In search of Hampshire’s best burger [series]

Last updated: 31 July 2017

Join me as I search for Hampshire’s best burger. Find out who’s currently top of the leaderboard and how I’m scoring the burgers I eat. You can also check out my in-depth review of each burger.

Hampshire’s best burger leaderboard

  1. The Railway, Ringwood (70/80 – visited 6 November 2016)
    The Rockstone, Southampton (70/80 – visited 31 May 2017)
  2. 7Bone Burger Co, Southampton (68/80 – visited 15 March 2017)
  3. Urban Reef, Bournemouth (64/80 – visited 21 October 2016)
  4. Chalk Valley, Southampton (63/80 – visited 3 December 2016)
  5. Ruby Red’s Burger Shack, Winchester (62/80 – visited on 6 August 2016)
    Feed, Portsmouth (62/80 – visited 16 November 2016)
    The Crown Inn, Bishop’s Waltham (62/80 – visited 30 April 2017)
  6. Boat House Cafe, Swanwick Marina (59/80 – visited on 12 February 2017)
    Bar and Block, Whiteley (59/80 – visited 24 July 2017)
  7. Shrimp and Burger, Southampton (58/80 – visited on 2 January 2016)
    The Wykeham Arms, Winchester (58/80 – visited on 2 April 2016)
    Bill’s Southampton (58/80 – visited on 23 April 2017)
  8. The Bat and Ball, Clanfield (57/80) – visited on 13 February 2016)
  9. The Old Vine, Winchester (56/80 – visited on 28 November 2015)
    The Buck’s Head, Meonstoke (56/80 – visited on 24 December 2016)
  10. The Fisher’s Pond, Eastleigh (54/80 – visited on 21 November 2015)
    Nando’s, Whiteley (54/80 – visited 13 May 2016)
  11. The Bush Inn, Ovington, New Alresford (51/80 – visited on 12 December 2015)
  12. Five Guys, Whiteley (50/80 – visited on 2 July 2016)
  13. The White Hart, Sherfield-on-Loddon (47/80 – visited on 10 January 2016)

On tour leaderboard

  1. Bareburger, Manhattan, New York City (64/80) – visited on 14 March 2016

Backstory and scoring criteria

It’s the same story every time we go out for something to eat.

I’ll pick up the menu with an adventurous mindset, determined to try something new or a little different from the norm.

I’ll read through it several times whilst trying to catch a glimpse of what the people on the tables around me are eating to help with my decision.

After buying some extra thinking time by sending the waiter back a few times, I’ll finally make my choice. At last I’ve decided to go for something different or something I haven’t had before.

But, when the waiter starts taking our group’s order, I’ll panic. By the time he gets to me, I can’t help myself. I hear the words come out of my mouth, but I can’t do anything about it: “I’ll have the burger please”.

Yep, every time we go to a pub or restaurant for a meal it’s pretty much certain that I’ll have a burger of some description.

Building burger expertise

Over the years, I’ve become bit of a connoisseur of the humble hamburger and its chicken- and veggie-based cousins.

First you’ve got the burger patty itself. How well is it cooked? Is it homemade? What’s it seasoned with? Any other meats or unusual ingredients added?

Then there’s the bun. Classic roll, brioche, flatbread, pitta – there are a few options on offer these days.

What about the accompanying chips or fried potatoes? They’re so simple to cook, yet so many places get them wrong. (Don’t get me started on chips that come out in a metal pail.)

Overall presentation is vital as well. You’re not going to want to eat anything that doesn’t look the part are you? And, what’s it served on? (I have a bit of a problem with eating a meal off a chopping board, by the way.)

Condiments are also key to a great burger. I need a strong Colman’s type English mustard when I eat beef and a good mayo with chicken. I also like good quality ketchup with my chips.

Drinks are important too. I usually like a well-kept real ale with a beefburger, but I’m not adverse to a milkshake or soft drink in the right setting.

The service and ambience also influences whether the experience is good or bad. Poor service or an uncomfortable setting pretty much guarantees that I won’t be returning.

Finally, there’s the toppings – I’m a fan of cheddar cheese, sweetcure bacon and tomato on my burger. But I’m also open to other combinations.

Best burger scoring criteria

As I eat so many burgers, I’ve decided to seek out the best burgers Hampshire has to offer.

Whenever I have a burger in a Hampshire pub, restaurant, takeaway, stall, or other establishment I’ll be scoring it and writing up the results. (It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.)

I’ll be scoring them on the following criteria – yes, I’m taking this pretty seriously:

  • Patty – score out of 10
  • Chips – out of 10
  • Bun – out of 10
  • Toppings – out of 10
  • Ambience – out of 10
  • Drinks selection and quality – out of 10
  • Condiments – out of 5
  • Presentation – out of 5
  • Service – out of 5
  • Value for money – out of 5

For a bit of fun, I’ll also be invoking one-point penalties for each the following:

  • Less than eight chips.
  • Burgers that arrive on a wooden board or slate.
  • Chips that come in a metal container.
  • The word “artisan” used on the menu.

Let battle commence!

  • I love a good beef burger. I remember having a few in my time in Hampshire. I can’t remember any of the names of the places (I was a student back when I lived there) but I remember nice country pubs with log fires, big, beefy, burgers and beers. Heaven! Good luck with your quest. It sounds fun.

    Sally @ Life Loving

  • Where were you studying? I need to check out a few more city places.

  • I was at the Uni of Winchester. Formely known as King Alfies. I remember there being a nice country pub in Alresford. Can’t for the life of me remember the name though.