Mellow Mummy: The Handmade Burger Company - New Family Friendly Menu : Taking life as it comes...

Monday 11 November 2013

The Handmade Burger Company - New Family Friendly Menu

Last night, Handmade Burger Co. invited the full Mellow family down to their newer restaurants on the riverside at The Oracle in Reading to see how family friendly their new menu is.

Mr. B. and I love a good burger - I guess we consider ourselves to be burger snobs! - and Handmade Burger, having only been at the Oracle a short while, had already come recommended to us.  On arrival we were all taken in by the atmosphere; it had a sense of gastropub about it; all wooden furniture and blackboards.

The girls were happy to be offered colouring and balloons (I REALLY appreciated being asked by the staff before entertainment like this was offered - more places should think about asking before plonking crayons in front of a toddler!).

The menu was just up our street.  I can't think of a single thing on the menu that we wouldn't have tried; the same went for the junior burger menu.  New on the menu this season are two different sets of sliders - three different mini burgers served in soft, sweet brioche buns.  I went for the beef sliders and thought they were all fab; my favourite was the Beef Cheese Classic which was topped with a decadent sweet relish that left me wanting more.

The girls each chose a junior burger as part of a children's meal which included a burger, a side dish and a soft drink for less than £6.  Both of my girls were happy that the range of side dishes on offer included salad vegetables and corn on the cob (they did steal some of our chips too!).  Oh, and the chips.... the chips.  Proper chip-shop style chips served in huge bowls you just want to dive into.

Mr. B. tried out one of the brand new burgers on the menu - the peppered beef burger.  And very peppery it was too.  The Handmade Burger company make all of their burgers, rolls and sides fresh so they know exactly what goes into each dish.  The burgers aren't just limited to beef - with a choice of lamb or chicken too I was really impressed by the range of different tastes they catered for and the vegetarian options didn't feel like an afterthought, in fact, a chickpea and quinoa burger sounded very tempting!

I would agree with the friend who first recommended the Handmade Burger Co. to me that the burgers are the best I've tasted outside the US.  I think there may be a little work needed on the bread product - all of our burgers had soggy bottoms but they didn't hang around long enough for this to really be an issue as we wolfed them down!

The staff at Handmade in Reading were all really friendly without being patronising; it is nice to be asked more than once during your meal if everything is OK, it shows that it isn't just a tick in a box on a documented process.  I also appreciated the honesty of the staff at the counter who recommended money saving options to me when I placed my order.

We finished our meal off with a couple of ice cream sundaes.  The dessert menu was small and unfussy and do you know what?  they were blimming awesome!  We loved the simplicity of the menu and the honesty and passion behind the reason for the food that they serve - great ingredients don't need a lot of tarting up, do they?

The Handmade Burger Co. had a feeling very much like Nandos (not sure if they will love me or hat me for this).  They concentrate on one thing - burgers - and do it really well.  The style of ordering at the counter and the general approach to service felt similar, as did the small dessert menu.  Well, Nandos seems to have pretty much taken over the world, so why can't this homegrown burger chain do the same too?

We all enjoyed our meal at Handmade and will definitely be going back during weekend shopping trips to Reading.

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