Monday, 25 August 2014

Bundobust, Leeds

Crossing the Pennines to Leeds over the past year since I moved North has become a real pleasure. There's a cluster of restaurants and bars just stumbling distance from the train station that I thoroughly enjoy taking in Brewery Tap, Laynes Coffee, Friends of Ham, Tapped, Trinity Kitchen, Brewdog and Reds (if needing stodge desperately). When I heard Bundobust was opening mid-July just around the corner from Friends of Ham, I was keen to check it out with a view to getting it into my regular rotation if it was any cop.
Bundobust combine Indian street food from the Prashad family who apparently (I haven't been) have a well regarded 'proper' restaurant elsewhere in Yorkshire along with drink supplied by The Sparrow craft beer bar in Bradford. The restaurant itself is a great little place decor-wise and had attracted a fairly broad mix of people, not just the young and hip that my photos below reflect. The huge windows at the front and sides (overlooking an outdoor covered seating area) made the whole atmosphere really airy and welcoming. It was fairly busy on a weekend mid-afternoon but there was still plenty of space to grab a table quickly, a couple of larger banquet style tables near the bar really help squeeze as many people as possible for those that don't mind communal eating.
First thoughts - the bar. It's clear that some thought has gone into matching the beer selection with the food on offer with a drink menu consisting of their own coriander lager along with plenty of refreshing pales, tart saisons, and various wheat options on draft and by the bottle. Prices are fairly typical inflated city centre fare, with pints starting at around £3.50 and with bottles all the way up to an eye-watering £22.50 for one of the special Mikkellers they have on the menu.

The food menu is made up of cold snack dishes on the left and then hot food on the right. The chap who took my order was extremely helpful in explaining it all and said a couple of dishes per person should be enough, he talked a lot about sharing the food between us but paper pots of curry don't particularly lend well to this concept at all. The snacks sure, but imagine handing round a bowl of curry and all digging in with separate spoons? I was with a couple of close friends but still find this a bit of a grim prospect especially as there was no hint of sharing bowls offered. Anyway, you grab a table and order at the bar Nandos style, get given a plastic spoon with a number drawn on and the food arrives fairly promptly afterwards.
Disappointingly for Indian food there was no indication of how hot these dishes might be and no option to ask for extra heat. I'm no fiend for a monstrously hot curry but I know people get very protective of curry and like the option.

I should make it clear that the top three of the dishes below (Popcorn, Idli Sambha and Okra fries) I ordered and ate myself so can add a little more detail. 

"Popcorn and pops" £3
A laughable portion of greasy popcorn served in the same size dish as the rest of the food was a surprise, this came with a neon green colouring which had hints of garlic and green chilli but extremely mild. The three pieces of popadom could easily have been replaced by a giant hand sticking two fingers up at me mocking me for having paid £3 for what most restaurants give you for free.

Okra fries £3
These were excellent, the highlight for me. I'd expected them to be warm like a side of french fries but they were served stone cold so I assume they must just cook them in giant batches and dish them up during the day. Whatever they'd used to batter them had stayed hard giving them a satisfying crunch. The sprinkling of spice made for a great snack.

Idli Sambha £6
Two dumplings sat either side of a portion of lentil soup, with a dollop of coconut chutney sat in the middle. The soup was lukewarm with a very mild chilli spice. A perfectly fine little dish, the spongey dumplings had absorbed the soup but still held together nicely, adding some necessary bulk to the dish.

Spice and rice £6.50
This was one of the specials of the day, described as "Low and slow mung bean curry served with basmati rice". On appearance alone I was very surprised it was the same size as the popcorn dish for the most expensive dish on the menu. I had a spoonful out of the bottom and it was a fairly generic tasting mild bean curry, nothing to really get excited about. 

Ragda Pethis £6
Another of the dishes from the hot side of the menu, this one consisted of "potato cutlets, spiced mushy peas, tamarind chutney and tumeric noodles". I didn't try this so can't comment on the taste. 

Bundo Chaat £4
Final of the hot dishes we ordered, this had a Samosa hidden away in the "chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney and yoghurt" with a sprinkling of tumeric noodles on top. I didn't try this so can't comment on the taste. 

The food detailed along with 3 half pints of mid-priced draft beers came to a shade over £35 between three of us. £12 for a light lunch with a half of beer i'd say would be a shade expensive but we all left so hungry that we had to resort to raiding Marks and Spencers afterwards pre-train back to Manchester. If I were to compare it to somewhere like Mughli where a portion of their fantastic lamb chops would be the same price as the pot of spice and rice it's absolutely too expensive for my tastes, especially as the food was nothing special. If there were some sort of combo of a couple of hot dishes with snacks for £10 to create a proper 'meal' i'd be much keener.

