Thursday, August 27, 2009

Year of Eating Differently Redux: Gourmet Burger Union

I had a friend who went to KFC twice in her life, the second time because she couldn't believe how disgusted she'd been the first time that she went.  Sadly, consistency was the only positive hallmark of her experience.  So it has been for me at Gourmet Burger Union.

Things look positive enough to begin with.  Habituees of London will have a faint feeling of déjà vu - there's two competing chains in England - Hamburger Union and Gourmet Burger Kitchen - that GBU seems to be channelling the spirit of, but then how many different ways do you want to brand a burger joint?  The food isn't going to be improved by the packaging that much…  GBU leans towards Gourmet Burger Kitchen's approach - there's a huge swathe of different choices of burger, unlike the more spartan fare that Hamburger Union would have.


However, there's a bit of a fault.  The vegetable burger is simply atrocious.  I can't say anything for the others on the menu, but the Happy Cow is dried up and lacking in texture, and I felt disgruntled after eating it - the greasy aftertaste left on my lips, the less than wonderful salad accompliment and the frankly slimy onion-based topping - it just didn't make me feel happy.  Further, the fries tasted like washing-up liquid.  I'm not sure how they accomplished that miracle, but it wasn't a one-off - I thought I'd give them a fair crack of the whip, but second time round the fries tasted the same.

Actually, first time around the burger was pretty decent - moist, greasy and flavourful.  Since then, they've kept consistency on the fries (boo) and not on the burger - well, it's been grim since.  I suppose this is a little unfair - there are a couple of other vegetarian burgers on the menu to try - but on the basis of this part of the menu, they've got some work to do.

Oh, and service.  Every time I go there and request a burger to go, they've plated it up and I've had to ask the cook to put it into a bag to go.  Every time I've wanted to eat in, the reverse.  Something needs sorting out here, people.


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