VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 7.5/10
Note; No pork or alcohol is served on the premises. This establishment has a Halal Europe Certification presented on arrival.
After Ramadhan, we had a craving for burgers – this time Built Burgers was lined up. Upon arrival, we were coincidentally told it was the soft launch of their new menu – the introduction of starters and a new range of pre-made burgers. In addition, we were well looked after by the staff who explained the additions along with their burger concepts of ‘built by me’ and ‘built for me’.i.e. – either build your own burger or choose a burger suggested by the house.
After a quick scan of the menu, Mrs. Plug and I decided to take advantage of being the first customers to try their new starters, and once we had chosen what our bellies desired we lined up to order food.
Built burgers is effectively a cross between Subway and Nando’s, in the sense that you take your seats and when ready to order you go up (Nando’s). You order the basics of your burger but then move along the way telling the staff what toppings you would like (Subway). Finally, you grab your cutlery, sauces, drinks etc., take a seat, and wait for your order to be delivered to your table (Nando’s again).
For starters, we went for 4 wings – hot chili. It’s kind of standard expectation in a burger joint to have the options of Buffalo, BBQ etc. We were pretty impressed with the ‘Built’ version. The wings were crispy like a KFC wing, but then had been dipped in a hot chili sauce which was both tangy and spicy. Overall, it was tasty and a so was a ‘no regrets’ decision. We also wanted to sample the chicken burger without committing to it for a main course – hence the mini chicken burger provided the perfect solution. The chicken was extremely soft and juicy giving pleasure with every bite. I must admit it was a little small for my liking, but it feels kind of counter-intuitive to complain about how small a ‘mini burger’ was given the solution would be to…order a bigger burger. Anyway, although the above holds true so far, there was a sweetness about the burger, like a kind of wierd-ish oriental/soy sauce taste which wasn’t really up my street, but Mrs. Plug seemed to enjoy it (shock horror – anything remotely Chinese is tasty).
Onto the burgers, it comes in stages, so here goes:
Step 1: Choose protein and bun – beef, chicken, turkey or veggie – beef was the natural option for both of us.
Step 2: Choose cheese – Cheddar, Swiss, Pepper Jack, American or Blue – I went for American, Mrs Plug as usual went for blue. Both of us were happy with our choices.
Step 3: Toppings & Sauces – Various topping choices from salad to bacon – I didn’t go too crazy, bacon, lettuce in the burger and coleslaw on the side. I foresaw the potential mess and difficulty in eating if I went with any more than that. Sauces were elaborate from chipotle to teriyaki – but again since this was a cheat meal, I wasn’t about to risk any regrets, hence ketchup, mayo and built sauce. Mrs Plug went for a similar combo.
Step 4: Sides – Not gonna lie, sides are generally what the word suggests – a side dish – However, the sides here were exceptional and unique. The choices included fries and sweet potato fries (this isn’t the unique bit). But you could also also choose tots (like a mini hash brown – really nice), sweet Siracha fries/ tots or garlic aioli – again as fries or tots. Between us we ordered tots, one of each – Siracha and garlic aioli. They were both exceptional – the closest thing I can use to describe them is like the hash browns you get from Burger King when ordering breakfast. If I had to choose though, garlic is the only choice I’d consider going forward – again Siracha being sweet, is just not for me.
Step 5: Drinks – we opted for a simple bottomless coke but following a conversation with management – we were given a small taste of what their milkshakes are like. Now, there are a lot of places who do burgers and shakes, place big emphasis on the variety of milkshakes with diff chocolate bars like a dessert or shisha place. Built have kept this part extremely simple – 2 options, chocolate or strawberry – both of which were delicious. Again looking for comparisons, it gave me the feeling of having a Mcd’s milkshake as a kid before stuff got all fancy, and it was really refreshing to just have a smooth, ice cold milkshake without it turning into a dessert at the same time.
Finally, looking at the actual reason for the visit: my burger was impressive to be honest, and I’m not just saying it because I ‘built’ it myself. The brioche bun was soft, but not so much that my burger fell apart. The patty was cooked medium, had a good flavour and was juicy. As we know, burgers are 10 a penny these days and all these places are pretty much alike. However, sometimes you walk into a place and everything is fine but nothing is amazing. When a place is able to surprise and delight you it really makes you leave with a good feeling, in a way which is memorable. Basically, that’s what Built burgers did, in fact, I’m actually craving it as I write this because I want to get on them tots again! Furthermore, the burger didn’t feel too dirty and I didn’t feel like a slob eating it. Feeling content is the best way to leave the restaurant as I leave with good memories; if at a loose end one day, I’d defo return for the burger and tots in a laid back, casual atmosphere which won’t break the bank.