Byron opens in Norwich
You can’t seem to go anywhere these days without bumping into a burger restaurant – whether it’s Five Guys or Gourmet Burger Kitchen, a meat pattie between two buns is big, big business. While I’m not much for jumping on band wagons, I am very much in favour of Byron, another burger chain which opened it’s first branch in Norwich yesterday.
Having frequented the branch in Islington more times than I care to admit during a long stint in London – with its industrial, stripped-back design and amazing milk shakes – I was excited to see a version open in my home town.
Now then, I know that Byron serves good quality hamburgers, crispy fries, its own branded larger and milkshakes thicker than Donald Trump (but much, much sweeter), what I didn’t know was that each branch looks completely different – designed to reflect the city or area in which it sits (Islington being shabby-chic, I guess).
So, what do we know about Norwich? Ah yes, it’s the birthplace of Colman’s mustard – let’s add lots of bright yellow – and Norwich City Football Club, also known as the Canaries which, in terms of bright yellow, kills two birds with one Farrow & Ball stone, but what else? Well, this particular building – our charming waiter sporting a black t-shirt with the word ‘cheese’ on it tells us (others say ‘hamburger’, ‘ketchup’ etc) – was once a shoe shop and that’s why the booth chairs are clad in grey leather with a hexagonal design (look at the bottom of your trainers…).
It’s a big space with a bar at one end, an open kitchen in the middle and plenty of booth seating around the perimeter. I’m told that there are currently 150 journalists and bloggers joining us for opening night – even when they are all seated and tucking into appetisers of chicken wings with blue cheese sauce and chicken bomb bombs with homemade BBQ sauce (which contains peaches) – the place looks relatively empty.
There are signs everywhere giving you an insight into the authenticity of the burgers themselves; I can almost hear cows happily chewing on a 100% grass diet.
I order a Byron larger (which comes with a frosted glass – a nice touch), a four cheese burger and a side of courgette fries, while my dining companion chooses a Gin & Tonic, the classic burger, and bacon and cheese fries. My daughter, who is happily colouring in using the crayons and colouring book provided, just wants a chocolate milkshake (one of your five a day?).
Everything is delicious; the burger cooked just the way I like it, while the bun is study enough not to become a sponge half way through – there’s nothing worse than burger juice running down your arms while you try and catch the waiter’s attention for more paper towels (this is Muddy Stilettos, for gawd’s sake!).
The menu also has a good choice of milkshakes served in metal cups, wings and dips, salads, veggie burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese and – for kids – chicken nuggets and smaller burgers. Don’t leave without trying the warm, gooey chocolate brownie – a must no matter how full.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Families, shoppers (it’s in Chapelfield), groups of friends
Not for: Romantic dates
£-££: Average. Burgers: £10; Beer: £4; Shakes: £4