fries

Being Bad At Five Guys

Cheating on someone is a horrible business. There’s this overwhelming guilt that keeps feelings cooped up inside- feelings of worthlessness and shame. How will I ever go back? 

Today I am forcing myself to be brave and put into words what I did. Here goes, please don’t judge. 

 I cheated on Bread Meats Bread… I cheated on local and I cheated on Glasgow as I knew it… I went to Five Guys for lunch. I’m sorry, really sorry. 

In my defence, we were going to go to Bread Meats Bread but the queue was long and we were pushed for time. Five Guys had been on my will-I-won’t-I radar for a while so we just did it. In my account of our visit I will be as objective as I can be & throw my guilt aside. 


  

We stepped in through the unfamiliar doors to a big menu on the wall and a counter to order at. There was no queue so we could order immediately after choosing. As you can see from the menu, you choose a basic burger type or hot dog then customise it. I asked for a cheeseburger with mayo, pickles, ketchup & onions. As much as I like vegetables, too much in a burger can make the whole experience fall apart. Fries – the only side they seem to do- completed my food order & I went for a refillable drink to wash it down. 
They gave us cups for the self serve so we helped ourselves. I like a cheeky cherry coke on occasion and this was one of those days. We then waited at the service area for our number to be called. It was nice to watch them making the burgers & quite atmospheric listening to the chefs shout back and forth. I guess it added to the American burger joint feel that I’d expected. 
  
There are three floors of seats and, as the ground floor was pretty full, we chose to go upstairs. This was the biggest mistake we made because it was VERY loud. I felt like I’d gone back to the school canteen. Between the noise of other diners (many under 20 years old & giddly on too much refillable coke) & the shouting from the kitchen downstairs, I developed a headache. A burger tends to be my hangover food but there’s no way I would choose somewhere so noisy the day after the night before so it gets crossed off that list. I went down to the basement to the toilet and it was somewhat quieter down there but I imagine with such a low roof it only takes a couple of tables of teenagers to turn rowdy. I’m only 31 so it makes me feel old writing about the noise but it just shows how loud it is – my mum would have walked straight back out. 
  

On to the burger and fries. The burger itself consisted of two thin patties and they were still juicy with lots of oozy cheese. The bun held together but didn’t have the sweetness that I prefer from a brioche. I still really enjoyed the burger and would give it 8/10. The fries were crispy outside and soft inside – a good effort indeed. One regular sized fries is enough for two people so don’t buy two or you’ll be left with lots or have to be rolled out of there. 

A couple more sides – maybe some onion rings for instance – would have added to the experience. 

  
I was disappointed to see that the fries are cooked in peanut oil considering how many people are allergic to nuts. There was no alternative to this on the board so I assume that there is none. They also give out free peanuts & they were placed in boxes with scoops around the place. If you’ve ever been on an aeroplane & it’s come over the tannoy that nuts are not being served due to another passenger with a serious allergy then surely you’ll see the flaw in Five Guys plan. Everyone loves a freebie and a novelty idea but when a reported 1 in every 100 people in the UK are allergic to peanuts* it seems nonsensical. 
  
So my visit really was full of peaks & troughs. The food was a high point but the noise and peanut thing was a real low point for me. It’s such a shame as the food was a solid effort. After speaking to a friend who thought the same thing maybe Five Guys need to look into creating a more comfortable atmosphere in the stark white building. 

I’ve been dithering about if I’d go back or not because of this & I guess it depends on availability of seats at the other nearby places on burger street. Maybe they have got their target market and I’m not it but students must have more money now than they used to if they’re to keep this place going. Parents might like the noise so they don’t feel self-conscious about their loud kids too. It falls more into the takeaway category for me but is a pricey takeaway at £13.25 for a cheeseburger, small fries & drink. 

*Source: http://patient.info/health/nut-allergy

Bread Meats Bread – More Than A Fleeting Trend

I attended the opening night of Bread Meats Bread in October and you can read about the night here https://girlaroundglasgow.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/i-meet-bread-meats-bread/

Glasgow is full of new burger places and the blogging world are lapping it up. I managed the whole of January without a single burger so in February I was ready for a Bread Meats Bread outing. I have been back several times since it opened and I’ve watched the inevitable changes that come with a new restaurant learning. They have just changed their menu to account for this and there is one change in particular that I love – bacon fries. They have also now got their alcohol licence so we have been sampling their house draft beer, Sam Adams and Blue Moon and they all got the thumbs up.