I think it's worth noting here (if you hadn't noticed from the menu) that all of these dishes are vegetarian so there isn't even the excuse of expensive meats to bump up the costs of production. Charging £5-6 for a small bowl of curry sauce with rice must make them an astronomical mark-up.

There has been a ton of hype on twitter after the obligatory freebie blaggers rolled in on opening night, were given free food and gushed accordingly. Job done. My thoughts and wariness on this type of scenario is something i've whinged about at length before but is a prime example whereby if you remove price of food from the equation here then yes, Bundobust is a great little restaurant but it's absolutely too expensive it's annoying to me that this wasn't reflected in all the positivity I've read.

So would I go back? I would definitely head to the bar again, the constantly changing beer menu would be enough to tempt me back on that front if they continue to keep it interesting. The food? Not so much unless they sort those prices out. 
Bundobust on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 21 August 2014


I'd read a lot about the infamous Mark Addy, headed by Robert Owen Brown and his take on the 'nose to tail' concept heralded by St John. Unfortunately it closed early in 2014, shortly after I arrived in Manchester so I never had time to visit but it's always spoken of very highly (foodwise at least).

My expectations were understandably therefore high and foolishly on my part I didn't check the full menu that'd been posted online before heading in for dinner. Unfortunately, it really is the very definition of safe - burgers, steaks, pie, hot pot, chicken breast, a couple of salads, with only the rabbit offering anything vaguely out of the ordinary. Where is all this adventurous fare Rob is supposedly famous for? My browse of the printed menu was pleasantly serenaded by a workman started drilling into the ceiling in the back of the restaurant. Not even the sniff of an apology from the serving staff for this as he continued to go for it several times while we were in there. I wouldn't even invite you round for a brew and piece of cake in the flat if I had a workman in drilling into walls let alone expecting me not to mind while I pay for dinner in a restaurant filled with paying customers. Farcical really, just utterly amateurish and embarrassing. 

"Baked Whitby Crab"
Paprika spiced baked crab with double cream and leeks
I expected the topping here to be crisped up but it was breadcrumbs on top of a thick rich creamy mix of blitzed crab, double cream, leek and paprika. The warmth and flavour of the paprika took the lead and absolutely dominated the flavour which was initially unpleasant, I ordered crab expecting a light delicate dish and instead got a rich spicy sauce with a hint of crab flavour.
"Beetroot and Goat's Cheese"
This was on the early evening set menu as a starter but I'm calling bullshit on this being offered as a starter, I mean - look at the size of it. It was totally fine, it was a few wafer thin slices of beetroot on a bed of fennel and with a Subbuteo sized crispy goats cheese ball.
"Fish and Chips"
This was the best dish by some distance, the chips were exceptionally cooked and very crispy just as I prefer them, the haddock was soft and light with a perfect batter crust and the sides of peas and tartare sauce were chunky and satisfying. Once I'd lashed salt and vinegar all over the fish and chips things were going really well.
"Steak and Ale Pie"
The pie itself was very good, a substantial crust of salty flaky pastry on top of the pan very heavily loaded with juicy tender beef and a rich gravy sauce. The dish itself came accompanied with a dollop of mash which half sat on a napkin leaving me utterly confused about what the gravy jug was for, was I supposed to do try and pull the napkin out from under the potato or just lash the gravy over the napkin and hope not to end up with a mouthful of tissue paper? The mange tout served on top of the potato looked like something one of the contestants would do to improve their 'presentation' during the first round of Masterchef. The final insult was they use Dobber beer in the pie filling but couldn't make room between the Birra Moretti and Guinness for it behind the bar.
"Eccles Cakes"
I went with the 3 bite sized Eccles cakes with a slice of Lancashire Cheese for dessert. Pastry was spot on for an Eccles cake and they were sufficiently stuffed with fruit filling but they'd clearly been slid into the oven before serving (despite taking 20+ minutes to arrive) and so were slightly warm on the outside but with a stone cold centre. They should've just been served hot or cold, this weird mid-ground wasn't good at all.
Service was polite but not particularly effective, basics like the table not being cleaned down despite being visibly covered in crumbs weren't dealt with. As I mention above, the Eccles cakes went AWOL and had to be chased up after 20 minutes waiting. The final dose of comedy was the highly audible noise of the drains emptying directly above our table every time someone went to the loo.

