Urban Reef, Bournemouth – burger review

Did you know that Bournemouth was in Hampshire until 1974?

In my book, that makes Bournemouth burgers eligible in my search for Hampshire’s best burger. Especially since it’s been a while since my last one, at Ruby Reds in Winchester.

I had this one at Urban Reef, which is a cafe, restaurant and deli located right on the beach at Boscombe to the east of the town centre.

Unfortunately, Boscombe became bit of a laughing stock when a New Zealand company persuaded the town council to waste more than £3 million on an artificial reef that was meant to enhance surfing conditions but ultimately made a section of the sea a no-go area for swimmers.

The upshot was that the council also invested lots on improving the seafront. There’s now several new shops and restaurants – including Urban Reef – as well as swanky apartments overlooking the water.

About this burger

  • Date visited: 21 October 2016
  • Name on menu: “Urban Guild burger”
  • Price: £14

How this burger scored


Patty – 6/10

Tasty enough. But a densely compacted and slightly overcooked for my liking. Could have done with a bit more seasoning.


Chips – 10/10

Amazing skin-on chunky chips. Cooked to perfection, lightly salted and flavourful. Perfect.


Bun – 8/10

Brioche bun. The bottom part lost its structure but it all held together well and didn’t fall apart mid eating.

Toppings – 6/10

Salty Somerset cheddar cheese, thick smoked bacon and onion marmalade.

The marmalade was a little too sweet for my liking and ruined the overall taste somewhat.

Ambience – 8/10

Airy in summer, cosy in winter, this is a stunning place for lunch with a spacious terrace out front and wall-to-ceiling windows if you choose to dine inside.

The views are spectacular with the Isle of Wight to the left and the Purbeck Hills to right. It’s dog friendly downstairs too.


My only qualm is that it’s a bit poky if you sit near the bar area at the back, as we did.

There’s an upstairs restaurant too, but it was booked out today.

Drinks selection and quality – 7/10

An impressive drinks list, which includes smoothies and even an ever-changing guest coffee.

However, craft beer and real ale is in short supply with only one beer from the Dorset Brewing Co regularly on offer. Today their “Chocwork Orange” stout (I hope I’ve got that right) was on draught. I had a half and enjoyed it alongside my burger, although I couldn’t taste any orange or chocolate!

Condiments – 5/5

Everything you need – (squeezy) English mustard, ketchup, vinegar, salt.

Presentation – 4/5

No messing around. Although I wasn’t keen on the mini pickled onion and gherkin on top of my bun.


Service – 5/5

Efficient, polite and extremely friendly. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff and they even offered to take a photo of us outside on the beach after we’d finished our meals.

Value for money – 5/5

Quite pricey but worth it for the amazing views as we ate.

Penalties – 0

No gimmicks here so no points deductions.


Total: 64/80

Despite a relatively disappointing patty and that sweet onion marmalade, the Urban Guild Burger moves into top spot in my search for Hampshire’s best burger – and it’s not even in Hampshire!

Info: Urban Reef is at The Overstrand, Undercliff Drive, Boscombe, Boscombe, BH5 1BN. Phone 01202 443960.

Tom's rating: