Review of Time & Beef, Cardiff – Build Your Burger
What they say:
Here at Time & Beef, our vision starts with our mission, to give you the best burger you have ever had. Our unique concept aims to inspire you to create your own burger, exactly how you want it, giving you a personal and memorable dining experience.
Time & Beef is the very latest burger joint in Cardiff and comes highly recommended. We were recently invited down by the owner, Steve who said we could enjoy a complimentary lunch. I like to get this statement out the way early, because it’s important for our readers to know that despite this fact, it has no bearing on our impartial analysis. OK, with that over with, let’s get to our review…
Time & Beef is situated in the Cardiff area known as Canton which is about ten minutes walk from the city centre. I’ll be honest, as I walked to the burger joint I wasn’t actually that enamoured with the surroundings but its actually undergoing a bit of a culinary re-generation or re-vitalisation in the area – spear-headed by Time & Beef. And, after chatting to Steve, it’s a good place to be with a bit of a foodie renaissance going on at the moment. Take it from me… it is well worth a trip.
Here, customisation is the name of the game, with Time & Beef boasting over 56,000 different combinations you can create and name – customer interactivity is also a major factor here too. They also adhere to five strict commandments;
We shall never ever pre – cook our meat. Ever.
We shall never freeze meat
Honour only local suppliers
Remember to have fun with customers
We are not fast food, we are quality food
As you can imagine, the process is fairly straightforward. Choose your bun, your burger, your toppings, your cheese and then name your burger. OK you’re telling yourself. This isn’t exactly ground-breaking so what makes this place so special?
Well there are many factors which make Time & Beef memorable, and in no particular order we’ll start with the staff. In my time reviewing burgers, I’ve not met many people so damned friendly and welcoming. From what we witnessed today there’s a very social feel to the place and a sense of community. We had window seats watching the people and traffic go past and I lost count of the number of folks who were saying hello to Steve as they walked in or past, like he knew every single one of them. It was refreshing to watch and really resonated with me.
Time & Beef have got a decent lunchtime menu – Monday to Thursday from midday until 3pm you can grab any burger, any cheese, any topping and any sauce with skin-on fries and a non-alcoholic drink, all for the bargain price of £8. And that’s pretty bloody good considering the quality on offer here.
And that’s my next point. Quality. Time & Beef pride themselves on using good, local, quality ingredients. OK, I could go on their website and copy and paste the blurb they use but check it out for yourselves. They use local butchers G. Braithwaite & Sons for their meat which is daily ground chuck coarse 80/20 blend and this took a fair few months of development using various blends and seasonings. Their buns are freshly baked by award-winning Artisan baker, Alex Gooch and I’ll talk about those a bit later on.
It had been a busy weekend as Time & Beef had just hosted a very successful event – a 2-night weekender of burgers, beats and beer. We’re told the evening crowd and ambience is a lot different to the daytime and we’ll definitely return in the near future to confirm this. But in all honesty, we could have stayed a hell of a lot longer than we did and felt genuine sadness when it was time to leave (we had to catch the train back to BLHQ unfortunately).
Inside, the venue is modestly sized and benefits from funky beats and a nice eclectic mix of recycled furniture. You’ve got that “typical burger joint” feel with the exposed, unfinished ceiling, “warehousy-type” or cabin style feeling. But it’s inviting, welcoming and a place that caters to all individuals’ tastes and budgets. And with the build-your-own burger concept – putting the customers in control with their choices.
Anyway enough… let’s get to the main event – the burger! Like I mentioned above, here you have full reign of your creation from a decent array of ingredients and for my build (named the Burger Lad® v2) I chose a beef burger with cheddar, bacon, gherkins, jalapeños and crispy onions and T&B chipotle sauce. Now I was going to have this on a demi brioche bun but due to being a very busy Bank Holiday weekend and the supplier not being in yet I had to make do with a Potato Bun. That’s my only slight grumble but at the same time I was so, so glad I went with something different anyway!
