Last week, to celebrate Lee’s birthday, we went on a surprise trip into town (surprise for Lee, not me, obviously, I organised it) to the Good Spirits Co, for a bourbon tasting evening. More on that another time. Beforehand though, we went to the brand new Burger Meats Bun, just round the road on West Regent Street, for what the kids are calling the best burgers in town.
Lee and I are big burger fans, in both senses of the phrase, so I was pretty excited to read about this place and also pretty excited to share it with Lee, as I knew he hadn’t heard about it. I was a bit worried about getting a table on a Friday evening but knew they didn’t take reservations for small parties, so took a chance and off we went.
As you can see, I needn’t have worried. We arrived after 6, and there was only one other table seated! We were shown to a small table at the back and given menus to peruse. I’d already studied the menu inside and out earlier in the week, of course.
The menu is sparse. That’s fine though, as these guys are clearly going with what they know is good and that they can do well – specialisation. I like that. There were no specials on when we were in, or at least not that anyone told us about.
Drinks are a bit more plentiful. On the expensive side, but more choice.
We made our choices, ordered and settled back to wait for our food with eager anticipation. The waitress came and plonked down a massive roll of kitchen paper on the table – I’d read about this online, so knew it was coming and what I needed it for, which is just as well as she didn’t offer any explanation. In fact, she didn’t offer much in the way of enthusiasm at all, unfortunately!
The interior has a slight canteen in the Industrial Zone of the Crystal Maze feel to it. I am sure it’s meant to be quirky and all, and I usually like that sort of thing, but I don’t think it gels together, personally. In a restaurant this new, it just feels like they haven’t quite finished decorating yet and the twee motto on the wall is more in keeping with a chintzy tea room than a spartan burger joint. I did love the handmade tables though, nice touch, as well as the industrial lighting.
The food arrived pretty quickly – I got the Smokin Bacon burger and Lee had the Fiery. We also had a side of slaw and a side of Thai Chili Cheese Fries. The burgers are presented in paper, takeaway style – no plates here! The buns are tasty, slightly chewy but crisp brioche buns – perfect for these juicy burgers.
When I say juicy, I mean JUICY. That kitchen roll really comes in handy to mop up the torrent of meatiness that will gush all over your hands and down your arms. The burgers themselves, slightly pink, are delicious.
The slaw was pretty underwhelming, to be honest. At £3 for that little pot, I felt pretty ripped off. I’d want those vegetables to be sliced by Jesus at that price, but I have it from a reliable source that he was out of town that day. The chili cheese fries were zingy and crisp, I hear.
Juicy and delicious. Oh, yeah.
Never ones to let a dessert opportunity pass by, we ordered one of each of the two desserts on the menu. The burger and shake was a neat idea, a milkshake that tasted like melted ice cream and a macaron “burger”. The doughnuts were a bit stodgy and needed the bitter chocolate dipping sauce to give them some flavour.
So, overall, a few low points. I’d read up about this place before we went, and read several reviews, and all of the things I read reiterated how this was a real passion project for the chef/owner and how enthusiastic they were about local produce, etc. This enthusiasm really needs to be urgently communicated to the waiting staff.
The girl who initially served us could not have been less interested in us if she’d tried. She didn’t tell us about the place, despite it being a mere week old, she didn’t direct us to any of the information about the idea behind BMB, nor did she make any recommendations or tell us about the specials (there may or may not have been specials on, but from the BMB Facebook page, they seem to regularly have these now). When she wasn’t serving us or the other table, she mooched around, eyeing us up and generally made us feel pretty uncomfortable. I’ve worked as a waitress, I know it’s hard to look busy when you’re waiting for customers and it’s a bit quiet. There’s a fine line between being attentive and handy if the diners need help and hovering like an annoying wasp at a picnic though and she was sadly on the wrong side of that line.
They actually seemed to be a bit over-staffed at the time we were there, so perhaps they’d been expecting to be a bit busier earlier in the evening too. It did start to pick up a bit as we left, though. I think the service itself was fine, in that our food arrived quickly and they were polite, but it was lacklustre and I’d expected more from such a destination dining place.
Anyway, aside from that, my other main gripe is price. It’s expensive, there’s no two ways about that. As a small business owner, I know that there are many hidden overheads to try and squeeze in to your price point and I appreciate that. I don’t have too many qualms with paying for a good quality burger – you get what you pay for when it comes to meat and I am fine with that. However, I personally feel that some items are overpriced and not in any way good value, ie the slaw.
The menu is limited and as I said earlier, that’s great as they are clearly specialising. But it does limit somewhat the chances of the casual diner returning. They’re going to need to up the specials and expand the menu a little to get repeat business. They’re not Five Guys, they don’t have the fast food vibe going, and neither are they on the beaten track, so they are going to need to pull people away from Glasgow’s main thoroughfares with something more than a £7.50 entry point for burgers. I worry about their longevity (so they don’t have to, I’m nice like that).
It was also hotter than Hades down in their wee basement! It is unfortunate that they’ve opened in heatwave conditions but dude, get a fan in. It was utterly sweltering, I could feel my make up sliding down my face as we ate. Attractive.
One thing that did get me thinking was the amount of wastage they must have on kitchen roll, if they give everyone a fresh roll. I checked with BMB though, and they said that they use the roll ends in the kitchen and in the staff room and then recycle the tubes. Good for them!
On the plus side – deliciousness. The burgers really were realllllly good (I still prefer Five Guys though, sorry). I preferred them to the burgers at Meat Market in London by a fairly large margin and was happy to pay a bit more for them. And deliciousness is what counts, right?
I’d return to Burger Meats Bun, but probably not in a great hurry. I really, really wanted to love this place but with the service and the heat at the moment, I’ll wait a bit before I go back. Let me know if you try it out!