We first visited the Handmade Burger Co. in the Metro Centre on New Years day. We were given a 2for1 voucher when we placed our order, so went back to use it and now I’d say we visit around once a month.
About the Handmade Burger Co.
The Handmade Burger Co. is a small chain of eleven restaurants, located around the country. As I’m sure you can guess from the name they make handmade burgers and all of their beef comes from traditionally reared, grass fed cows, and is 100% traceable.
The restaurant is located on the first floor of Gateshead’s Metro Centre in the yellow quadrant which is now known as ‘The Qube’. If you park in the yellow multi-storey it will be the first place on the left when you enter the mall, directly next to the Odeon cinema.
The restaurant is clean and bright with wooden tables in the centre and booths down each side with leather seats. If we go on a quiet day and a booth is available they always seat us there - which I like as it always annoys me to go to a half empty restaurant and be seated on a hard wooden chair when a cosy booth is not being used! The other non-booth tables have good spacing on either side so you do not feel like you are intruding on someone elses meal. That said, I do find that if someone is sitting at the table behind me and I need to pull my chair out, it can be difficult and requires asking the person at the table behind to move (which understandably I hate) or else breathing in and squeezing out as best I can! Décor is light and airy with black and white floral wallpaper and wooden floors and condiments are supplied on the table. Toilets are located at the back of the restaurant and although very small, I’ve always found them to be clean. The restaurant is child friendly and high chairs are supplied although I’ve seen them request prams are left at the front of the restaurant during busy times.You are presented with a menu when you go into the restaurant and told which section you are in. You actually need to go to the counter at the back of the restaurant to place your order, something I personally don’t like. I feel it would be much easier to have a waiter come to take the order, but most of the time it’s not too big a deal so perhaps I’m just being lazy! You will be given any drinks you order at the counter on a tray, as well as a little number to put in the wooden holder on your table. The drinks menu is pretty good, they sell a range of wines and beers, but as I rarely drink alcohol and my fiancé is usually driving we tend to stick to cola which is served in glass bottles.
The menu has a range of burgers and is set into sections, such as beef, chicken, lamb, vegetarian etc... Kids burgers are also available as well as smaller burgers for those watching the calories. I should also mention the Jimmy’s Farm range. This is a range of rare-breed, free range matured beef burgers. These are not much more expensive than the other burgers on the menu, but are something I have been meaning to try.
As we have been there a good seven or eight times now, I’ve tried a range of options from the menu. On my last visit I tried a chicken burger for the first time and was surprised to find that it wasn’t so much a burger as a flattened chicken breast in a bun. I’m not complaining though, I’d much rather that than some minced up, breadcrumb coated thing you would expect to find in KFC! Others I’ve tried are the BBQ cheese and bacon beef burger, the blue cheese and bacon beef burger and the lamb and mint burger. The only thing I’ve ever tried from the menu which I haven’t really been keen on was the blue cheese beef burger. Unlike the blue cheese and bacon beef burger which has a blue cheese mayonnaise, the plain blue cheese beef burger has huge chunks of cheese – far too much cheese for one person if you ask me – and I don’t think it’s a coincidence I went home feeling rather sickly! Others on the menu include chicken tikka, avocado and bacon and sweet chilli. Vegetarian options include a stack of mushroom, pesto and mozzarella, vegetable and bean patty and spinach and lentil patty.
On the whole I really like the burgers from here, aforementioned blue cheese variety excluded! The burgers are a good size and all come with salad and relish. My fiancé is very picky and always orders his plain which is never any problem for the staff. The burgers are always juicy and cooked well without being dry or overdone. The sour dough buns which the burgers are served in are really nice too and the salad is always fresh.
Along with our burgers we usually order a side of chips. The chips here are gorgeous and are like real ‘chip shop’ chips. Apparently this is because they are twice cooked. We have also ordered Peri Peri chicken skewers for the table a couple of times and again they are absolutely yummy. We have never eaten dessert here and to be honest I believe the dessert menu is quite limited with ice cream being one of the only options.
The staff all wear shirts and aprons bearing the company logo however underneath they often wear jeans and trainers. The staff are always polite and friendly, but I do sometimes feel that they come over to the table too much. As well as the standard ‘is everything OK?’ that you tend to get in every restaurant, they seem to come over and clear used bottles up regularly, ask if we want more drinks, come over to remove the number from the holder etc.. and I do sometimes think that I’d like to be left alone. We actually recommended this place to a friend who said that he felt pestered the whole time, so would not go back.
I did also on one occasion witness some very immature behaviour from one staff member. I do believe this was a one off, but basically he was making v signs and other rude gestures at his colleague while the customers back was turned. Whilst it didn’t really bother me a whole lot, it does stick in my mind quite clearly and of course wasn’t exactly professional. I think I would have been more annoyed had I had kids with me, especially as it’s supposed to be a family friendly place.
I find the prices here fairly average. Most of the beef and chicken burgers cost between £6 and £8 each. Drinks are slightly pricey for what you get – a bottle of coke is £2.10 which I think is a lot given the size of the bottle. As I mentioned right at the beginning we were given a 2 for 1 voucher on our first visit and I would say its worth checking out the website for deals, as they frequently have offers - http://handmadeburger.co.uk
The restaurant has a loyalty card which you can have stamped on each visit to earn freebies. Five stamps gets you a free drink, six a free side and ten a free burger. Just ask at the desk and they can give you a card, which is totally free.
The Handmade Burger Co. is what I would class as a very good ‘everyday’ restaurant. It’s somewhere we tend to go after a hard days shopping (!) or when out in a group. I don’t think it’s the sort of place you’d go for a romantic meal or on a special occasion, but what it offers is nice burgers at fairly reasonable prices and let’s face it, it’s a step up from McDonalds!