Posh burgers rule
Fancy prime beef with nice buns? Tom Hardy? Not this time, but, a damn fine burger from GBK
Gourmet Burger Kitchen – or GBK to the cool kids (OK so it’s on the sign) – is in the new town centre at The Lexicon Bracknell. Following the shopping centre’s recent launch there was a collective clicking of heels, corks were popping and Bracknell was covered in good-time glitter. Yes, GBK is a chain, but the queue outside the restaurant on day 3 of opening was long… very very long and all those people can’t be wrong. So I thought I’d better stick the Muddy snout in the trough and see what all the fuss was about.
It’s a bit NYC cocktail bar meets London diner. Not pretentious, definitely friendly and welcoming to kids. The decor is urban with the obligatory wall of metro tiles, industrial and brass lighting with funky but not-in-your -ace geometric touches. I loved the ‘Loo’ neon and cheesy humour – Scrabble letter jokes on the wall is something I might even attempt at home. It’s definitely tasteful, but it’s not trying too hard to impress, and I like that. The space is a good size and as you would hope on a Saturday lunchtime, is was buzzy and full.
No waiter service here. Once you’ve been seated and chosen from the menu, you order at the counter. This canteen style isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it didn’t bother me getting off my bottom. I’ll clock in the few calories burned for damage limitation.
It says what it does on the sign – the Gourmet Burger Kitchen is all about the burger. No dirty burgers here, 100% British prime beef only using selected cuts from grass-reared cattle. The menu is extensive and literally every tastebud is tickled. Lots of different cheese, mayo, chilli and relish options. The Kiwiburger is certainly out there, topped with beetroot, fried egg and pineapple. Jury’s out, but it’s been on the menu since 2001, so it’s hitting the spot for someone. Chicken, lamb and buffalo also feature and an impressive number of veggie dishes for somewhere that it is party for carnivores. Bean burgers, falafels, mushroom and a vegan burger,by Mudy all loaded with flavour. So not a lame after thought by any stretch.
After you’ve ordered at the counter, grab yourself a handful of nuts (pfnar) and wait for the goods to arrive. I plumped for the Mr Lava Lava bundle (winner of the in-house chef competition) – pimped up prime with a hint of Shaggy, right up my street. Yes it’s cheesy but at least I’m in the right place (sorry).
For a bargainous £14.95, I got a 6oz jerk rubbed burger with smoked applewood cheese, mango slaw, jalapeño relish with super skinny fries and a Red Stripe beer. How good is that?! Now I’m no super skinny fry myself, but the manager warned me I would struggle to eat it all. I didn’t. He also said I might find it hotter than hell. It wasn’t. He must have mistaken me for the delicate flower that you I know I’m not.
The burger was served medium, just how I like it, and although I am not the biggest advocate of fruit in savoury, the mango brought something to the party. It was pretty messy to eat, but sheesh it was heaven. The first one that came out was a bit cold, but the manager was very apologetic and swiftly produced a fresh one. Considering they’d only been open for three days and they were monumentally busy, I think we can cut them some slack.
Predictably, there was no room for pud. I topped up the caffeine levels before round 2 of shopping. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, the menu is limited to ice cream. A lush selection of flavours like salted caramel at a very reasonable £1.95 for 2 scoops.
The drinks menu isn’t extensive but it covers the basics well – wine, cider, beer with some craft IPAs on offer too. The soft drinks had nice alternatives to standard offering with elderflower, rhubarb and vanilla and ginger and lemongrass on the menu. But for the mother of all blowouts, you’ve got to try the milkshakes.
OUT & ABOUT
Good for: Locals, families, relaxed groups of friends, pre-cinema dinner. Veggies and kids both well catered for.
Not for: Fine diners who love a starched table cloth and helicopter service. Long leisurely meals. You’re not rushed at all, but judging by the queue to get in, you would probably want to make way for the next party eager to stuff their faces.
££: Really good value. A classic GBK Burger is £5.45, the Buffalo burger if the most expensive at £11.35. Side starts at £1.55 for a simple green salad. If you’re pushing the boat out truffle and cheese fries will set you back £4.15. Download the GBK app and you can access even more rewards and offers.