Review of Byron Burgers Sweet Caroline
What they say:
Our latest special is part of our summer menu and is inspired by our head chef Fred’s memories of visits to the Southern states, where long summer evenings mean one thing – barbecue time. Sweet Caroline is a hamburger packed with slow-cooked pulled pork and the tangy barbecue flavours typical of North Carolina. It’s topped with jalapeño slaw, streaky bacon and crispy potatoes.
Price: £10.95 but free tonight as part of the Byron Burger Club.
Definition of special in English:
Better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.
Twice now we’ve tried to get a ticket for Byron Burger Club and on both occasions we have succeeded! I’m not going to go into too much detail about the aforementioned club (Google it) but basically this gives you the chance to score a free burger and get an exclusive preview of the new special coming to Byron. And for the #SummerAtByron this is the Sweet Caroline.
If you’ve been keeping up-to date with our Byron jaunts you’ll know that we have to travel from Cheltenham to Bristol to visit their ‘The Triangle’ restaurant – in total a 90-mile round trip. OK we’re getting a freebie in the process but with that sort of mileage the cost of the diesel alone probably covers the cost of the burger. So surely it must be worth that distance you ask yourself?
The short answer is yes. Again we’ve talked about the interior décor and the absolutely impeccable staff in previous reviews so we won’t go into too much detail. But my goodness I do love visiting this place. In fact, if and when Byron do open in Worcester we’ll find it difficult not to visit Bristol instead because we cannot stress just how welcoming and accommodating the staff are here. Unanimously excellent… special even.
Speaking of special let’s talk about the Sweet Caroline. It was the busiest I’ve seen it on a Monday in Byron but it wasn’t too long before the latest special was presented before us. Like any of its predecessors this was immaculately presented with a high degree of precision. The burger had been cooked medium (again they always check if that is OK first) and looked perfect inside – revealed after doing our cross-section shot which you can see below. A comment was posted on our Instagram picture saying that it “needs cooking a bit longer” but I would have to disagree. Expertly seasoned and juicy beef substantiated in my mind just why this is one of my current favourite places to eat.
|First look at the Sweet Caroline…|
Now there was a respectable amount of pulled pork on-board the Sweet Caroline. Not completely over the top so that it dominates the other ingredients and becomes a big mess, nor was it just a fleck. I couldn’t say that I could distinguish a unique taste to it but the tangy, North Carolina-style dressing was mellow and contributed nicely to the overall flavours going on. In fact I enjoyed this burger so much I ate it very quickly, thus I had to write a lot of this review in retrospect so you’ll have to bear with me on that.
Someone on Twitter had said they felt “underwhelmed” by the Sweet Caroline and I can sort of see where they are coming from (personally I don’t hold this in such high regard as the B-Rex) but each and every person has unique likes/dislikes. For me what I truly loved about this burger surprisingly was the jalapeño slaw and apple vinegar mayonnaise. Dotted in and around the mayo/slaw combination were tiny pieces of chopped jalapeño which gave a slight “bite” to proceedings. The mayo also brought an acidic touch to the burger which offset nicely against the proteins of the beef, pork and the streaky bacon.
In fact, the bacon brought a firmness to the texture and like Neil Diamond, played slight smoky tones across my palate. There was, as ever a good amount on the build and never any doubt that it’s going to be cooked spot-on. Going back to the slaw for a minute. I’ve never been a fan of “coleslaw” per say but this is in a different league and without sounding too American, awesome! It’s semi-crunchy, ultra-fresh and lends itself well to the other toppings.
|A masterclass in texture…|
The burger is completed with crispy potatoes which reminded me very much of the crisp-like Potato Stix/Sticks you can/could get. I was expecting them to be slightly more salty and they didn’t have a domineering flavour or anything but again they worked well as a textural element. It was nice to have a burger without fresh tomato and the addition of fresh red onion really worked for me. Overall this is an extremely good and satisfying special from Byron, sadly though we could only get one and for me it was over far too quickly.
If we check back to the definition of special I wouldn’t say this is better or greater than some of the other burgers I’ve had at Byron so far but it is certainly different. It’s refreshing to have something that has been clearly researched and developed in the test kitchen as opposed to slapping some BBQ sauce on it and calling it “American”. I absolutely loved that creamy mayo and the slaw, my only grumble again is that the bottom bun does suffer with the flow of the juices and sauces but that’s being very picky!
The Sweet Caroline is a definite thumbs up from me. Like I mentioned earlier possibly not in the same lofty heights as the B-Rex but definitely jostling alongside the Flaming Iceberg in terms of enjoyment and personally I place this above the Byronissimo.
At £10.95 it is a pricey burger but I’d recommend it for the fusion of clever flavours that should entice you back for more. It’s also a masterclass in texture burger building.
|Incredible layers of texture and flavour…|
What I love about the concept of the burger club is that it brings an exclusivity to the brand, after all you’re only one of about 3,000 people getting to try the new burger before it is on-sale to the hoi polloi. Secondly it’s free. And if you are fortunate enough to have a Byron in your City and don’t have to make 90-mile missions then this works out a very cheap evening eating out. It’s great for getting people to come back to try something new as well and also a brilliant marketing move on the part of Byron.
With the (my) ever-increasing reliance on ‘social media’ it’s a fantastic way to get people talking about their new special. After all when we were sat at our window seats last night we’d already shared pictures and/or videos via the following platforms: Twitter, Instagram and Periscope (yes we did our first ever live broadcast from Byron). Unfortunately I managed to ‘lose’ my Vine which was a minor annoyance. My point is that if you times this by 3,000-ish you’ve suddenly got a lot of people seeing the new special one week prior to its launch. Clever stuff. What I also love about Byron is that despite the burger being free the staff treat you no differently than to any paying customer. Oh and believe me I’ve had a number of freebies in the past (not necessarily BL® related) and you really were made to feel like they were doing you the favour. Thankfully this is never the case at Byron.
Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good…
The Sweet Caroline is available at all Byron restaurants from Tuesday 26th May.