23 October 2018   |  Last Updated 23-10-2014 10:21

      Wednesday 22, October 2014

      REVIEW: Manchester's Handmade Burger Co

      Reviewing some of Manchester's independent restaurants, Dan Barnsley visits Handmade Burger Co and tells us all about it...


      Another burger joint has descended upon Manchester--but can it rub shoulders with the big boys: Almost Famous, Solita and Reds? Handmade Burger co opened to the public at the back end of July, so I’m a little late in trying it but after picking up a voucher during freshers week that entitled me to "buy a burger or salad and receive the second for a pound" I thought why not give it ago.

      I was slightly apprehensive before hand as I’ve been to a fair share of burger joints in Manchester and by God is there enough of them; and some remarkable ones at that! Handmade’s 20th chain is the first to set up stall in the court house which it once was. Plenty more will be following including the highly anticipated new restaurant from Damson boss Steve Filling, which will be located in the basement, while many other operators are keen to fill the final floor space in the building.

      But anyway... upon entering, you straight away get a nice feeling of the place: the staff look happy, the music choice fitted the surroundings and all in all the atmosphere was warming. I enjoyed the retro interiors with distressed parque wooden floors, original tiles and globe lighting.

      The stencil work and prints on the wall worked well and gave you some background knowledge (if you didn’t need it already...handmade). The menu offers a whole variety of burgers including beef, chicken, and lamb which are all made on site everyday. I counted 65 including the sliders, vegetarian, and junior burgers for the kiddies. Torn between a few, I settled on the Mexican burger being a fan of spice and all that, and a side order of chips, totalling £7.95.

      The Mexican consisted of a 7oz prime Scottish beef patty, handmade Mexican salsa, crushed avocado, fresh tortilla chips, jalapenos, chipotle sauce, lettuce tomato and red onion with a side portion of fresh cut chips with a cajun seasoning priced at £3.35. It was a rather messy affair, the beef itself was fresh, succulent and tender but not too tender it was sloppy. The fresh avocado worked well and so did the salsa which was thick, rich but didn’t take the flavoring away from the rest of it.

      The tortilla chips didn’t handle the salsa well though and didn’t give much of a crunch at all; they were rather soggy in the end. My only criticism I have--and its a pet peeve of mine--was the bun. A good ol’ bun is the make or break for me. Sadly here it was broke and in the end it was the same for the bun.

      To be fair, it held its own for the first few bites and I thought maybe it was going to go the distance, but it surrendered and held the white flag high half way through, crumbling to its death in my salsa filled hands. There is hope for the bun though, there is a "new" option for a fresh brioche instead. Maybe as a result of people having the same experience as me? And maybe that would work better, I'll give it another go for sure.

      The chips, were big, fat, chunky fresh and just how you would want them to be: like your Grandma used to make them for you, the best kind. If you like a little seasoning, the cajun spice worked a treat and wasn’t too over-powering.

      The girlfriend opted for the barbecue, cheese, and bacon (chicken option) priced at £8.45 with a filling of a fresh chargrilled chicken breast, mature cheddar, smoked bacon, smoky barbecue relish, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and red onion and the same with a side portion of chips but without the seasoning.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to grab a bite to give an opinion, as I was too busy gobbling mine down but she seemed satisfied and told me it was "really nice" so there we go, not very insightful but positive at least.

      If you do happen to try HBC and I recommend you do so, please try not to compare it to the likes of Almost Famous and anywhere else you may have tried, it’s different. It’s simple, family friendly and has something for everyone, the kind of place you would take your parents and fussy eaters with the "classic" options on offer.

      A splendid burger joint going back to its roots. Keep an eye out for a second review coming soon! Brioche bun all the way... hopefully!

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