The burger arrived and I let out an instant “wow” when I saw it. I was expecting the usual salad suspects of lettuce, onion and fresh tomato but here unless you tick the box it doesn’t come on it. Love it! So my build was exactly what I wanted with the beef sat atop a mixture of gherkin spears and jalapeños with the crispy onions scattered all about. Yum! It’s also worth noting, that not every single person wants a mayo-based sauce on their burger, so it was refreshing to pick exactly what sauce you wanted.
I took my first expectant bite and instantly felt gratification with my selection of ingredients but also the freshness of what was on offer. That Potato Bun was also an eye-opener and game-changer for me. It was absolutely cracking and a really strong, robust but fresh bun. There’s 100% no chance of this disintegrating – a really chuffing good burger bun and I’d recommend this option whole-heartedly.
Beef-wise it’s a good, solid beef patty with just the right level of seasoning. It had a good texture and is certainly recommended. Due to EHO restrictions and/or legislations the patties here are cooked to 72 degrees for over two minutes so will not be pink on the inside. This however takes nothing away from the good taste, flavour and quality of the beef on offer. A commendable patty, honest with no gimmicks required.
I was pleased with cheddar as my choice of cheese as I was going for that classic bacon cheeseburger approach with a spicy kick to it. This cheddar was strong, creamy, melted just right and didn’t get lost amongst the other flavours on-board. I actually thought it might have with the jalapeños and sauce but it didn’t so credit to it for that.
The back bacon was just how I like it. Really very good actually, with a good amount on the build, cooked perfectly and with minimal or no visible fat that I could see. No complaints here!
When I ordered crispy onions I didn’t expect them to be home-made. My goodness what a delight! They are one of my favourite burger toppings ever and these at Time & Beef are the best I have encountered. You know they are homemade the second you see them and they’ve got that beautiful smoky, almost burnt flavour. Best I’ve had. Easy.
I like the choice of gherkin spears ahead of pickle slices. Of course, you don’t have to worry about putting mediocre pickle slices for people to pick them off because you’ve chosen to have them. So these have a more crunchy texture to them and a more distinguished flavour. Yeah another good choice if you like them!
There’s a respectable amount of pickled jalapeño slices and these provided the warmth I was going for and this was complimented by the T&B Chipotle sauce. This threw me as I was expecting the standard chipotle mayo which this wasn’t and I absolutely adored this sauce. They’ve only just added it to the menu and they’ve looking at developing more in-house sauces so watch this space!
Overall, this was a very excellent and enjoyable burger I had today. The bun was really good and I’ll be opting for that if I see it on menus in the future. Definitely recommended.
Time & Beef is a really good burger joint to check out too with a real emphasis on customer interaction (and satisfaction!). They are serving up delicious cocktails which are putting them on the map as a must visit Cardiff destination. They don’t just do burgers too and offer the same concept, build-your-own breakfast menu as well as hosting special vegetarian and vegan evenings too. We’d had the Crispy Calamari and Sweet Chilli Sauce to begin with. This was piping hot, ultra-fresh and one of the best examples of the dish I have sampled.
I love the idea of having over 56,000 combinations via the build-your-own burger platform and this makes Time & Beef a great place for people to have EXACTLY what they want whether that be crazy, multiple patty creations, just meat and cheese, chose your sauces, chose your toppings. It’s completely up-to you!
Is it the best burger I’ve ever had? Considering the plethora of patties I’ve encountered I wouldn’t proclaim it to be the absolute best. But Time & Beef are certainly one of, if not the best for giving me a personal and memorable dining experience. Congratulations to you all and considering you’ve only been doing this for eleven weeks is a testament to the good work you’re doing.
Next time you are thinking of a city to visit and Cardiff comes up on your shortlist, whatever you do I implore you to check out everything Time & Beef has to offer. Steve, his partner and their staff are incredible and we can’t thank them enough for providing the end to a perfect 24 hours in Cardiff. We will be back.