Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Handmade Burger Co at Highcross Leicester

We've been quick to point out all the new burger joints that are opening up in Leicester. We've got Grillstock and Meatcure opening soon, we've had the pinnacle of burgery loveliness at Crafty St Martins, and we've had a reasonably authentic American experience at Bryon. But these are all relative newcomers to the Leicester burger scene. The pioneers, as I remember it, were the medium sized national chain, the Handmade Burger Company, who came to our fair city not long after the newly revamped Highcross Centre reopened.

Well, I only went and won myself a voucher for a free burger on their facebook page, so I decided I'd take the opportunity to see how they matched up against the young upstarts they were facing.

The restaurant is super smart, with clean lines and excellent lighting. I cannot stress enough how great the service is - I was greeted by the most friendly, welcoming and eager-to-please waitress in the world who showed me how the menu worked and let me know about their ordering process (you order at the bar, they don't take your order at the table). Everyone I came into contact with couldn't do enough for me to make sure I had everything that I needed, they were absolutely lovely, which was a great commendation on the whole team, especially as they had no idea I was going to write my visit up into a blog post.

So I had one burger to order, what's a girl to do? I had to go for the Macho burger with both chicken and beef - because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to tell you what both types of burgers were like. It took me a long time to decide, mind you, as with over 40 burgers on offer they have by far the largest selection available.

But I thought I'd stuff my little piggy face with all the good stuff - a beef patty, chicken breasts, mature cheddar, smokey bacon, BBQ relish and salad. I think it's fair to say that this burger was essentially as big as my head. The chicken was the highlight for me as it was well charred and that gave a smokey flavour to it, and I was treated to a huge amount of bacon, not just one measley rasher, and the bacon was quite thick as well so that was a positive.

Can barely hold it in one hand - and that's just half!
However, I cannot be 100% positive. I felt that the patty was overdone - it was well done and a little dry, and sadly the same can be said (but to a lesser extent) about the chicken and the bacon - they were all on the grill just a little too long. Don't get me wrong, the burger was OK and I enjoyed it, but I think we have been spoiled in the city now. They are proud of their fresh ingredients, so they could let them shine more - serve the beef patty medium and allow the flavour to come out. The bread could do with rethinking as well, it pretty much disintegrated as soon as I started to tackle the burger, so I barely even noticed it was there over my meat madness experience.

As I say, the burger was 'OK', which a few years ago would have been more than good enough. However I'm not sure it cuts the mustard any more. At £6.45 for a plain burger, right up to £12.25 for the biggest burgers, and then an additional £3.25 for chips (although from what I saw on other tables this is a great sized portion that would do for two or three of you), Handmade Burger Co is one of the more expensive burger joints in the city. They need to up their game if they're going to get back on top in the face of such stiff competition - however with such attentive and welcoming service they are already more than half way there.

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