Friday, 28 March 2014

Almost Famous Great Northern - Manchester

I absolutely love a good burger and having lived in London until last year I got fully caught up in the burger trend that was relentless over the past 3-4 years.

I cut my teeth on a Dead Hippie during the MeatEasy days above Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross and went on to enjoy a burger odyssey taking in more joints than I can even remember, among the highlights were Burger and Lobster, Patty and Bun, Lucky Chip, Meatliquor, Mother Flipper, Honest, Meatmission, Bleeker Street Burger, Admiral Codrington, Byron, Meatmarket, makes my arteries quake just seeing those listed out.

The good news up there is that Manchester has two fantastic burger restaurants in Solita and Almost Famous that sit comfortably alongside the company mentioned above. The even better news is that they are both doing their own thing - Solita has more of a mature feel to the food and surroundings and AF is just all about a cracking dirty burger with over the top sauces, grease and fat (in the best way). I've been to both several times now and thought it was time to get some words down about Almost Famous.

Good flavoured meat is essential and AF absolutely nail this - I have read that the meat itself comes from WH Frosts who supply a lot of the better restaurants in Manchester. I enjoy the fact that the meat has it's own distinct flavour, whether this is down to the cooking or mix to the meat it's exceptional in this regard.
Range wise they cover the classics well, the menu leads with their versions of a classic burger, a cheeseburger and onto the bacon cheeseburger before really letting loose with their personality and taking us into into cheeseburgers with chilli beef, triple tower burgers and burgers with a layer of rare steak as filling amongst others. Some of these go a little too far and verge on distracting from what is an excellent burger but I appreciate in these 'man vs food' times that people expect more and more excess from their burgers.

On this occasion we ate the following:

Butter and Bleu - Double cheeseburger with a layer of flat iron steak, there was supposed to be chorizo but this was minimal and then a ton of blue cheese sauce. I had a quick go on the sauce and it was cracking, nice and thick like proper cheese had been melted down not just watered down sauce.
Awesome Frickin Chicken - the fried chicken burger, didn't try this one but my friend was extremely complimentary.
Pulled Pork Roll - having had the burgers a few times I thought i'd try the pulled pork sandwich which was sufficiently stuffed with pulled pork with lashings of various sauces to keep it nice and juicy.
Crack Wings with suicide sauce - these were disappointing, not much meat on them and a weird mix of hot sauce but slightly cold wings. A couple of them were left behind which says a lot considering they are served in 6's.
Bacon Bacon Fries - my favourite side on the menu, great fries with bacon mayonnaise and bacon crumbles on top. Works an absolute treat.
Almost Famous re-opened late last year in this large new premises in the Great Northern complex after their last place burnt down. I know this is a massive step up in scale from the old place and my only real complaint I suspect is tied to this. On both visits to the GN restaurant the food was served slightly cold, as if it'd been sat under the pass a couple of minutes too long. As it all tends to get demolished pretty quickly this wasn't a huge issue but having the burgers served up piping hot would've been the icing on the cake and I suspect this is just down to a learning curve of a much larger kitchen and extremely successful and busy restaurant.

The only other thing to mention is the mix of art is bizarre, the constant references to 'winning' and a 30 second internet meme over three years ago is a truly bizarre design choice and results in the decor feeling very dated despite being brand new. I know this is a nod to the original AF but surely a new building would've given them the chance to breakaway from such a shit and tired theme.

Aside from that it was a spot on lunch, the service was polite and efficient we were seated very quickly and sufficiently away from other tables to have a bit of space to ourselves. Despite the minor point above and the wings the food was all good and great value for money - burger, sides and drinks were approx £15 each. Definitely recommended.

  Almost Famous on Urbanspoon

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