You could argue it's early days with the new menu only being on a week but Rosylee has been there for years with presumably the same serving staff and if the kitchen staff aren't up to speed yet then deep discounts should still be being offered until they're at a decent level. 

There were stories about this 'concept' being rolled out to other cities after Manchester "Venues are currently being looked at in Leeds and York" apparently which is totally baffling to me, though if the concept they're going for is "good but not great" pub food then they've absolutely nailed it.  I honestly couldn't tell you what hole Rosylee fills or what really sets it apart from 100 pubs across the North of England serving very similar food.

Maybe I'd set my expectations a bit too high but honestly this was massively disappointing and I wouldn't bother going back unless some more interesting menu options appear in the future to tempt me back. 
Rosylee Tea Rooms on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fig and Sparrow

The extremely stylish Fig and Sparrow logo lets passers-by know that hidden within is a 'Lifestyle Store and Coffee Bar' and just by taking a peek through the window past the people that are often eating and drinking at the front bench you can just make out lots of cutesy household goods along the walls.
It'd be remiss of me not to mention the "Lifestyle Store" itself despite not being the focus of this review as they offer a wide range of goodies including greetings cards, lots of kitchen kit (everything from teapots through to plates and bread bins), cushions, art prints and wrapping paper. It's clearly an extremely well curated collection, everything very tasteful and compliments the decor of the store itself. It's always a temptation to pick up a treat for the flat on the way out.
Tucked away at the back of the store past the shop section is one of my favourite spots for a quick lunch, it's a very peaceful Scandinavian inspired place to sit and hide away from the world. Picture old wooden tables (that are fixed to the floors for some reason - presumably to keep the spacing set) and stools, clear walls, everywhere free of clutter and a tasteful blue tiled area around the coffee counter.

The drinks menu is printed onto the wall large enough for even those with the worst of eyesight to see from the tables. The food menu seems to be fairly regularly rotated and hangs on clipboards for you to browse before ordering at the counter. As well as coffees, they offer a wide range of flavoured teas (inc Himalayan Darjeeling, Samovar Orange Spice, Marrakech Mint) as well as fresh and fizzy juice options.
The twist that Fig and Sparrow bring to their food offering is that wherever it's feasible the dishes or side are served within little glass jars (clearly it wouldn't be ideal for soup for example). Whilst not entirely unique to them, it's a great little idea which is certainly unique in the NQ and gives them an identity of their own. The jars are housed in a large glass fronted lit up cabinet on the counter that gives you a sneak preview of what to expect from your order.

On this occasion I went for the sourdough toast with peppered salmon and rocket, cream cheese. The little jar had more than enough cream cheese and salmon to fully cover both slices of toast which was positive to see. The bread was a high standard sourdough from Trove which is a sure sign of quality. The even better news is that the sell Trove loaves to take away, the fig and walnut being a particular highlight.
For dessert I ate the maple and pecan tart, which was a great take on the classic. Large enough for 5-6 mouthfuls and crammed with chopped pecans and a lovely rich maple syrup flavour. I had a black Americano to go with dessert and it was a pleasant mild blend, with decent flavour but not particularly strong.

In total I paid £9.25 for coffee, the smoked salmon main and the pecan tart. I hid away in the back, read a book for half an hour while I ate and as a result left completely unwound and ready for my afternoon and for that alone it's impossible not to recommend Fig and Sparrow. The sheer range of cafes within a 5 minute walk of the NQ is ever-growing and and it's getting more and more difficult to choose a favourite, Fig and Sparrow is definitely up there.
Fig + Sparrow on Urbanspoon

Tim Raue - Two Star Michelin Dining in Berlin

I fancied a treat in Berlin so hit the Michelin star list for inspiration. I'm a big fan of detective fiction including Philip Kerr and his Berlin Noir trilogy which often includes the famous Adlon Hotel as a backdrop. I fancied checking that out for myself and soaking in the history but it was inevitably booked up for months in advance sadly. Out of the other options available for bookings Tim Raue and his 2 Michelin Star take on Asian cuisine definitely seemed interesting so I decided to give it a spin. A decision that ended up working out fantastically. 
The outside was weird as hell, a bit of carpet and a few Chinese lion statues in the corner of a car park marked the entrance and in all honesty was pretty off-putting. Fortunately once inside I could immediately tell this was a place right up my street, the fun little sofa in the lobby scattered with animal shaped cushions immediately set the mood for an incredibly laid back evening - the serving staff decked out in crisp white converse looked stylish and all spoke absolutely impeccable English which helped put me at immediate ease.
After ordering drinks, a selection of snacks was presented to start and were a nod to the meal to follow, they were numerous and included cashews in curry paste, pickled radish, sashimi style salmon and quails egg. A broad range of flavours, textures and the Asian flavours that would be the theme throughout the courses to follow.
There was a choice of two menus, the seasonal which seemed very heavy on shellfish but I was in the mood for something more substantial and interesting and the Unique menu seemed to cover a lot more ground so I went for that. Having seen some of the seasonal courses on tables around me, I feel I made the best choice.

