Tuesday, 28 February 2012

GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen), a mini rant, and this weekend past

The Frenchman's Cheese & Bacon burger; Fantastic "Skinny Fries" and amazing onion rings; 
A tousled looking Frenchman at GBK; The Little Sausage and I in front of the "Peace Statue" along the waterfront; Watching the sunset for another day

Just a snapshot of our weekend: lunch at GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen), and a stroll along the seafront, watching the beautiful sunset. I only wish it were warmer to have enjoyed it fully, but I'll take that view anytime.

At lunchtime, I had a hankering for a nice juicy burger. My sister had recommended a non-fast food burger chain restaurant a little while ago and since Brighton had one close by, we splurged on lunch and wandered into the North Laines for some burger action.

Warning: mini rant coming up! Do keep reading for the positive review afterwards... ;-)

One of my pet hates is getting ripped off in restaurants. It's not hard to make fresh food that tastes good, so it boggles me why so many restaurants cut corners and still serve horrible food that they should be ashamed to make people pay high prices for. 

I don't understand (well, I do understand, but think it's stupid) why kitchens don't make their own fries. I'm not talking about fast food joints since they have such a high volume of customers, it's fine because you know what to expect. It the proper sit down restaurants I have a problem with, where you expect a decent meal when paying premium prices, but get served pre-frozen food. 

It's not difficult. You cut potato into strips. They even have special machines that do it for you in seconds. You pre-fry them to cook them and set aside. Then, when an order comes in, you fry them to order, like you would frozen fries. The result? Amazing fries! Yes it takes an extra step but isn't it worth it? And it's not just fries. A lot of simple foods are pre-bought and reheated. Soups, vegetables, meat products, sauces, you name it. 

I get really passionate about this, as you've no doubt guessed, but in this day and age there is no excuse to serve crap food if you are charging people big money for it. I've worked in the hospitality industry for enough years to tell you it's not difficult. It's just laziness and profit gluttony. Yes, profits are important. I get that. But you can still make profit AND serve good food. In fact, you will probably have more business because of it. So there. 


So I was very pleasantly surprised to have a great meal at GBK on Saturday. The place was full (it was Saturday lunchtime after all), so we opted to sit outside rather than wait for a table, which was probably more convenient with a pram anyway. Although pretty chilly, the sun was shining and there was no wind so it wasn't too bad. The Little Sausage was bundled up in her "foot muff" (the nice padded sleeping bag type thing attached to her pram) and she happily munched on crackers and her 'Sophie La Giraffe' while watching us munching our food. 

The service was very friendly and helpful. Customisations were encouraged, so I ordered a Classic burger and substituted the relish for satay sauce. Delicious! The Frenchman had a Cheese and Bacon burger which was heavy on the bacon, which he enjoyed. The beef patty was nicely charred, moist and not at all overcooked, however could have done with some more seasoning. Luckily the sauce made up for it, but you could still taste the slightly bland patty underneath. The buns were your standard white sesame seed buns, but fresh and satisfactory. Most burgers conveniently come in two sizes: small and large. The small burgers was perfect for us with a side or fries and onion rings. We we pleasantly full by the end.

The highlight for me was the amazingly crunchy homemade onion rings. At £3.00 a serving, they were by far the best onion rings I've had. Breaded in Panko crumbs, they were hot and fresh. The "Skinny Fries" were also very good and you can add them to your burger for only £1.00 extra, so again, a bargain. They were simple, fresh, crunchy (but still retaining the soft insides) and something I would gladly pay for. Not sure if they were entirely handmade on the premise (most likely not) but they were not your run-of-the-mill bulk-frozen fry. Ketchup and carafes of water (with fresh mint and lime slices) were complimentary, another surprise since "free water" is usually without any embellishments. Ketchup was brought automatically to the table by the waitstaff and we could help ourselves to as much as we wanted. Sounds basic, but elsewhere you often have to pay for tiny sachets of the stuff! We were also told to help ourselves to the "Monkey nuts" (shelled peanuts) which was also an added bonus giving us something to munch on while we waited. 

What I like the most is their philosophy, which I only found out about after reading their website while writing this post:

"Our homemade dipping sauces are made everyday from scratch in each kitchen and we know you can tell the difference. We are proud of what we do and our kitchens are on view, so take a look at us either cooking your food to order or making sure they stay spotless. One thing you will never see is a microwave." source: http://www.gbk.co.uk/about-us/

I like that. It proves my point that if they can do it, so can the other restaurants. Good on you, Gourmet Burger Kitchen!

All in all, an unexpected, surprising (in a great way), good value for money experience that we will be repeating. Get to one if you can!

Gourmet Burger Kitchen
44-47 Gardner Street, 
Brighton, BN11UN
Phone: 01273 685 895 

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thu: 12:00 - 22:00 
Fri: 12:00 - 23:00 
Sat: 11:00 - 23:00 
Sun: 12:00 - 22:00 

*This review is entirely my own opinion based on my experiences. No one paid or sponsored me to do so. 

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