Poor toilet decoration choices.
No reservations on a Saturday night.
There is only one of the above points which tipped the scales for a visit last Saturday night. When a last minute date night calls and you haven't made a reservation you fall upon desperate times.
Okay, that is admittedly a bit harsh. I had wanted to visit Almost Famous when it was a solely Mancunian establishment, when it made it's way over to Leeds it got a less than warm welcome (no idea what I'm talking about? See here and here and here)
Curiosity killed the cat? This cat is still alive, curiosity fulfilled, expectations - not.
We walked in around 7.30pm on a Saturday night, there were stanchions set up and a bouncer on the door. There was no one queuing outside and I was baffled as to why a burger joint would need a bouncer (then again the fancy dress shop in the city centre had bouncers around Halloween...). We found a sign that directed us to loiter around in a particular area to be served. Ignored by the waitress on table seating duty whilst she talked to another waitress who was bumping in to customers we proudly remained true to our British roots and waited patiently to be acknowledged.
Without sounding like an old fart, the music was REALLY loud and there was a bustling bar behind us, I could barely hear what the girl behind the desk said to us. We stood awkwardly for a while until a girl with short shorts directed us to follow her upstairs... not as seedy as it sounds.
We were taken to a slightly plat-formed area of the joint that over looked the busier part. Looking around I couldn't help think that we had been placed here on purpose because we were probably the oldest in there. We are 27/28. I don't class that as old. The mean age however was about 19 years. That made me feel old. Also I wasn't wearing trainers, dungarees, a crop top, a massive cardigan... Wait. Was this a time portal to the early 90s?
It was explained to us that we needed to order food and drinks at the bar using the number on the table. I'm sorry, did I just step in to Wetherspoons by accident?
We were also handed menus told there were drinks and burgers, no desserts but an alcoholic milkshake if we wanted that for dessert. We were left confused when we turned over the menu to find desserts... mainly ice cream based, just like the milkshakes...
There wasn't much choice on the menu, half the menu was drink and half burgers (or was it a third if the desserts really were on?) with side options consisting of a variety of topped chips, chicken wings and coleslaw.
Everything is punchily named. Crack wings, winning (chips), bitch juice, animal animal, shut up America, suicide... and more. It's all very in your face. It's all very fashionable. If you've got great food, it's all very unnecessary.
There are no starters (unless you went for a side as a starter, i.e wings) so we didn't order any.
Recalling the busy bar and no table service I ordered a couple of beers to see me through. D spent a good 10 minutes at the bar behind teenage girls ordering cocktails whilst I exhausted social networking on my phone.
Sierra Nevada is a new favourite of mine. An all rounder pale ale.
D went for a pint of Brooklyn.
In the end we both ordered the quirky named Johnny Mac [burger].
In a brioche bun you'll find applewood smoked cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions, Doritos, million island dressing, chipotle ketchup, a couple of beef patties all topped with a deep fried ball of Mac and cheese.
Honestly, I couldn't differentiate the cheese from any other burger cheese I've had. The beef patty was just pink, not quite pink enough. The onions and Doritos slopped out all over the place. The bacon was Americanised. The deep fried Mac and cheese didn't taste cheesy.
It was average.
chips fries come part potato part sweet potato, the menu made it sound like an even split when it was perhaps 80:20. I liked the idea nevertheless.
D ordered some for 50p more that came with a small pot of Marmite sauce (read Marmite in oil).
We finished our burger and grazed on our chips, chip in mouth as a waitress approached asking if we had done. We're we been shifted? They certainly needed bums on seats as there were a few empties.
The total cost: £36
The conclusion: just another burger place. Nothing too special.
The summarising hashtag: #burgerbore
23-25 Great George Street
(where Escobar used to be)