Review of Byron Burgers Flaming Iceberg
What they say:
This January, we’re bringing you a burger to warm you through the winter months – our new special, Flaming Iceberg. It gets its kick from our brand new Byron Hot Sauce, a red hot blend of four different chillies made to a recipe by our Head Chef, Fred (keep an eye out for a bottle on your table). Throw in some dry cure bacon, crispy fried onions, jalapeños, shredded iceberg and ranch dressing and you have a burger that ought to banish even the bleakest January blues.
Price: £9.95 for the burger only.
Byron – proper hamburgers and the original success story. After a four year stint in America eating burgers, the founder, Tom Byng launched Byron Hamburgers in 2007 and it has since grown to 37 locations in London with an additional 11 dotted around the UK and more to come.
You can see why Byron continues its expansion plan as it was sold to Hutton Collins Partners around late 2013 in a reported £100 million deal. Despite becoming a “chain” their vision remains the same – to keep serving proper hamburgers the way they should be.
This isn’t the first time we’ve had a Byron review on our hallowed pages. Our Principal Burger Critic reported back on their November/December release – The Holy Cheesemas and with specials coming every two months we decided to check out their latest offering, The Flaming Iceberg. Today is all about the three B’s – Birthday, Bristol and Burgers! As an added bonus, anyone signing up to The Byron Burger Club and presenting a voucher while ordering this special receives a free bottle of their brand new Byron Hot Sauce.
So on a relatively mild and sunny day in the middle of a cold January we went to Bristol in search of a burger billed as being able to banish those January blues. We arrived roughly around 1pm and instantly I was impressed with the greeting we received… “Find your perfect table and I’ll follow you” – now that is what I like/expect.
There were no birthday balloons on offer but was told that I looked good for 40! All just for banter obviously (I hope!). Sat on the table the condiments consisted of Heinz Ketchup, Frank’s and Coleman’s Mustard and the new Byron Hot Sauce which we scored a free bottle of today as part of the aforementioned club (usually £2.50 at any of their restaurants).
|The Heat is On @ Byron…|
Inside Byron in Bristol it’s quite long and narrow-ish, with comfy booth seating alongside the obligatory school/steakhouse style wooden tables and chairs. We were sat right at the back next to the open kitchen and here you had that industrial warehouse feel again with open ventilation systems and parts of the décor designed to not look finished. I imagined my Dad saying “ten quid for a burger and they’ve not finished this wall properly” and had a bit of a chuckle. Walking back through the restaurant the interior design seemed to change into a more upmarket Gentleman’s Club with lots of black – very stylish and modern but not feeling cold or sterile. And they have seating upstairs meaning in total they have roughly 150 covers (I asked later and was told it was 142 so I was impressed with my quick mental arithmetic).
Anyway let’s get to that Flaming Iceberg which we were told was “a good choice” when placing our order. The food seemed to arrive very quickly as we picked at a pot of their Proper Olives (£2.95) while sipping on an Oreo Cookie Milkshake (£4.25) and an A&W Root Beer Float (£3.70).
|Immaculate presentation and service…|
The presentation of both burgers (Miss Milkshake went with the Smoky which we also got a photo of) was immaculate. It’s comforting to know that despite now being regarded as a “chain” that standards have not slipped. Speaking of standards we were highly impressed with the staff at Bristol. They were extremely friendly, very welcoming and super-efficient – just how we like it. In fact our only minor grumble was that our lunch session seemed to be over too quick which was also the case with the burgers today, you’ll understand why in a minute.
|Byron Hamburgers Flaming Iceberg…|
I took my first bite and then didn’t pick up my pen for quite a while after that. This burger was incredibly good and moreish and I really did struggle to put it down to write a few notes about the Flaming Iceberg. First up is the beef, udderly beautiful if you’ll excuse the appalling attempt at a pun. Burgers at Byron are cooked medium pink and they checked that was OK with us when we placed our order. This patty was juicy, cooked perfectly and with a char-grilled, seasoned beefiness which was not lost amongst the other components. Now I almost worried that the 6oz beef patty would be buried under the flavour of the hot sauce but it certainly wasn’t and that is a testament to the taste and quality of the product at Byron.
|Crunchy and packing heat…|
Heat-wise it’s pretty scorching for the average palate but chilli-heads will get amongst it with relative ease. The sauce packed a fruity, tangy, smoky kick but it was brilliantly offset by the coolness and creaminess of that ranch dressing – the perfect counter to the hot sauce. Good… oh so very good! And with a substantial amount of the jalapeños on-board this really did banish any January blues or hunger that we might have had.
The texture of the Flaming Iceberg gives you a bit of everything. You get the creamy, melted hamburger and a slight chew from the dry cure bacon which to be honest was fairly indistinguishable to the point I’ve doubted myself it was even on there… “Call yourself a burger reviewer BL®?” What you do get to contrast the softness of the beef and brioche is the crispy, crunch from the funky fresh iceberg and crispy fried onions. Oh how I love those onions (there were plenty on here!) and today again they cemented themselves as one of my favourite burger toppings of all time. Not as sharp on the palate as fresh onion, a more elegant ingredient for a more civilised taste.
|Lifting the lid…|
It was a bit messy, but then if you can’t get into a bit of a mess on your birthday then when can you? I definitely could have done with another serviette or two and remarked how all the juices and some of the sauce had resulted in me requiring a Burger Lift (look it up!) to keep the bottom of the brioche from getting soggy.
Everything together just worked incredibly well and it is the sort of burger experience you find yourself a) not wanting to end and b) feeling almost sad when you have finished. Because folks I could have quite easily ordered another burger off the menu right there, in fact that gives us a good chance to take a look at the Byron Smoky while we’re here…
Overall, the Flaming Iceberg was an outstanding offering from Byron and I am super excited to see them coming closer to BLHQ when they open in Worcester in 2016. The menu is solid and with specials changing every 8-ish weeks you can guarantee we’ll be back again very soon! Excellent food, service and staff in a stylish surrounding and at nearly £10.00 for the burger alone people might be put-off. But trust me it is worth every penny. With that let’s take one last look at the Flaming Iceberg from the good people at Byron – Proper Hamburgers indeed!