Almost Famous River Phoenix

Review of Almost Famous NQ Manchester – River Phoenix

Website: http://almostfamousburgers.com/

What they say:

Cheese, streaky bacon, shoestring onions, Frazzles, red chillies, Redneck BBQ, Bacon Bacon mayo, Winning ketchup.

Price: £9.00.

Calories: Unknown.

People often ask me why we don’t have a rankings system on BURGER LAD®. Primarily, I always explain that because of the spectrum of burgers we review here that it is impossible to rank them all on the same scale. There is another fundamental reason too – say in the distant past I visited somewhere and gave it a 9 or 10 but then over time find more and better burgers. What do I do? Go back and re-visit the original review and mark it down? Create a 10* grade? Let’s not forget the various categories of establishments we review; High Street, Fast Casual, Restaurant, Dirty Burger, Street Food etc… it makes a one-scale fits all grading system nigh impossible.

And guess what… after going to Almost Famous for the first time ever (Admiral Burgerbar has been on numerous occasions before) no matter what score I would have given previous burgers I’ve sampled, they would all have to be marked down at least a point or two after having had the River Phoenix.

Almost Famous River Phoenix
The menu at Almost Famous…

Today we were visiting the uber-cool upstairs warehouse Almost Famous NQ. I’m going to go on record now and call it the Mecca of the urban dirty burger.

As a combined group, it felt like Twitter royalty, as Miss Milkshake, myself and the Admiral were joined by Manchester foodie stalwarts @lrtpublicity and @FilmFan1971 – they both know a thing or two about PR and movies respectively!

Almost Famous is another food destination where they don’t take bookings. Why? Because they don’t need to!! Their food is that damn good that its walk-ins only I’m afraid. And there were plenty of people walking in when we were there and as we left.

Inside there’s a brilliant vibe going on and once again I felt at ease in this relaxed and friendly burger joint. The staff are extremely friendly and a testament to the overall friendliness I encountered in this great city.

We were shown to a table (YESSS!) that sums up the coolness of this place – a glass topped table full of hundreds of sweets ranging from Drumsticks to Love Hearts and everything in-between. MM even managed to restrain herself from trying to break into it…

What’s that? Kitchen roll sat proudly on the table? Brilliant. Any burger joint that has kitchen roll at the ready is going to be good. And I’ll join the countless other burger commentators that have said the same thing. Almost Famous is really very bloody good.

Almost Famous River Phoenix
Almost Famous River Phoenix…

The River Phoenix – quite possibly my favourite burger of all-time. I know. A very strong statement but I cannot begin to start throwing superlatives at this burger.

It looks amazing. There’s a degree of precision to the build while still retaining that classic “dirty burger” appearance. Served up on greaseproof paper in a plastic tray this is EXACTLY what I want from a burger.

It’s not massive. In fact, it looks quite compact in that perfectly toasted buttery brioche. If Almost Famous burgers are now served up with 14% less hype it’s a good job as my hype monitor was about to implode.

My notes are sparse. Again I’m having such a good time with my companions I find it very difficult to write a proper review. The taste of the River Phoenix is such that I cannot really put it down and swap burger for pen. I feel a pain. A pain that I’ve only got one of these. That tomorrow I will depart Manchester and the emptiness that it could be some considerable time again before I can escape reality and again rejoice in this perfect burger harmony.

Almost Famous River Phoenix
Bacon, bacon & bacon…

The shoestring onions are incredible. Incredible to the point that any that have escaped the burger are scooped up by my fervent digits – 100% committed to ensuring not one single element of this amazing burger escapes my mouth. It’s like someone has created the crack cocaine of burgers. And I want more. MORE!!!!!

The onions are beautiful though. Providing a crispy texture and slightly burnt flavour which runs throughout the burger. What’s this? A crispy bacon taste and texture from my youth? Yes that’s the frazzles inside. I wonder to myself just how many burger joints across the UK now put crisps on their burgers. I also wonder who did it first… I bet Almost Famous was up there as one of the early pioneers…

The last time I had a burger like this was at the excellent 7-Bone in Bournemouth. But this is better. Definitely, definitely better. The beef has a buttery beautifulness that solidifies this as the best damn bacon double cheese I have ever had. Easy. Just trying the patty on its own I wouldn’t proclaim it to be the best ever patty but the overall combination of all the toppings make this an instant classic and is one of my all-time favourites. No doubt.

Almost Famous River Phoenix
One of the best burgers. Ever…

It is incredibly difficult to explain just how great the River Phoenix is. The bacon is cooked just as streaky bacon should be. Just a slight give to the crispness but not much and the burger relies on the texture of this and the onions/frazzles to contrast against the perfectly melted cheese and sauces. And that combo of sauces… my goodness. To think, once I would have probably held the mayo and ketchup. Good grief how foolish I was in my finicky youth.

The three sauces used (Redneck BBQ, Bacon Bacon Mayo and Winning Ketchup) are instrumental in making this burger what it is. Slightly creamy but then smoky… with every mouthful exciting you in the process. It’s a dream come true. And then just when you think you’ve gushed about a burger enough you get the warm glow of the red chillies and this just completes the experience. Magical.

Like I said earlier, it’s not massive. It’s compact, and in my opinion is the true definition of what a dirty burger should be. At £9.00 you could argue that it is quite pricey, but for the lasting effect it has had on me and my perceptions of what a good burger is, it’s damn worth it.

If you are visiting Manchester in the near future and you can only have one burger the whole time you’re there, please make sure it is the River Phoenix from Almost Famous. You will not be disappointed.

If the powers that be are reading this and you’re looking at expanding south of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds I hear Birmingham might be able to accommodate you. Then it won’t be too far for us to travel to escape reality and get our fix on your mind blowing burgers once again.

Burger Lad®

 
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One thought on “Almost Famous River Phoenix

  • 14th March 2016 at 8:21 am
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    Couldn’t agree more!

    I’m a huge food fan from Manchester – been to many, many restaurants in Manchester. I’ll say up front: burgers are not my ‘go to’ – mainly because I’ve tried many and I’ve never seriously been wow’d, I usually just end saying, ‘it was alright’. The burgers I’ve tried, albeit a limited list, are from Reds True BBQ, Byron, Five Guys, Common Bar, Knott Bar and Filthy Cow.

    I went to Almost Famous last night for the first time and I had the River Pheonix. Never before I have been completely stunned by a burger – this was the first time I’ve ever truly enjoyed every bite from beginning to end. Everything just works fantastically – for all of the reasons you mention – I don’t need to describe the burger as you put it across so well in the article.

    I especially loved the taste of the bacon – great bacon.

    The biggest thing that get’s a vote from me – it’s perfectly sized! I’m a firm believer that you should *not* have to use a knife and fork to eat a burger – it goes against the point of something you can just pick up, eat and enjoy without cutlery. These 4 burger high onion ring towers you often find might be for some people – but I found the River Pheonix to be spot on in that you can just get on with the job and eat a burger as it should be done.

    Great review+

    Mike

     
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