat, and getting into the spirit of dancing off your burger whilst listening to some banging tunes.
Perhaps not the first place that would spring to mind when talking burgers, but The Ox Clifton have got a pretty strong offering. Keeping it simple; firstly, you choose your meat; the options are the prime-cuts beef burger, or the spiced chicken burger. Once this has been decided, you then have the freedom to choose from a range of options, including grilled field mushroom, bacon, pastrami, confit onion and blue cheese (go as wild as you like). As ever, when eating meat at The Ox, you can expect your beef patty to be cooked to perfection, whilst the hulk of breaded chicken breast that comes in a bap is also just as impressive (I would rank The Ox’s chicken burger my second favourite in Bristol after Burger’s Theory’s Prairie Girl). Why not team your buns with a side of sticky ribs or chicken wings to really make a meal of it as well. What’s more, is the Ox in Clifton has a big marble bar, in which you can eat your meat, NYC style whilst watching the bartenders at work. Coming in at £12.50 a burger, this is an absolute steal for such quality. Going to The Ox doesn’t always have to be for a special occasion or for when you want to dress fancy (although it is always perfect for that sort of evening), you can also pop in for lunch or an early supper and eat a decent meal for a great price.
I am not sure whether the lovely Flora from the Pickled Brisket will get mad at me for including them in my burger list (sorry Flo!) but in my defence, the salt beef sandwiches are served in a bun like everything above and rival some of my favourite burgers – so I couldn’t not mention them. Now, I am sure when people think of burgers salt beef is not the first thing that comes to mind, but hear me out on this. These guys can normally be found popping up at various Bristol markets and street food events around the South West; all of their beef comes from 100% British breeds which are farmed in the West country, before being brined for two weeks by their butcher and cooked overnight to provide succulent salt beef. Teamed with bread from a local bakery the Pickled Brisket’s menu is not vast but offers flair on the original salt beef sandwich with some great options. I chose one of the specials when I visited, ‘The Reuben’ – salt beef, mustard sauerkraut, house Russian dressing, blow torched Swiss cheese and pickles served on a brioche and it was glorious. Really flavoursome and tasty, not to mention huge! It did feel partly like a sandwich due to the fact there is no overdosing on sauce but I enjoyed that (this also equals less mess) and the blowtorched Swiss cheese on top was a delicious addition. These guys are awesome for if you do fancy something completely different and what is more exciting is that this year you will be able to find them down in the new Cargo 2 development at Whapping Wharf.