The Beagle, Barlow Moor Road, Manchester

Very serviceable Mancs Deliveroo burger, with decent skin on chips and craft beer

Burger source

The Beagle seems to be one of that new breed of gastropub; handmade burgers, an excellent craft beer selection, burritos and more.

The menu is relatively low fuss; no indication of the heritage of the burgers or any such stuff; no hand-fed cows on the salt-marshes of Northern Ireland or anything. Picking the order off Deliveroo, you’d be hard pressed (but for the booze selection, and the absence of kebabs) to identify the difference between this place and a kebab shop that also did burgers.

But the ratings were high (90%+) and I thought it’d be nice to have a Northern burger whilst visiting Manchester, so I did. Looking up the website of the pub, it’s clearly the kind of craft burger/beer hipster hangout I love, so next time – who knows – maybe I’ll make it in. But this time I was housebound with the kids, so ’twas not to be.

The order

I went relatively simple – the Maple Bacon Burger, a 6oz patty, chipotle mayo, crispy streaky maple cured bacon, and cheese, on a brioche bun. With salad and skin-on chips.

I had them deliver a craft beer too – a High Wire Grapefruit (Grapefruit Pale Ale is apparently a thing).

The meat of it

The stack is messy; a huge slice of tomato and salad coated in copious chipotle mayo, bacon and burger both spilling out of the side of the apparently undersized brioche, and the burger blackened and flattened to the point I imagined I might need to skip the review – so mediocre was it likely to be.

But looks can be deceiving. Whilst the stack was indeed messy, delivery may account for some of the sliding, and the cross section reveals a coarse ground patty that has decent amount of pink visible. The bacon cuts with an audible snap when I prepped for the cross section shot, which adds drama and excitement – bacon was made to be fried crisp, IMHO.

On first taste, I’m confused. There’s salt from the extremely melty cheese and the bacon, adding to the bite of the burger (simple salt/pepper seasoning on that, and not too much of it). The sweet hint in the bacon couples with the sweet salad and sweet brioche and is countered by the mild but obvious heat from the – very flavourful – chipotle mayo. Of which there is slightly too much, but which adds more than it detracts.

The bun starts to fall apart in my hands as I eat; though the burger lacks real juiciness, the mayonnaise and salad is taking its toll on even the egg-and-sugar enriched bun. The combination is certainly more than the sum of its parts, though; a good bite to the meat, a crisp, salty, gooey texture from the cheese and bacon, the sweetness from the bun and salad and the texture and heat added by the mayo gel extremely effectively, even after being in a takeaway box for 10 minutes. The pros outweigh the cons (slightly overdone, dry meat, slight under seasoning, messy stack, inadequate bun), and the overall experience was very satisfying.

The fries; held up very well. Medium-cut, skin on chips, these taste of real potato, are crisp without being greasy, and are well-seasoned without being salty. Even without ketchup they are enjoyable, which is a good sign.

The beer; I will not attempt to review too comprehensively. My taste in beer is unusual; I favour sweeter drinks with a hint of beeriness and prior to the current craft beer renaissance we seem to be going through, I’d only ever order a beer if there was Hoegarden on tap. This beer is the lovechild of a fairly standard craft IPA (think: Beavertown Neck Oil) and a can of Lilt. It’s not overtly sugary but the hint of sweetness cuts back the bitterness of the IPA to leave a very smooth overall experience. The Grapefruit flavour isn’t overly chemical. I’d have it again, but I suspect most real beer lovers wouldn’t.

Monkey finger rating

Bun – 3.5/5

Build – 3/5

Burger – 3.5/5

Taste – 4/5

Sides – 4/5

Value – 4/5 – £10 for burger and side, plus £5 for the beer (!!) with 10% off the lot.

Burger rating – 4/5 – really a very good experience overall

The deets

You can find the Beagle on Deliveroo, or at 458 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester, M20 0BQ. The pub’s website is here.

Tommi’s burger joint, Battersea – Deliveroo review

An impressive burger, given it was delivered. But what is with that (lack of) sauce? And HOW much, you say?

