Although fast food burger chains like McDonalds and Burger King have operated in the UK since the 70s and 80s, premium burger restaurant chains are a more recent phenomenon in these parts.
Most have opened in the last few years. One of the veteran chains of this type however is Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), founded in 2001.
GBK recently opened at Southampton’s Guildhall Square. I popped along to see if its 16 years of experience in burger making could make it a contender for the home of Hampshire’s best burger.
About this burger
- Date visited: 18 September 2017
- Name on menu: Classic Cheese” (6oz) with “small chunky skin-on fries”
- Price: £8.45 (lunch menu offer – usually £11.45)
How this burger scored
Patty – 7/10
A well-seasoned beef patty, cooked medium. Juicy, but not greasy. Not too dense in texture either.
The meat is from grass-fed cattle.
A solid effort.
Chips – 8/10
Double-cooked chunky-style chips with skin.
Fresh-tasting and fluffy with a slight crunch.
A few small stragglers in the portion, but good-sized chips overall.
Bun – 9/10
A lovely soft sesame seed bun. Well toasted and held the burger together well. Fresh.
Toppings – 8/10
House mayo, relish, cheddar cheese and salad (tomato and lettuce).
The cheese was thick and tangy and the salad fresh. I don’t recall much relish in the burger, which is just as well as I often prefer it without.
Mayo was lightly spread.
Ambiance – 6/10
The restaurant has a simple and moderate art deco theme. It fills the massive purpose-built room – which has enough space for two of maybe three floors – tastefully.
We sat at the front of the restaurant to watch the world go by as we ate. There’s some street seating too.
The back of restaurant is a little dark but you do get to see the chefs cooking your burger in the open plan kitchen.
Drinks selection and quality – 5/10
There’s a good selection of soft and alcoholic drinks, including wine, beer and cider.
On the beer front, it’s a bit disappointing with only one draught beer and an uninspiring craft beer selection from the likes of Brewdog and Meantime.
The one ray of light was an exclusive-to-GBK bottle-conditioned pale ale – “44 Northcote” (5%). I ordered one to go with my burger, but it wasn’t malty or rich enough to pair well with the beef.
Condiments – 5/5
Ketchup and English mustard available for the chips and meat respectively, so no issues there.
The restaurant also sells an interesting selection of premium sauces.
Presentation – 5/5
Looked the part, and the little flag highlighting how the meat was cooked was a nice touch.
Service – 5/5
At GBK, you order at the bar. Service was effective and friendly and the staff were good at explaining things for us GBK newbies.
Value for money – 4/5
The lunch deal worked out well for us. But a visit in the evening could work out quite pricey compared to other burger restaurants in the area.
Penalties – minus 1
The chips arrived in the dreaded metal pail. That’s a one point penalty according to the rules.
With great service, a good burger patty, nice chips, a good bun and excellent toppings, this is a strong effort from GBK.
The main factor that prevented it vying with the top spots in my search was the beer selection.
Info: Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) is at 150 Above Bar Street, Southampton, SO14 7DU. Call 023 8022 7767 or reserve a table online.