"Imperial Caviar with Sprat and Yuzu"
This coursen followed the snacks in really setting the scene for the meal to come, and came across as a chef really teasing the flavours and imaginative food that was to follow. A generous portion of caviar (sufficient to actually enjoy the flavour) sat upon a lettuce and combava (from the lime family) base which offered a real blast of citrus. An unexpected highlight for me here was the dots of preserved peel, which were like the most intensely bitter and chewiest fruit pastille you've never tasted.
"Turbot no. 219 with Chinese Broccoli and Tamarind"
Three meaty chunks of turbot with light tempura style batter all served in a ginger and garlic sauce and dotted with pickled ginger which all worked together to be wonderfully warming. The broccoli was perfectly tender, retaining the flavour and adding a gentle texture to compliment the fish.
"Langoustine with Wasabi, Cantonese style"
This went immediately into my top 10 courses of the year. A giant lightly battered langoustine in a creamy wasabi sauce and covered in deep fried green rice which were like rice crispies. Each mouthful was a combination of the langoustine, the crispy rice, the warming and soft fruity mango, crunchy carrot and fish sauce that the crustacean was sat upon. Tiny wasabi marshmallows at the sides of the plate were just as fun as they sound, delicate and with a little chew but retaining that wasabi flavour that hits your sinuses. A perfect plate of food.
"Suckling pig - Sweet and Sour"
The main element of note was the centre piece of the fried suckling pig belly with a side of the most delicate pineapple I've ever experienced, it was dotted with pineapple jelly which enhanced the flavour and cutting into it was exactly like the sensation of a hot knife into butter and inside it was filled with tiny cubes of tomato. The sweet and sour gravy was gently spiced with the same warming sensation as previous courses and everything was finished with a tiny pork scratching which was curled like a pigs tail. 
"Manny's Beef with Watermelon and Coriander". Served as two courses simultaneously.
a) The first dish consisted of dry aged beef shoulder, served in the beefiest beef tea which was flavoured with a hint of coriander. Tiny squares of watermelon were presented to the sides of the dish, decorated with tiny soy sprouts and a dash of coconut-coriander cream. Another perfectly cooked piece of meat here, the meat was so incredibly tender I could almost have gone at it with a spoon rather than a knife. 
b) The second element was made up of a wafer thin slice of cured tongue, rolled and stuffed with steak tartare, and the rest of  the dish contained flavours of watermelon, green thai vinaigrette and leek.
"Peking Duck - Tim Raue Interpretation" was offered as an extra course (and certainly made a difference from the usual cheese thrown in) and given the standard of the food on offer to this stage I couldn't resist.

a) "Breast, Five-Spice-Waffle, Apple and Leek, Jus of Duck Feet"
The waffle was extremely soft which was initially a bit confusing as I'd expected it to have a bit of give. The duck breast was fantastic, with a fine perfectly cooked crispy skin and the whole dish came served in a thick jus which was appropriately rich to sit with the very slightly sweet waffle.
b) "Brew, Tongue-Heart-Stomach, Winter Melon, Bamboo Mushroom"
There were some slightly dubious looking pieces of duck floating in the brew (which given the description shouldn't have been a surprise) but I got stuck in all the same. Given the combination of duck tongue, heart and stomach that were in the consomme brew it came as no surprise that the flavour was incredibly rich but didn't overpower the entire dish or make it too heavy. Another dish with the warming flavours that appeared throughout this menu. 
c) "Duck Liver Terrine, Pickled Cucumber, Ginger-Leek-Cream"
The duck terrine came covered with a thin layer of tender duck leg meat and three dollops of foie gras cream. The other elements dotted around the plate included Chinese barbecue sauce and leek and ginger puree to the right. Another rich dish to round off this extra course, this was balanced perfectly by the slice of pickled cucumber which was a fresh light companion to the dense terrine. 
"Apricot with Passion Fruit and Dulcey Chocolate"
Two spoonfuls of apricot sorbet, which were dotted with passion fruit. The chocolate had a really unusual consistency, it was hard but not entirely crispy and held it's shape well so some magic had clearly been going on in the kitchen. The chocolate itself "Valrhona Dulcey" which is a 'world first' blond chocolate. The crisp biscuits sat on top added some crunch to the dish which was fantastic for a dessert. I've  mentioned before I don't go crazy for sweets and this was sufficiently toned down for me, loved it. 
The final selection of desserts that appeared just before coffee were very finely sliced perfectly ripe mango sprinkled with violet salt, a bite size mango sorbet lolly with a violet chocolate outer later and a box of
violet infused truffle style chocolates which melted in the mouth and were incredibly moreish. Suffice to say none of this lived to see another day.

