The Norwood Arms Cheese & Smoked Bacon Burger

Review of The Norwood Arms Cheese & Smoked Bacon Burger, Cheltenham


What they say:

Prime steak burgers in a brioche bun. Baby gem, beef tomato, skin-on chips, classic tomato relish. Red onion, gherkin and your choice of Devon Cheddar, Shropshire Blue or Gruyère Cheese.

Price: £8.45.

The Norwood Arms sits on Leckhampton Road and some might argue is a Cheltenham institution. Many people will have started an evening here before taking in some of the pubs scattered on the Bath Road before hitting the bright lights and glamour of old Cheltenham town. This is known to the booze-soaked locals as the ‘Bath Road Run’.

I have frequented this establishment a number of times in my fragmented time living in Cheltenham and on this occasion I would be putting their burger menu through its paces. The option of the Gourmet Burger sounded tempting with two patties, Gruyère cheese, streaky bacon, mushrooms and truffle mayo but I wasn’t feeling overly hungry or greedy. They also have a ‘Burger Board’ – a cheeky sounding sharer of an assortment of slider style burgers but again that didn’t really cry out to me.

I thought I would go with something fairly basic today so I opted for ‘Old Reliable’ – bacon and cheese. So would this prime burger please or leave me with a sense of unease…?

The sun was out in full force on this day and so were the punters and the majority had piled out into the beer garden. We sat inside (to the relief of the girl that served me) and had to wait a painful 30+ minutes for our food to arrive. Anyone with a restless boy two months short of his fourth birthday will tell you that generally you want your food served quickly!

The burger arrived and looked OK. It had been placed on top of the lettuce, tomato and gherkins and the cheese and bacon rested on it like a creamy and crispy crown.

Norwood Arms

What can I say about this burger? It was alright – it wasn’t particularly brilliant or disappointing. I had expected something more processed or frozen so was pleasantly surprised that it did appear fresh and homemade. I think my enthusiasm for writing this review matches what I thought of it overall.

The patty was definitely leaning towards the edge of overcooked for my taste so it was nice to find some moisture in there. The bacon was quite a thin slice but you got a hint of the smoked flavour promised in the description. To its credit the Gruyère cheese I opted for did have a slightly sweet taste to it and that paired with the bacon gave a salty flavour to the burger. I enjoyed the gherkins cut in half instead of sliced and I’ll be adopting this technique if and when BBQ season rolls in.

Norwood Arms

My friend asked my opinion of the skin-on chips but maybe I just wasn’t in the mood this time to properly analyse my burgers potato companions. Again they were nice enough but nothing to write about. Like I said to her I wondered if this review would actually garner any interest.

The special mention of this review has to be for the classic tomato relish. Not being a fan of ketchup this is exactly the sort of condiment I would have passed on before. But Burger Lad® likes to try new things and this was great. It was quite unusual that the taste was very reminiscent of Smith’s Spicy Tomato Snaps. In retrospect maybe I should have added this to the burger as it may have elevated it to a different level. I used it for dipping my chips instead and this relish is definitely my lasting memory of my Norwood burger experience.

Norwood Arms

We’ll leave you with one final look at The Norwood Cheese and Smoked Bacon burger. At £8.45 it’s not the worst burger you’ll ever have but not the best either. If I were to eat at The Norwood again I would probably pass on this next time.

Norwood Arms

You may feel a little deflated after our latest review but luckily we have another from my associate to give us her take on the Foccacia & Parmesan Chicken Schnitzel Burger:

What they say: Buffalo mozzarella, rocket, beef tomato, red onion & basil, classic relish.

Price: £8.45.

We were off to a bad start – we had Mustard with us. Actually the promised focaccia bun did not materialise for this meal. Instead I was faced with an old foe – the dreaded brioche bun. I was intrigued to see how it would fare this time.

Norwood Arms

The chicken was dry inside the breadcrumb crust, which itself was slightly burnt. Plenty of rocket adorned the top of the schnitzel which gave a strong peppery flavour to the meal. The salad was fresh but the basil was missing in action. There was a very measly dollop of mayonnaise underneath and just a slightest bit more would have helped this all down. Towards the end my mouth was drier than Gandi’s flipflop.

Norwood Arms

And what of the brioche bun I hear you ask? Well it couldn’t handle the pressure of another review and fell apart as I was eating. To summarise, the overall feel was of a dry and dull meal which was a shame because the whiff of Parmesan hinted of something with the potential to impress the Empress.

Burger Lad®