There is something of a burger boom going on in Canterbury at the moment. Last week much to everyones excitement Byron opened up by the Cathedral gates, and Gourmet Burger Kitchen has started to covert a shopfront down the end of the High Street. There are also rumours that what used to be Bar Eleven if you can remember back that far is being fitted up as an indie burger joint, and that Ed's Diner is coming to town. So, I thought it was high time I finally got around to visiting The Burger Brothers residency at Alberry's, a now refurbished version of the bar I spent many an evening in with school friends as an eighteen year old.
The Burger Brothers are a burger outfit inspired by frequent trips to New York who started out life as a residency in the The Deal Hoy pub, a great little local in Deal, just up the road from me. The idea was to be able to serve up really great burgers, similar to those we all know and love from the endless chains that were popping up in London from about 2012 onwards, but here in Kent so we had something to enjoy locally. They've now moved on in Deal and will be opening up their next Deal location at The Clarendon Hotel (watch this space) very soon, and they also have locations in Dover, Broadstairs and Canterbury. While I do actually live bang between Dover and Deal, I thought I'd head to their Canterbury location as most of the local food features I write are based in the city and I know some of you like to head down on the train from London (though, I can also recommend catching the High Speed to Deal for a day at the seaside!)
I'd been held up in the phone shop (typical British High Street frustrations!) so by the time Daddy and I got there (it has been nice to go out for a few family meals since I spent so much time away in America) my Mother had already selected a beautiful, fruity blush pink Californian rosé off of the Alberry's wine list. We'd intended to get beer to go with our burgers, but after a sip of hers we went for a glass each, and paired with the all American menu, it added a nice little, less predictable twist to our meal.
To kick off proceedings I decided that we'd be remiss if we were not to sample the loaded nachos. Taking the cheese off but keeping the salsa, soured cream, guac and jalapeños, we compensated by loading it up with a load of their barbecue beef brisket. I'd tried it when I saw the brothers at Walmer Food Festival, so I knew this was going to be a good, all-American dish. I'd recommend this as a great sharing plate if there are many of you at the table; order it with your drinks when you sit down so you can all dig in to the rich, indulgent meat and the classic toppings while you decide on your burger and slider combinations.
However, the starter my father and I were practically fighting over were the lime chicken goujons. Full of so much delicious Southern flavour, these fat, juicy and tender chicken strips are a must order; I think we all wished that we'd had our own order! 1/3 of the plate was not enough. Honestly one of the best American style dishes I've eaten in quite a while, including in America this Spring!
While we could have ordered regular fries or onion rings by way of sides, we thought it would be a real shame if we did not go for some of the more interesting, All-American menu items. I'm no stranger to loaded fries from my beloved TLT Food Steak Fries in Westwood, Los Angeles, so after I explained what they were to the rest of the table, we ordered a bowl of Beer Cheese Fries for the cheese eaters, and Pulled Pork loaded fries for everyone to share. I think the picture really speaks for itself, doesn't it? When they cleared our plates away for dessert, even though I was already quite full, I would not let the waitress take the pork fries away!
Shall we talk about the sliders? We all decided to order mini, 2oz slider versions of different burger options so we could try as many different options as possible, though you can also order 4oz burgers for a light lunch, or 6oz full size versions for a proper meal. These were the two Daddy opted for, and while he's not really one for elaborating on what he is eating, he polished off very, very quickly if that is any indication of how delicious they were? On the left we have the 'Cheese n' Jam' (beef patty, jack cheese and bacon jam) and the 'Brother' (smokey beef patty, smokey crispy bacon, house barbecue sauce, red onion and house smoked cheddar).
My mother had a slider I was very jealous of, the 'Little Italy', a patty with mozzarella melted over, rocket, a parmesan crisp and spicy spreadable salami. It sounds like a simply wonderful combination, which I might try next time I go, sans parmesan (I can eat mozzarella, thankfully!). Then, like me she is a bit of a patty purist, so she went for the 'Clean' burger, just beef, pickled onion and a bit of pickle. Simple, and perfect.
For my second slider I tried the 'Spanish Harlem', a patty served with roasted pepper mayo, chorizo and a fried quails egg. I did not enjoy this as much as I did the clean version, but it is still a good, solid slider for those of you who are chorizo fans, or indeed don't like cheese/ cheese in your burgers.
We were all pretty much stuffed full towards the end, but simply had to try dessert. So, we had the classic New York Cheesecake, served with a delicious raspberry coulis. Now, as a family we're more fridge rather than baked cheesecake fans, so I was not really down with the texture (though the flavour was great), but everyone else really enjoyed it. One for the New York Cheesecake purists out there!
I really enjoyed our meal, and it was great to see something so independent (stay tuned for my Byron Burger Canterbury review) and unique for our little corner of East Kent that I did not have to get on a train to London for. I'm excited for their launch in Deal, just up the road from me (though I think sadly I'll be in Glasgow for the actual party) and I really recommend you check them out whenever you're visiting our part of the world.