Review: Byron Burger

Byron Burger is a London based burger chain that has been open since 2007.  It's newest venture was to open a restaurant in the South West, and what better place to go than the middle of the Princesshay Shopping area in Exeter.  Exeter already boasts a booming gourmet burger trade with 3 very popular burger restaurants, Ruby, Urban Burger and Hubbox. While this may seem like a good area to open up, Byron also faces extreme competition from the already established burger bars, all of which have earned 5 star rating from me.  Nick and we invited along for a meal on Byron to review Exeter's newest offering.

It probably has the best available plot for a restaurant, in the middle of the cities big shopping area.  It is a massive building and there is also seating available outside while the weather is still nice.

At first look at the menu it was very underwhelming.  They pride themselves on the best Scottish meat cooked freshly, and keep their menu simple- a little too simple I think!  A plain hamburger with lettuce and tomato is £6.75, you then have to pay for any sides on top.  The menu offers a plain burger, a burger with cheese, a burger with cheese and bacon, a burger with chillies, chicken burger, veggie burger and some salads (where is the pulled pork or variety of different burgers on offer!) I get simple, but in my opinion this menu is a little lazy.  They do offer a special burger every month which is a little more exciting!  Currently the Ronaldo, two 6oz hamburgers, crispy smoked bacon, American cheese, buttered onions, crispy fried onions, pickles, American mustard and ketchup, £12.95 for the burger alone!

We started off with some milkshakes, Strawberry for Nick and Oreo (yes Oreo!) for me.  This was amazing, super thick and super creamy!  It was heaven, and also served in a massive cup! Only downside is that it is very filling!

When we ordered our burgers we were told "Just to let you know, guys, the burgers will come medium, so they'll be a little pink inside, is that alright?" Apparently we had no choice!  We ordered a burger each and decided to share our sides.   I went for a burger with blue cheese.  It really was what it said on the tin, a burger with a slab of blue cheese and some salad, with nothing else.   The flavour of the burger was just very plain.  I can't say that it was unpleasant, just a little boring and something you would expect of a Wetherspoons (although he Wetherspoons don't charge anywhere near the price of this burger on it's own!)

Once the salad was removed from the burger it does not look that appetising!

Nick went for a Chilli Burger- Green chilli, American cheese, shredded iceberg and chipotle mayonnaise.  Nick is a lover of spice so was looking forward to this, even though there was no heat warning on the menu.   When it came he opened the bun to take out his tomato, licked his finger and could taste pure heat. After a few mouthfuls Nick was in pure pain and decided that the rest of the burger was simply inedible due to the amount of spice that had been used.  I tried a piece of lettuce and my mouth was on fire for about 10 minutes, and no amount of delicious milkshake could  help!  We understand that it is a chilli burger, but this resembled something from a Man v Food spice challenge "finish it to win a prize!" except there was no prize, just pain.

For our sides we chose the classic French fries and some macaroni cheese.  The fries were good, pretty standard.  The macaroni cheese was very mediocre, plain and I wouldn't be surprised if it was a packet sauce. 

I had a lengthy discussion with the manager after our meals, who rightly pointed out that it was only the second week it had been open, so there may be teething problems.  He said the chilli burger should;'nt be as hot as it was, but as they use fresh chillies they are hotter than JalapeƱos.  I explained to him about how high the current standard in Exeter for burgers are, and he said he wasn't aware yet.  While I do not usually comment on price, I feel that I have to here. Our bill would have come to £32.10, and I have to say that it really wasn't good value for money for what was served to us. If you are going to charge London prices, the quality of the meal really needs to match up to it, and sadly this meal didn't.  The manager insisted that he would take my comments on board, and for Byron to survive up against our current, independent, gourmet burger restaurants we already have here. 

Food **  Service ***** Atmosphere ****

L x

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