Flaming good burgers
To Eton, for posh burgers, craft beers and thick oozy milkshakes at urban micro-chain, Flaming Cow.
It’s not often you find a restaurant that opens its first place in the Royal borough, then expands into London. But then Flaming Cow is not your typical eatery for these parts. You’re spoilt for choice for fine dining, chain restaurants and gastropubs, but a funky urban diner is rarer than a sighting of the Queen on Megham Markle’s hen do.
Flaming Cow Eton opened in 2014, in the shadow of Windsor Castle, on the opposite side of the Eton Footbridge, with its sister diner in Ealing West London joining the fold in 2016. The Eton diner is in the perfect spot, lots of Windsor visitors looking for a glimpse of the River Thames will simply follow the distinctive tailcoats of Eton College pupils – and, BAM!, look left and it’s a case of following the fine aroma to the Flaming Cow. The outside – a rather bland modern brick building – doesn’t do the interior justice. Head inside and all your Shoreditch style meat feast wishes will come true.
The King Cow graffiti – a big ol’ bull hanging off the Empire State Building, is one of the first things you notice, and lots of industrial details – cage lighting, metal chairs and leather benched, open stainless steel kitchen. It’s casual, relaxed and fun. Think a PG rated Meat Liquor and you’ll get the idea. The staff are really good and will help you navigate the huge amount of choice. There are 16 burgers on the menu, salads, rubs, wings, and that’s before you consider creating your own.
I took my my husband and youngest son for a Saturday lunch but must admit I had reservations (and I don’t mean my table for three) – the burger and beers sounded a bit blokey. However, I was relieved to find it wasn’t heaving with lurching rugby types (although there was a big match on the telly box that day), rather a smattering of other families and small groups punctuating sightseeing/shopping jaunts.
Make sure you come hungry, because portions are big. There are 16 burgers to choose from, a build your own option, 4 hot dog choices, 7 types of fries, then throw in freckles, onion rings and crunchy coleslaw. If that doesn’t float your boat, then there are ribs, steaks, fish tacos and a salad to get your teeth into. But who the hell wants a salad when everything smells so freaking good.
The Flaming Cow has a good selection of craft beers, so it would be rude not to try one. Brooklyn Lager was recommended, it smelt quite malty (is that a word?) but was surprising light and easy to drink. Mr Muddy is a sucker for a traditional milkshake, body swerved the traditional flavours of vanilla, strawberry or chocolate for pistachio. It arrived in a traditional stainless steel cup, thick, oozy and ice cold. If you fancy something more 18 rated, opt for a Hardshake. I’m particularly loving the sound of the Drunk Squirrel (pistachio ice cream, Frangelico and Baileys).
Mr Muddy chose the Dirty Cow (subliminal messages through food, perhaps?) and it was a mahoosive. It involved 2 x 6oz beef burgers (made from dry aged meat from grass fed cows), American cheese, house mayo, lettuce, onions and gherkins. My husband is not easily defeated by food, but even this challenged him.
I thought I was being sensible ordering barbecue ribs with skinny fries and coleslaw (trying to get one of my 5 a day in there). The ribs were epic. They had been slow roasted, so fell off the bone. There was a perhaps a little too much sauce for my taste but nothing I couldn’t mop up with a chip. My only real criticism was the size of the coleslaw. It was crunchy rather than creamy (just the way I like it) but the portion size was a bit dinky.
Despite the beers and boozy milkshakes, very much so. The friendly servers are attentive and patient with children, provide colouring sheets and food arrives quickly to avoid hangry meltdowns. The children’s menu is short but sweet, with simple cheeseburgers, hot dogs and chicken strips. My 4 year old scoffed his hot dog and fries in minutes, pausing only to give a synchronised thumbs-up, before moving on to ice cream. The Flaming Cow blissfully didn’t serve garnish with the kids meal. No point wasting greenery on those who won’t appreciate it – and this was neither the time or the place to be forcing broccoli or salad leaves down his neck.
OUT & ABOUT
It’d make a good pit-stop for just about anything you might to doing in Windsor and Eton – the river is right outside away, Eton College is a the other end of the high street. Head back over the bridge into Windsor and you’ll pass the Theatre Royal, there’s no escaping Windsor Castle sit you fancy seeing the Queen’s gaff and the Royal Shopping Arcade, a short walk up the hill, has lots of good high street brands.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: craft beer fans, a weekend family lunch, after-work drinks, pre-theatre/gig/ shopping sustenance, soaking up the booze mid pub crawl, teens hanging out with their mates or prepared to hang out with their parents.
Not for: Veggies who like choice – options are very limited. Refined ladies-who-lunch types – it’s not the place to daintily nibble a salad. Date night. Lunch with elderly parents. Pushchair or wheelchair users might struggle up the stairs to the restaurant door.
The damage: Reasonable for the city centre. Burgers start at £7.50; hot dogs £6; ribs, wings and steak start at £16; Kid’s menu: £6; milkshakes starts at £3.20, with ice cream priced at £1 a scoop.
Flaming Cow, 75 High St, Eton, Windsor SL4 6BT; 01753 863379; flamingcow.co.uk