21 Mar 2016
Surely no business would be brave enough to bring a new burger joint to a city that boasts its very own Burger Boulevard, am I right? Apparently not, because burger afficionados Byron have recently expanded their operations in to Scotland (finally) with branches opening in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
You are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to burgers in Glasgow, in fact my Glasgow Burgerthon barely scratches the surface. With a whole host of big name chain restaurants, booming independent businesses and even the odd pop up, it's a city for burger lovers. But how does Byron compare?
Last week I headed along to check out the new restaurant for myself, bringing my trusty blogging companion Lis along to assist in the judging. She took me for steak a couple of weeks ago, so it was only fair - right? Benefits of blogger friends!
Located on West George Street, the new Byron restaurant is the perfect place to stop off for a bite in the city centre. It's a couple of streets up from the biggest concentration of burger restaurants, which I imagine will work in their favour. The large, roomy restaurant benefits from being housed in one of Glasgow's many former bank buildings, which are usually pretty impressive if you aren't already familiar with them.
Straight away I was struck by how friendly the staff were - as well as their amazing "Cheese" slogan t-shirts which I'm desperate to have in my wardrobe. They were all smiling, welcoming and obviously knew the menu well. This was particularly handy when it came to matching milkshakes with the best booze, as they seemed to have the perfect combinations nailed already! Irn Bru and Bourbon milkshakes make for a surprising treat, I'll have you know.
Speaking of the menu, let's talk about the most important part: food.
Byron's main focus is producing something that's relatively simple. but producing it well. If you're not a fan of burgers or salads, then it's not really going to be your kind of place. Alongside their "proper" beefburgers, they also serve a selection of chicken, mushroom and bean burgers, with the ability to create your own with personalised toppings which is always a nice touch.
I'd heard people raving about the "Freddar" cheese too many times to ignore, so after lots of deliberation I ended up with a classic beefburger topped with this magical cheese concoction and some crispy fried onions. "Freddar" is made up of three different types of cheese, Red Leicester, classic cheddar and some parmesan, making for a rich, flavourful addition to any burger. As a big cheese lover, I was sceptical as to how good it could really be, but I think with a little more tang it would be perfect.
The burgers themselves are recommended to be served as medium rare, however the servers are quick to mention this in case you prefer otherwise. Medium rare is perfect for me, and I absolutely love when a restaurant takes the time to cook a burger to your preference. It makes a difference! I found my burger to be incredibly tender, but surprisingly easy to eat. It was well seasoned, although maybe could have benefited from a little more jazz.
The selection of sides on offer doesn't stray too far from what you'd expect, however the courgette fries are a bit of an usual addition that I've heard mixed reviews of. I suppose it would depend on your initial feelings towards courgettes, and I am not a fan... so I played it safe with some pretty damn good sweet potato fries.
One thing I really loved about Byron is that the burgers didn't feel too heavy, and as a result I felt like I had plenty of space available to try and tackle a dessert. Not that being full usually stops me... The dessert menu is short but sweet, and covers most bases. I obviously opted for a chocolate brownie, as always, and hot damn it was insane. So soft and ridiculously indulgent, as well as being made in house. It was huge, and I'm disappointed to say that I didn't finish it, but I gave it my best and I'll definitely be heading back for more.
Overall, it's tough to compare a big burger boss like Byron to the array of independents in Glasgow, but I'd say it's a pretty good choice. Whilst it wasn't perfect, it has a nice "refined" vibe and the food was of a really good standard. It's a safe choice in my eyes, and the larger restaurant size is a big benefit. Byron isn't overly expensive, but you'll definitely find cheaper elsewhere if that's a deal breaker for you. All in all, I'd definitely go back again... even if it is only to try conquer the brownie and steal one of the "cheese" t-shirts.
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