Friday, 17 May 2013

Restaurant review: Handmade Burger Co., St Martin's Square, Birmingham

Recently, I was invited to attend a special bloggers' event at the Handmade Burger Co. in Birmingham.

I have actually eaten at the Handmade Burger Co. a few times before, so knew roughly what to expect and was expecting good things. In fact, in the early days of my blog, I did a review of the Touchwood (Solihull) branch of Handmade Burger Co. I praised the high quality of the food and innovative menu, but was less impressed by the state of the bathroom facilities. (Incidentally, this has not proved a problem since, although I've only eaten at the Birmingham restaurants since then...).

I was interested to try the restaurant at St. Martin's Square, as I normally dine at the Brindley Place branch when in Birmingham (it has lovely canalside views).

The meal was shared with my husband, Jo of Jo's Kitchen, Elizabeth of, Emma from the Bullring, Mike, the Marketing manager, and Chris, owner of the Handmade Burger Co.

I'll write a bit about my experience of the food first, and then I'll go on to write about some of the stuff we chatted to Chris about.

Although the Handmade Burger Co. don't do starters as such, the waitress suggested that we start with some of the Chargrilled Chicken Skewers and the Halloumi and Veg Skewers. We tried one of each of the flavours of the chicken skewers, and they were all delicious, but I think my favourite was the lemon and coriander. The chicken was perfectly cooked and meltingly tender. The Halloumi and Veg were pretty darn good too.

For my burger, I chose the Jimmy's Beef Cheese Classic. I fancied a cheeseburger, and a fine cheeseburger it was too. I ate all of it, so it must have been good. It had a really good balance of flavours: the charring on the outside of the burger gave it a wonderful caramelised, but smoky flavour. I had handmade coleslaw as a side and pinched a few of everyone's chips. They were all nice, but I think I preferred the plain chips rather than the Peri Peri or Cajun flavoured ones.

My husband and I shared a sundae for dessert - banoffee pie flavoured. I kind of wanted to lick the sauce out of the bottom when we'd finished, but my tongue isn't long enough. Come on, evolution!

It was a real pleasure to chat with Chris, the owner of the company. He is very passionate about what he does and, most importantly, very passionate about good food. He told us a lot about where he sources his food from. He likes to buy from other family businesses and he likes to buy ethically. I was particularly interested about where he sources his chicken. He was upfront about the fact that it is not free range, because he can't get free range chicken breasts in the quantity he needs, but he does buy Red Tractor, Farm Assured chicken, which is the best he can get for what he needs, which is fair enough. As the name of the company suggests, all the burgers are freshly made on site each day, as are the chips. And Chris really does know a lot about potatoes!

The company is expanding with a branch in Leeds having just opened, and more opening around the country soon, including London and Brighton.

Chris also owns Chilacas, a Mexican Street food restaurant in Brindley Place, Birmingham, and Urban Pie, also based in the Bullring. I've not tried either of these restaurants yet, but they are definitely on my wishlist!

Disclaimer: This meal was complimentary for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and all views are of course my own.

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