To launch this blog with a bang, I thought I’d start with one of my most anticipated food events of 2017: Battle of the Burger.
As alluded to in the title, Battle of the Burger is a competition to discover the best burger in the North East. Hosted this year by Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery, the event consists of eight different restaurants/bars, and each of them select one or two amazing burgers to sell in the hopes of winning. Today, I was introduced to 2017’s competitors: Zapatista Burrito Bar; Lola Jeans; Longhorns Barbecue Smokehouse; Shilling Newcastle; The Fat Hippo; The Wylam Brewery; The Grind and Jam Jar, and honestly, I was impressed.
Being familiar with both Fat Hippo and Zapatista, I decided to sample their burgers first. Zapatista created the Nacho Normal Cheeseburger, a burger featuring their Mexican sliced beef patty, chilli spiked cheddar cheese, pink pickled onions, chipotle and honey sauce and nacho chips, served in a brioche bun.
Now, initially I was quite wary that a place well known for its burritos and tacos was entering a burger competition, but wow, I wrong to be worried. The Nacho Normal Cheeseburger was my second favourite burger of the day (don’t worry, my first favourite will soon be revealed). With its deliciously succulent patty and the slight spice of the cheese, I was in love. However, what really made it for me was the crunchiness of the nachos. It seemed to add a whole new texture to the burger and in my opinion really made it stand out.
So after being blown away by my first burger I headed over to the Fat Hippo, which, surprise, surprise, had a huge queue. It was worth it though, to taste the mouth watering Hail the String. Featuring a gorgeous beef patty topped with Monterey Jack cheese, chilli and bacon string fries, pickle back slaw, chorizo and the signature Fat Hippo sauce, the Hail the String burger was clearly generously garnished.
Although not the best patty of the day, the elaborate toppings of the Hail the String put it in 3rd place on my Burger-scale.
So, (keep in mind that by now I had devoured two burgers, plus half a serving of chips, and was beginning to feel slightly full) next I decided to look around and find one of the slightly smaller, more slider-like burgers of the day to shove gracefully into my ever-growing stomach. After browsing the selection, I decided to try Shilling’s Buckled Butcher’s burger, and, I can now reveal, that it became my winner. Whilst the actual toppings and bun were not all that exciting, the fat, juicy, beautiful patty that lay in between was by far the best I had ever tasted. This was not at all a shock once you took a look at the many different cuts of meat that went into it. Brined beef knuckle, beef heart, BBQ coal infused beef fat, lean beef, braised blade beef and ox tail in BBQ cherry cola sauce were all rolled into one absolutely brilliant burger patty. Shilling, in my opinion is the true winner of Battle of the Burger.
Moving onto the last two burgers I tried. I feel the need to point out that neither of these were not actually my own burgers, and were, in fact, my Dad’s. See, I do have a little bit of self control when it comes to food.
This next burger was arguably the most out-there, but not in the crazy toppings and sauces kind of way, but the not actually meat kind of way. Yes, you heard right, one of Wylam Brewery’s own contributions to the competition was the refreshingly new Crispy Monkfish Burger. Garnished simply with tartar sauce and little gem lettuce, this alternative burger really blew me away.
The monkfish was, as promised, crispy, and to my relief had no fat on it whatsoever. If this wasn’t a burger competition, Wylam Brewery would definitely have my vote, but as it is, I felt as though I couldn’t vote for a burger that wasn’t really a burger.
Finally, we have Longhorn’s Pepper Don’t Preach burger. I’ve been told by many people that Longhorn’s do mouth-watering burgers, so I was eager to see if this one lived up to the praise. Let me tell you now, it certainly did. The slight sweetness of the BBQ sauce combined with the sticky bacon jam and the juiciness of the patty made me wish I had enough room left in my stomach to squeeze in one of my own. Also in the burger was a red cabbage pickle, sliced Monterey Jack and Longhorn’s own burger sauce, all sandwiched between a pretzel bun. Having been decidedly against pretzels for a while, the Pepper Don’t Preach truly managed to sway me, as I thoroughly enjoyed their spin on the classic pretzel!
Sadly I had neither the money nor stomach room to sample Lola Jeans’, Jam Jar’s or The Grind’s burgers, but I’m sure they would have all been as impressive as the ones I was lucky enough to try. If anyone did, however, try one, I would love and appreciate it if you could leave a comment telling me how they were.
So that brings my first blog post to an end. Hopefully I didn’t drone on for too long and manage to bore anyone to death. I really hope you enjoyed it, as I would love to continue posting. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see on my blog and I’ll try to include it next time!