Review of Montagues Blackpool Homemade Beef Burger
What they say:
Homemade beef burger with your choice of mature cheddar, mozzarella or blue cheese. Served with our homemade burger sauce, salad, pickle & French Fries.
Blackpool on a very windy day. Does life get any better? Tooth-killing rock, aging entertainers, palm-reading, Glaswegians, donkey rides, candy floss. Scream if you want to go faster.
But away from the timeless appeal of the promenade and piers, not too far from the famed Pleasure Beach, is Montagues. Situated on a street with an eclectic mix of shops and cafes, with a small-ish frontage you might miss, this has an elegant look both inside and outside. In fact, there were even tables outside but today was not a day for sitting outside – I certainly didn’t want my burger, or myself, to blow away.
Montagues isn’t fancy, nor is it run-down – my first impression is that it absolutely hits its “neighbourhood restaurant and bar” tone perfectly. If I lived around here, I’d probably be in a LOT. And the beauty is, that while serving the south shore “neighbourhood”, it’s also not a long walk for tourists looking to escape the promenade either.
It’s not a burger joint. There happen to be three burgers on the menu (chicken, beef and vegetarian) amongst other items of standard-ish fayre, a mix of what, on paper, seems to be well thought out dishes.
Although I’m a little early for lunch (it’s open all day but there’s a standard breakfast/main menu handover at noon), its bright, modern, comfortable and service is friendly and welcome. I settle down with a cup of tea and wait for noon like the most dignified of gunslingers.
The burger (the beef one obviously – you know me well enough by now) is priced very keenly at a shade under £7 and this includes fries which are priced at £2.50 for a side. Now, granted the sides are typically marked up quite a bit, but I think this still offers terrific value as long as the quality holds up.
It comes as a fairly usual build – Patty, pickle, salad, burger sauce and a choice of cheese – mozzarella, cheddar or blue. I’m going Italiano today but usually I would choose cheddar.
Bacon, pulled pork and an extra patty are all available at extra cost and yes, I know what I always say about bacon, but today I just wanted this as it comes. The beef patty itself is described as “homemade” which is very good, so on the face of it, this all sounds promising. Let’s see how the reality stacks up.
It came on a board with a decent bowl of fries, looking for all the world like something that ought to cost more than £6.95. In a place like this, I’d really prefer to have my food on a smart plate rather than a chopping board, and I wasn’t overly keen on the little pickle on top of the burger. Call me old-fashioned, but burger toppings belong inside the burger, and food is served on a plate. These are minor issues, and wouldn’t detract or add to the taste – I’d be picking the pickle out wherever it had been placed.
The stack was held together by a skewer (which also kept the pickle in place) and I could see that the beef patty was quite thick. I also saw that “salad” meant lettuce, red onion and tomato the latter of which I’d be removing.
The bun looked squashy and fresh and the size was manageable. When I got my teeth into it, it was indeed fresh. I was impressed.
After asking, I’d already been told the beef would be cooked through (same reasons as usual these days) but still I remained impressed. The beef patty, homemade on the premises, had an ideal flavour and texture. It had been packed quite loosely which I always prefer (thickly-packed, overcooked, hard-going patties are a pet peeve) and cooked just right, the interior being almost fluffy – as much as ground beef can be fluffy, that is. As I said earlier, it was quite thick but never felt overwhelming and had been seasoned almost to perfection. I was thoroughly enjoying my burger by this point. As I always say, whether the burger is plain, or dirty, it comes down to the quality of the beef blend and Ms Yates and her chefs have chosen well.
The red onion and the lettuce broke up the softness of the bun and beef with their slight crunch, and the red onion of course providing that joyful tang. Although this is a relatively plain burger, I can imagine a version of this with regular onions in the development kitchen, and an enterprising chef saying “you know what, lets try red onion – I think it’ll enhance this burger”. And it does.
The mozzarella of course, doesn’t add a lot of cheesiness but you know it’s there. It worked well here and I’m actually glad I chose it over the other two options. Its gentle floatiness fits very well with the soft beef and soft bun.
And that brings me to the burger sauce – as is so often the case, a slight orangey colour and perhaps a bit of an attempt to emulate the granddaddy of burger sauces – the Big Mac’s special sauce. In this case, it’s just enough to jazz up the flavours without overpowering its more delicate colleagues in there.
This whole thing was well presented and tasted great. It’s hardly the most exciting burger I’ve ever had but you’ll struggle to find a better burger at such a good price, in such pleasant surroundings, this close to Britain’s premier seaside resort.
Whether or not you have the burger (and I think you should), I think everyone going to Blackpool should visit Montagues.