Burger source:

An Icelandic import, the Eponymous Tommi has a 30+ year history of burger restauranting, and has clearly been a success, expanding across Europe in that time. Due to open his third restaurant in London, it is clearly doing well on these shores as well. Little is said about his culinary ambitions for the burger itself, but it is clearly high quality meat. The rest is shrouded in mystery – at least, until I actually go to a restaurant and ask someone about it.

The reason we discovered Tommi’s Burger Joint is simple: having used Deliveroo a couple of times, I got hit with an e-marketing email from them promoting the new Deliveroo only restaurant in Battersea – in range of our office in Victoria on a chance Thursday. And so Friday lunch was booked in. Unlike previous reviews, therefore, this one wasn’t enjoyed with my usual Burger crew, but rather in the company of my sporadic co-blogger, Richard.

The order

We knew little of Tommi’s. The menu is simplicity itself, variations on burger, with options of cheese and bacon.  So, inevitably, we all went for the (somewhat overstated) “Special Offer of the Century with Cheese and Bacon” weighing in at £13.90 apiece, inclusive of a healthy portion of fries and a drink.

The meat of it:

This is a well constructed burger; there’s absolutely no doubting that. Even without discounting for the fact it was delivered, the (wax-wrapped then boxed) packaging meant restaurant-style presentation in a takeaway parcel. A perfect stack.

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The bun seems an egg-washed roll, holding up well to the rest of the burger with brioche-like glisten but none of the sweetness. The cheese was well-melted over a perfect medium burger, the lettuce was crisp despite the bike transport to us from Battersea, and the coarse-ground beef was loosely packed, juicy and well seasoned. The bacon was good, if not evenly distributed, and perhaps slightly ungenerously proportioned for the size of the (6oz?) patty. So far, so (mostly) great.

The letdown – and it’s possible this was my own fault for ignoring the extensive ‘sauce’ menu that makes the otherwise simple Tommi’s menu complex – was that the small amount of tomato sauce/relish (it’s not ketchup, it is red, and it’s not sweet) didn’t provide the necessary contrast to the juicy, savoury combination of bacon, burger and cheese. The mustard was sharp and felt a bit lonely without a companion sweet sauce. The result is a burger without the delightful contrast most burgers have of sweet and savoury, and left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied.

The sides: the fries (and having to discount for delivery here) were excellent, surviving the travel well. They were still significantly crisp and were well seasoned and tasty, but obviously wouldn’t stand up to  comparison to any decent fries had in store. They are definitely fries and not chips, like someone had turbo-charged McDonald’s french fries, but again… should have ordered sauce. And if I’m being harsh, other than they travelled well, there really wasn’t anything noteworthy about them at all. The sweet potato fries didn’t travel as well, had oddly intermittent chilli spicing, and (as sweet potato fries sometimes do) somewhat lacked the crisp moreishness of the regular fries.

Monkey finger rating

Bun – 4/5
Build – 5/5
Burger – 4/5
Taste – 3.5/5
Sides – 3.5/5
Value – 3/5. £20 – £13.90 for the ‘offer of the century’ felt a lot, especially as the burger feels incomplete without sauce – a further pound.

Burger rating – 3.5/5 – I’d definitely have Tommi’s again, but the next time I Deliveroo, it’ll be for Dirty Burger.

Bonus delivery review

Deliveroo is a challenging proposition. A delivery service, with connections with its restaurants but limited ability to provide service guarantees that I can think of. I’ve had orders from them before arrive significantly late and all they can do is offer vouchers (which, full disclosure, we used to reduce the cost of the offer of the century to about £8 a head). This time around, the delivery arrived within 10 minutes of the forecast window and the service (calls to confirm the order had been collected from the restaurant, and a further call when the delivery driver arrived at our secure building so we could pop down to collect it) was excellent. If they have a restaurant whose food you want to sample in range, I’d recommend it; even if their drivers can’t always be punctual, their excellent service goes a long way to mitigating any bad feeling you have about it.

The deets

Restaurants are plentiful in Iceland, but in London you need the Kings Road or Mayfair branches if you’re not in range of the Battersea Park Deliveroo store.