In all, the meal took 2.5 hours for 7 "courses" (which to be fair consisted of several smaller dishes at various stages) plus snacks at either end. Pacing throughout was perfect, the meal built slowly with the snacks and smaller / lighter early dishes through the meatier main courses and wrapping up with fabulous desserts. The service was faultless throughout, as I mentioned earlier the smart casual (horrible term I know) dress for the serving staff gave a really laid back atmosphere, with tables sufficiently spaced that you couldn't overhear nearby conversations but there was a definite bubbly vibe which made for a great overall experience definitely worthy of the 2 stars they hold. 

The evening ended on a comedy high as I held the door for a couple to allow them to leave ahead of me (I have good manners, shocking I know). The woman was out of her mind drunk and turned to thank me for a fantastic meal, swayed down the alley ahead of me and then got her heel stuck in something in the pavement and absolutely decked it head first in a heap. I did quickly check if she was OK but her partner replied with something along the lines of "Don't worry, she always gets like this". Unbelievable scenes.

The Parlour - Chorlton

For those that don’t live there, Chorlton seems to really rub people (especially those that are particularly vocal on the internet) up the wrong way for whatever petty reason. Long before I first visited I’d long formed the impression it was some sort of trendy vegan hippy commune albeit a very expensive one to live in when in but it’s actually pretty a really pleasant leafy suburb to while away an afternoon.

I’ve still yet to explore properly but in the brief time I’ve spent down there I’ve been surrounded by pretty normal humans and been really impressed with the range of food and drink options (ie the important stuff) on offer. I’ve been in The Beagle for a banging pint from their impressive range, I’ve been drunk as a lord on cheap cocktails in The Font, I’ve scoffed some stunning street food from The Hungry Gecko van in the garden of the Beech Inn (whilst it was still there), and now I’ve had a fantastic pub lunch in the wonderful Parlour.
I remembered the name of The Parlour from winning the best Sunday lunch in the country in the Observer food awards a few years ago. Friends based in Chorlton had also recommended that the food was definitely worth trying so when I had visitors for the weekend I suggested we escape the city and give the place a try for lunch.

The lunch menu on this particular visit was made up of three types of sandwich, a couple of salads, platters (vegetarian, meat or seafood), a handmade burger and then the special of the day which was beer battered fish and chips.

"Seafood Parlour Platter"
There were a lot of elements to this one – a traditional little glass of prawn cocktail served on a bed of fresh salad leaves, the crab cakes were served slightly warm and were crunchy and with plenty of meat, the trout pate was ideal for spreading over the side of bread that was served alongside the board. A small handful of pickled cockles were sprinkled to one side of the board and I got stuck into these along with the oak smoked salmon. I really enjoyed this as a main; the individual flavours complemented each other without any overpowering of the others. I’m sadly still not over my absolute hatred of food being served on boards like this mind.