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I like that you don’t automatically get fries with the burgers because it makes the meal more of a sharing event. Every time I have been, regardless of who I’m with, we have shared sides. This time we ordered a main each then shared sweet potato fries, bacon chips and a classic poutine between four of us.

The new menu

The new menu

The new smokey burger was a hit with the table. It consists of a house blend burger with swiss cheese, purple slaw, bbq sauce and smoked meat of the day. They let you choose from a meat selection for meat of the day and at our table we had a salami, a pulled pork and a beef brisket. We were also asked how we wanted our burgers cooked and we all said pink. The burger patty was tasty and the toppings were well received.

Smokey burger with pulled pork £8

Smokey burger with pulled pork £8

I was the only one at the table not having a burger in favour of bbq pulled pork on a brioche roll with purple slaw and bbq sauce. It was a similar product to theirs but, after trying the pulled pork previously when it was a special, I wanted all the pork I could get. The in house smoking does wonders for this and it is pulled to order – so tasty. My only criticism is that I’d have liked a touch more bbq sauce. I really like the homemade coleslaw as well, none of this tasteless gloop that I’ve been served by other unnamed establishments.

BBQ pulled pork sandwich £6

BBQ pulled pork sandwich £6

The new and improved fries were fantastic. I have loved the sweet potato fries since they opened but I was told that they have tried and tested different methods and the new sweet potato chips are thinner and crispier. They still come with the spicy mayo that I enjoy thank goodness. Then there was the poutines – this is my second taste of the classic poutine here and its like a fancy chips, cheese and gravy really. I liked them the first time but the gravy was stronger this time making them more flavoursome. The cheese curds are almost lighter than normal cheese somehow. Now on to the star of the show that was the bacon chips. Not only was there bacon on the chips but there was also bacon mayo… bacon. mayo. I was tempted to nip in after work a few days ago for some of this wonderous invention but I stopped myself & forced my legs to run for the bus, cursing myself the whole way home.

Poutine £4, Bacon chips £3, Sweet potato chips £3

Poutine £4, Bacon chips £3, Sweet potato chips £3

I can also vouch for the classic grilled cheese with soup that I tried on a December visit. It’s like a cheese toastie but on a tastier scale and you can dip your cheese in the rich tomato soup for comfort food fulfillment.

Grilled cheese £3, £1 extra with soup

Grilled cheese £3, £1 extra with soup

They didn’t have any brownie when we were in (sob) and the photo I took last time is lost somewhere in my food photo vault but it looks like a brownie in a cup with vanilla ice-cream! The brownie is very gooey and soft. A fully cooked brownie is a gripe of mine that goes hand in hand with my dislike of macaroni arriving as another pasta shape, over-filled white wine glasses and cheddar cheese on pizza – all no-no’s in my book. It is a bold statement but Bread Meats Bread’s brownie is the best brownie that I have eaten in Glasgow.

Bread Meats Bread is casual eating at its best. You cannot book which can be bad but is also good because you don’t get turned away on busy nights. It provides me with comfort food and hasn’t let me down yet so I have great deal of affection for the place.

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Old School At Bier Halle

When I first moved to Glasgow I was 18 years old and claimed poverty as a student. Of course I realise now that this was not at all true and that spending all of my money on vodka & Topshop clothes instead of tasty, nutritional food was actually a choice (Super Noodles only cost 50p a pack back then-perfect). I didn’t often go out for food unless my parents were paying or if it was to the cheaper than cheap pub next to college. After I had been in Glasgow for a year or so, I started to branch out and find places that did a cheap deal, i.e. no more than £6 for food. There’s only one or two places that I would still eat in now that I went to back then – some have shut down, some have just gone a bit rank & some I’ve found better alternatives for. The Bier Halle in Gordon Street is one of those places that has proved a constant over the years. Most people my age seem to rave about their pizzas so I have it on good authority. My friend Phil & I used to go to the one upstairs on Sauchiehall Street next to the West Campbell Street car park before it shut down and after that we started going to the Gordon Street one.

