VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 2.5/5
Note: I gave TruBurger a 3.5 for food and 4.5 for service on the Halal Dining Directory. However I felt I needed to re-rate TruBurger based on my most recent experience. All meat served is halal, no alcohol served on the premises.
There were 7 days to go until my departure from Birmingham. It was a Sunday, ShakerFries was helping me move out, and after a tiring day all we wanted to do was sink our teeth into a MAHUSIVE burger. ShakerFries hadn’t been to TRUburger yet, and since it was outstanding on his hit list, off we went.
I’ve been to TRUburger a fair few times since its been opened. They highlight the fact that everything on their menu is made fresh in-house and that they also try to use locally sourced produce where possible which I found quite appealing. Anyway, the last time I visited was during Ramadan when we had to book a table before hand. On that occasion they had a less extensive ‘Ramadan menu’. This time we were able to walk straight in and immediately got a table as it wasn’t busy at all. I was surprised to be handed a Ramadan menu once we were seated, which was scruffy, crumpled and torn ‘But it isn’t Ramadan?’ I exclaimed. ‘Oh we are changing the menu soon so this is the only menu we currently have’ was the reply. ShakerFries wasn’t thrilled with the selection so resorted to looking at their old full menu online. The waitress explained that he can still pick anything from the old menu so he ordered a New Yorker with sweet potato fries. I’m a bit ??? at this point at the fact he can still order from the old menu when they could have just given him the old menu but whatever, I guess. I opt for the Blue cheese burger (which inadvertently has become my ‘go to’ burger over time along with the philly cheese steak) with extra beef rashers, sweet potato fries, a Ferrero milkshake and their TRU sauce. We also opted for the sweet chilli wings as a starter, which was one of 3 available flavours.
The starters arrived within 10-15 minutes which wasn’t bad. The wings weren’t what I was expecting. They were deep fried then coated in a juicy sweet chilli sauce. I quite liked the crispness of the batter along with the juiciness of the sauce, but the batter itself lacked full flavour. The chicken was tender and the portion size was what you would expect for the price. ShakerFries wasn’t overly impressed as he wanted the spicy wings, so in future we would probably mix the portion with all three flavours (which I wasn’t aware that you could do prior to ordering…again, confusion regarding the menu).
The mains arrived soon after we finished the starters. If you know your burgers, the presentation at TRUburger along with the branding of the restaurant immediately makes you think of Shake Shack. The portion sizes of fries are generous and the burger size itself is average sized. I took a bite. The first thing I noticed was that the brioche bun was incredibly soft and fluffy which I loved. The burger itself was meaty, of a high quality and soft, but slightly overdone. For a gourmet burger I would expect the meat to be at least a little pink to preserve the tenderness and juice within the meat. When TruBurger first opened I seem to recall them asking how you would prefer your burger meat to be cooked. Anyway moving forward, the meat itself was quite bland and I was disappointed that I couldn’t really taste the blue cheese sauce, it tasted like it was filled with a much milder cheese like brie. To add to my disappointment they added a sweet BBQ sauce which further detracted from the taste of the cheese. Overall it just tasted like a standard extra meaty cheeseburger. I was really hoping that the beef rashers would be crispy, but I may need to let them off for that because I haven’t been anywhere (except Eggspectations) where the rashers had that crispness. Having tasted crispy bacon as a non Muslim I may need to let go of the hopes of ever tasting crispy rashers again!
On the upside the sweet potato fries were less of a disappointment. If you’ve ever tried to cook sweet potato fries yourself, you’ll know the struggle in trying to get them crispy. If there’s one thing TRUburger have mastered it’s how to get their generous portion of sweet potato fries to the right level of crispness. I thoroughly enjoyed them with my TRUsauce which appeared to be made from a combination of mustard, mayo and burger sauce. My milkshake was also rich and creamy, was just the right thickness, and contained small nutty chunks of Ferrero. I welcomed the coolness of it on that warm day and I liked the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet. Being fully aware of his onion intolerance, I wasn’t surprised when ShakerFries wasn’t impressed with his New Yorker which consisted of lettuce, mayo, cheese, onion rings, beef rashers and red onions. He ended up removing half the contents (as usual) before consuming the remaining fillings, which was essentially meat in a bun.
At the end, I reassured him that they were having an ‘off day’ and he agreed that if I had been so many times there must have been something good about it. The truth is (SA is not going to love this as she’s fond of TRUburger) I’ve always been left feeling a bit MEH after a meal at TRUburger. I guess the halal food market is now so saturated with gourmet burger restaurants that it’s really going to take an outstanding burger to blow me away. It’s true that the philly cheese steak and blue cheese options are a couple of the best options on the menu. But if we’re being real even the best is just decent. For the price (£6-£8) what you get is more than acceptable. If I’m being completely honest though, had I discovered SLAM burger down the road much sooner, it would have fast become my ‘go to’ for a great burger in the same price range. But hey that’s another day, another blog post.
Overall the service is quite good, food is of a high quality, it’s filling and you get what you pay for. They only except cash which was a tad bit annoying but I guess I’m just being picky as I found this particular experience underwhelming. There are loads of good concepts on the menu but I maintain the overall flavours of the burgers could be improved. I look forward to going back in the future to check out their ‘extended’ menu. Until then, when it comes to burgers, TRUburger is yet to win me over.
TruBurger 369 LADYPOOL ROAD, BIRMINGHAM, B12 8LF
Phone: 0121 449 2356 http://www.truburger.co.uk