"Fish and Chips"
This was text book fish and chips for me – crispy beer batter, not one but two giant pieces of tender fish all dished up on a bed of freshly made tartar sauce (which was deliciously heavy on the capers), a generous portion of chips and a side of mushy peas with a hint of mint.
"Handmade Beef Burger"
It’s commonplace now when a burger is dished up to expect a perfect looking production line patty and bun and whilst this hand formed patty was way off the mark looks wise, the all-important flavours and quality of the meat more than made up for it. It came served with a pile of excellent red-hot chunky chips, a couple of giant beer battered onion rings which had a properly satisfying crunch to them and some token salad leaves (which added little other than some colour to the plate) Extra marks granted for allowing it to be ordered rare and arriving perfectly pink in the centre. As we all know by now adding a slice of pickled gherkin to a burger is a match made in heaven and chopping them with capers here through the mayo sauce worked an absolute treat.
"Coronation Salad"
The salad had some serious work to do to compete with the other food that was rapidly filling the table. It consisted of really well cooked chicken delivered on a bed of salad leaves and then sprinkled with toasted cashews and croutons to add some crunch to proceedings. The fruity coronation sauce had been lightly applied to the greenery to give it a flavour throughout and with plenty of spare served on the side to dig the chicken into.
There was a reasonable wait for food (just over 20 mins) but we were caught up in the lunch rush and for the freshness on display it was obviously being cooked to order, it felt like there was real care and attention involved in this food. The positive about the wait is there is a decent bar which had a range of ales, beers, ciders and plenty of spirits. We were all impressed with our individual courses and I had a massive dose of food envy in that I only got to taste the other three dishes and not enjoy them in full myself so will definitely be heading back next time I'm in Chorlton to enjoy some more of the menu. I really must try that infamous Sunday lunch too.
The Parlour on Urbanspoon

Byron Burger - Manchester

I hadn't been to a branch of Byron for several years but was off down to a First Chop brewery social and found myself on that side of town in a dire situation (Fire and Salt BBQ had just announced they were cancelling serving food down there last minute);  therefore in a desperate panic for some fatty carbs before drinking any beer. So, would Byron save the day?  
It was a lovely summers day and they were making the best possible use of the huge space they have with the outdoor tables on John Dalton Street well filled. The huge doors on the side of the restaurant were wide open which resulted in a lovely breeze within the restaurant, it was a really genuinely pleasant spot to sit off at.

330ml cans of beer for just under a fiver always feel like a bit of a piss take, I know it's only a little shy of the 375ml in a bottle but cans just feel so cheap. I got stuck into the Byron Pale, which is brewed by the Camden Town Brewery and was perfectly serviceable but nothing particularly special - it really reminded me of a slightly watered down very of the Camden Town Pale.

Burger wise this time I tried the Classic Byron which features the Byron meat patty with cured bacon, a slice of mature cheddar and the usual garnish (lettuce, tomato, red onion) and sauces. A well balanced burger that wasn't so overloaded that it didn't hold together under eating pressure but that still felt like substantial. On this evidence for a chain they're doing things right and sticking to their principles of doing 'proper burgers' well.

One thing that I was surprised about was that they wouldn't cook my burger rare; medium or well done being the only options. I just had a look at the website and there's a message stating "We believe hamburgers taste best when cooked medium, but have also been happy to cook them however our customers want upon request. However, following the intervention of one local authority, we’re now going to have to say ‘no’ to the small number of you who want your hamburger rare." A real shame, a rare burger for me is a thing of beauty whilst I appreciate there are risks involved (however minimal) I just prefer the taste of a blue burger - perhaps this is something i'll just have to get used to when not in control of my own meat.
The Special at the time of visiting was the Miami Slice and was made up of the standard Byron burger, covered with a handful of crispy potato fries, what tasted like the standard Byron American cheese and hot sauce that was apparently created by a thin layer of melted Nduja tucked away that gave the whole burger an oily but not unpleasant finish. The bun was a sourdough bun but was very floury, more like a bun from a traditional british bakery than a typical burger restaurant. The contents of the burger was very good, I really enjoyed the kick of heat and the fine crisps on top gave an aditional crunch that would've been missing without the standard Byron bun. It was served with a small portion of pork scratchings, i'm used to the cheap ones in the pub and these were a more delicate version of those - pleased to report no hairs in sight either. Overall, a take on a burger that was new to me and that I enjoyed very much.
Courgette fries were a mistake - long slices of courgette that I presume must be dried before deep frying but that still just tasted really watery. The batter was crispy but pretty bland and when they were dunked in sauce to add flavour bits of the batter started coming away just causing a right mess. Some vegetables are just not made to be deep fried and watery courgette is certainly near the top of that list for me.

The classic Byron was a very solid 8/10 burger and the "burger of the month" was a tonne of fun. Quick shout out to the serving staff who were all extremely up-beat considering it was a busy Saturday lunch time, the service was fast and efficient. I feel like i've slightly overlooked Byron and will be keeping an eye more closely on their specials in the future. I do think that at just under £40 for two burgers, two beers and a side of courgette fries it was a shade more expensive than Almost Famous so they'd still be my preference but the standard of the food and imagination in the special can't be disputed. 
Byron Burgers on Urbanspoon