 

The Bier Halle is down a flight of stairs just off Buchanan Street and is a busy little place seven days a week. It is a bar that you can go in to just for drinks but most people have a pizza or a hot dog. They do BOGOF handmade pizzas between noon and 10pm seven days a week. FYI – they don’t take debit/credit cards so pop over to the cash machine across the road before you go in. It is moody and atmospheric with low lighting and loud music. It does have a student-y feel about it but you also get a lot of 20 and 30 somethings coming in after work.

The pizza menu has quite a selection and some nice alternatives from your usual bar pizza choices.

 

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Mr S went for the meat Feast special, which had pepperoni, chicken & spicy merguez sausage on it. I usually have the chicken, mushroom and pesto one but this time I fancied the black pudding and chorizo special from the board. We also ordered a portion of stealth fries because we know from past experience that they are super tasty. The food arrived quickly and I have to say that it is generally very speedy at coming out of the open kitchen.

 

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My black pudding and chorizo pizza had a lovely crispy base and they certainly were not stingy with the toppings. Big chunks of black pudding and authentic tasting chorizo littered the cheesy base. If they ever changed the menu then I’d recommend that they put this on the main menu constantly.

 

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The Meat Feast pizza was also delicious and Mr S chooses it any time he sees it on the specials board.

The fries were crunchy and tasty but had too much salt on them and I would rather they left you to put your own salt on.

 

I got all excited when I saw Little Creatures Pale Ale as it is a personal favourite & we went to the brewery when we were in Australia. They also sell a mixture of flavours of super cheap schnapps that make me feel young again so I had a blackcurrant schnapps and lemonade. Mr S had a couple of different lagers from their extensive menu that lists beers by country.

 

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I wouldn’t normally say this, but in the interests of being honest, the service in here can be varied. In my experience there is not much smiling going on & it has always puzzled me because most servers live off their tips. It’s almost like it is in keeping with the cool vibe but I find it strange & I know that I am not the only one. It seems to have improved a bit in the last year & the waitress that served us during this visit was pleasant. The pizzas are too good not to go anyway.

 

The only difference with my visits to the Bier Halle now compared to my student days is that I don’t go to the Union afterwards. I normally go straight home and put my jammies on… more schnapps another day maybe.

 

 

 

 

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Meaty Mains At Meatbar

As I’ve said previously, the first time I visit a restaurant I am always full of hope – I want to enjoy it, have a new favourite and I’m willing them on to deliver the goods. On my second visit I am crossing my fingers that it wasn’t just a one-off and that I’m as happy as I was the last time that I left. I suppose it’s a bit like looking for a house though because the first viewing is all excitement and the second one is still excitement but also about practicality & checking other things.

With that said, last month Mr S & I returned to Meat Bar one rainy night after work because we had been hankering after the French Dip ever since. We snagged a booth again so we were off to a comfy start.

 

This time we also opted for starters as they all sounded as good as the main courses. We had the pit-smoked bourbon chicken wings with BBQ sauce and the crispy pig’s cheeks with piccalilli style veg. The chicken wings were – dare I say it – perfect chicken wings. They were meaty and tasty and the sauce had a lovely BBQ tang – definitely one that we would order again.

 

IMG_0698Wings £5

 

When I was choosing my starter I asked about the pig’s cheek and he described it to me as little cakes so I knew what to expect but I think the menu could do with some clarification on this. I thought the starter was nice but it just did not really do it for me. There wasn’t a lack of flavour or anything – I just was not crazy about the dish. I think I would have preferred the meat to take centre stage but the spices and piccalilli veg took over on the taste scale.

 

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Crispy Pigs Cheeks £5.50

 

This time for main course we sampled the classic beef grinder burger (£7 + £1 for cheese) and the french dip smokehouse sandwich (£9). The french dip sandwich was as it was the first time – tender brisket beef with those onions – just delicious. I like that the bone marrow gravy comes on the side so that I can add as much or as little as I want. The only downside was that last time I am sure that the bun was toasted but this time it didn’t appear to be and it did affect the taste slightly as the bun couldn’t quite hold its own. Next time I will just make sure I ask for it to be toasted because I’m not sure if it is meant to be or not. The house slaw was as refreshing as last time and I’m glad that they serve it with this.

