[Image description: dinner is served à la table]
Andrew Cleary, the affable maître d' at House in Goose Green, Altrincham, has finally realised his dream and opened his brain-child, a gourmet burger-bar. He forewarned me a couple of weeks back about its imminent launch, but mid-week my facebook feed received a reminder of the news via our latest (long-needed and most welcome) local news-source, Altrincham Today.
My dining companion and I did not make a reservation, but just turned up around six-thirty. The joint has been cleverly retrofitted to use the features of the edifice and enhance them by constructing matching bare brickwork, butcher's tiling and reclaimed timbers along with factory-style and ship's lighting: utilitarian with panache. I was lucky enough to bump into the builder, who is rightly pleased with his handiwork. He too was thrilled that the restaurant had kept original features. He even admitted to having a hand in constructing some of the furniture. There are school-/church-hall style stacking seats, stools, cushioned banquettes of different heights and dimensions; so seating for most folk.
Wheelchair-users would require assistance up the two very small steps, but inside there is room to accommodate at table. There is also a large door access to one of the three unisex WCs: however, I did not need to use the conveniences, so cannot on this occasion report on facilities.
We were welcomed with a broad smile and permitted to choose where we wished to sit. I like a firm chair to support me, but the table I initially chose was a wee bit small for me, my companion and all my paraphernalia. However, it was not an issue that we wished to change table. We sat on a very comfortable banquette at which I did not suffer from my habitual muscle-cramps, so did not have to stand up to stretch my legs. Both tables we sat at were clean - yes I did brush my hands over to feel for detritus and stickiness - so another tick in the box from my pernickety self!
Apéritifs were offered whilst we mulled over the menu. No-one attempted to rush us. I made my servers aware of my food allergies and they were happy to report that chef Drew would make anything I wanted from scratch to exclude said ingredients. WoW: one cannot say fairer than that.
[Image description: menus & apéritifs]
At this point I should point out that the eatery remained at all times busy without being ram-packed whilst we were there, with a constant flow of diners. Music was sufficiently discreet that one could hold a conversation; but not so quiet that one could not hum or whatever along to a favourite track. The ambience was definitely upbeat. It is rare to see so many folk smiling and laughing in a restaurant, which is testament to the all-round good experience of dining chez Urban.
A couple dined next to us with their two offspring. The children's food went down a treat with them and certainly kept them quiet whilst they scoffed it - bet mum & dad were relieved/pleased!
The parents enjoyed a bottle of fizz from the good selection of drinks, including an alcohol-free Bitburger for the designated drivers (in this instance, my companion) and very reasonably priced glasses of wine (for me!). There is a selection of flavoured Absolut vodkas and various other spirits (including Cheshire's Hunters gin!), which can be mixed with diet tonic for those watching the calories.
Now to the main event - the FOOD. My companion opted for the Firecracker and I the Urban Stack. The former consists of two beef patties and cheese; the latter, one beef patty, a chicken breast and smoked bacon. Both came with fries, but we upgraded to the truffle fries - and so glad we did as they were to die for. We both even ate the bits at the bottom of the bowls! We also ordered a side salad. This consisted of: extremely crisp (when was the last time you can recall being served crisp lettuce in any eatery?) salad leaves, which because they had not been shredded, were easy to pick from the plate; tomato wedges; juliennes of cucumber and a dressing. Personally I should have preferred that I had been given the option of a simple dash of balsamic vinegar or to at least hold the dressing; but this is relatively trivial. The beef patties were incredible: they actually tasted of beef - like a steak or roast beef - rather than beef-burger. On my next visit I am plumbing for the double beef patties option! On my dish, whilst the chicken was æsthetically browned, moist and cooked just right, it lacked any real flavour. My friend sampled and agreed. However, the mildly smoked bacon was a perfect match with the beef flavour, so that neither flavour overpowered t'other. A taste sensation to be sure. And we were both fully sated - so no room for dessert this time.
Service throughout the meal was friendly, attentive and, in respect to my food allergy, very professional. Greetings and salutations came with smiles. We certainly left feeling content and happy. We shall be returning very shortly with friends who are looking forward to the experience. Urban Burger Bar is a great fit in the market quarter. I sincerely hope it goes from strength to strength. %)
[Image description: empty plates, etc.; a sure sign of an excellent repast]