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I completely agree with James VS Burger that the classic beef grinder burger is a tasty patty indeed. We both thought that it was full of flavour and the gooey cheese (add on £1) was delicious in it. Next time I think we’d go the whole hog (no pun intended) and add the pulled pork too for an add on at £2. Another menu item that I would be happy to recommend to people and will order again.

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We chose the same sides as last time – the triple cooked fries & the dry rub crispy onion rings. The fries were crunchy on the outside & soft on the inside – excellent. The onion rings were not as good as last time but still nice. They were more in bits this time but last time they were big rings so I felt there was more crunch and outside rub than there was onion.

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We were incredibly full again after our main courses so went without dessert. I had meant to try one of the meaty cocktails this time but decided against it on a school night.

 

 

So after our second visit we were full, happy and looking forward to our third. There were a few niggles – when isn’t there – but nothing even remotely big enough to put me off going again. One day I will try a meaty cocktail, one day.

 

 

 

 

My First time At Meat Bar can be seen here

https://girlaroundglasgow.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/meat-bar-all-about-the-french-dip/

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Meat Bar – All About The French Dip

Glasgow is having a meaty year of it, with many new openings being centred around burgers and meat in general. My twitter is full of buzz about Burger Meats Bun, Smoak food, James VS Burger and, most recently, the imminent opening of Bread Meats Bread. During all of the madness, Meat Bar popped up on West Regent Street ready to feed the masses yet more meat. With their chunky wood and leathery interior, I was hoping that the eating was going to be as serious as the decor.

 

Exterior

Exterior

 

 

First things first, I’d like to explain that we were having a birthday meat weekend for Mr S after healthy eating all month. I am a complete carnivore and had really missed red meat. With my hangover, it had to be somewhere very very meaty and I had been wanting to try Meat Bar for a while so we wandered into town to fill our bellies. It’s a casual place so we didn’t need to dress up and would be good for a catch-up with friends.

 

The starters on the menu all sounded appetising but I just wanted a big burger and nothing to delay that! The rest of the menu is broken down into sections – sliders, smoker, smokehouse sandwiches, steaks and grinder burgers. There is an ample selection of sides including fries, coleslaw, veg and mac n cheese.

 

Unable to decide, Mr S asked our waiter for advice. He recommended the french dip smokehouse sandwich, which Mr S had been looking at anyway so that was decided. I went for the grinder burger and was pleased to see that they serve their burgers pink so that the flavour isn’t cooked out of them.

 

My grinder burger started with a paprika dusted pork and beef patty then had chorizo & manchego on top and was finished with tomato compote and pickle. It was a thick, pink burger in a brioche bun (tick) and very nice indeed. I also really liked the coleslaw that came with it and I wish that more places would invest more time and energy into homemade coleslaw. It provides a welcome break from all of that meat so that I can tackle the rest of the burger revitalised.

 

Grinder Burger £8

Grinder Burger £8

 

 

The french dip sandwich was described on the menu as a homemade ciabatta containing brisket beef, swiss cheese, grilled onions, wholegrain mustard, horseradish & silky marrow bone gravy. To me it was just a big hug of meat in a bun that could banish even the worst of hangovers. We kind of shared food but I really just wanted all of that sandwich. The burger was nice but the sandwich was far superior – the meat was tender and all of the flavours meshed into a big tasty bite.

 

French Dip Smokehouse Sandwich £9

French Dip Smokehouse Sandwich £9

 

We shared two sides – triple cooked fries and crispy dry rub onion rings. The fries were crispy and of a high quality. But it was the onion rings that stole the sides show with their soft insides and crisp, flavoursome outsides. Not like those oversized, undercooked and soggy batter ones that I see too often.

 

Triple Cooked Fries £3

Triple Cooked Fries £3

Crispy Dry Rub Onion Rings £3

Crispy Dry Rub Onion Rings £3

 

I ran out of wind and could not even finish my burger so there was no chance of dessert. Even if we did go for dessert, two out of the three offerings contained nuts and Mr S is allergic to nuts so he would have been left with little choice unfortunately. Going with the whole American style theme, I would love to see a sundae on the menu. Nothing too crazy but a salted caramel brownie concoction would bring a big smile to my face.

 

I can’t comment on the drinks because we went for coke but the meat cocktails sound interesting (yes, cocktails flavoured with meat) and I’m sure that next time won’t be such a sober affair.

 

 

 

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