Newbury has been spoilt for choice burger-wise recently. With a Gourmet Burger Kitchen opening just a couple of weeks earlier, 7bone was now also opening its doors to the public in the West Berkshire market town.
Being a Newbury lad myself I was somewhat surprised that the small yet growing chain had picked the town to set up its newest restaurant, given it had previously only chosen larger towns and cities (including the nearby Reading just a couple of months earlier). I was also particularly interested to see how it was received by the (somewhat set in their way) locals, whose main burger fix had previously come in the form of Rios – a small yet legendary takeaway joint tucked away down an alleyway on the edge of the town centre.
So when we were invited to the preview night of the latest 7bone we very happily accepted. Not for free this time (unlike the Newbury GBK preview night we were also invited to) we were told, even with the promise of a review in return. However, the food would be half of the already very reasonable menu price, so we certainly couldn’t complain too much.
Upon entering the restaurant I was amazed to see how they had made use of the space. The building, which was previously occupied by a small premium deli store, was akin to a tardis, spread across three floors stretching to the basement below. From the outside I fully expected it to be a tiny restaurant with tables crammed in side by side. Yet they’d really managed to take advantage of being located on the bridge over the Kennet and Avon canal, and the space below them that this offered.
After a friendly greeting we were shown to the bar on the very bottom floor to order a drink; it was just a Coke for me due to driving duties, and a chocolate milkshake for Hannah. It then wasn’t long until we were shown through to our table in the windowless basement.
Despite its fairly dingy decor, the room was buzzing with excitement. The lucky guests were clearly enjoying of being part of something so new and different in a town which is predominantly filled with larger chain restaurants.
We took a look through the menu, which we found was largely the same as the one at the Southampton restaurant, which Hannah had reviewed previously. I guess if you’re onto a winner already, why change the system!
In Southampton Hannah had the amusingly-named ‘prince charles in overrated’ burger, so this time opted for the ‘peter green’ – topped with texan all steak chilli, cheese, American mustard and jalapenos. I decided to go for the ‘shuffle to straight time’ – topped with kansas style fried onions, cheese and American mustard.
Hannah strongly suggested getting a Red Basket Meal – an incredibly well-priced deal which includes your burger (or hot dog should you prefer) as well as a side, all for under £10. She also highly recommended the hot wings after enjoying them so much in Southampton, so we went for one deal including the wings, and the other with seasoned fries, and planned to share everything between us.
This ended up being a great plan – although the sides were labelled as “small”, the portion sizes were easily sufficient to share around.
Almost straight away I could tell that this was a burger I was going to enjoy, with beef which was so soft it melted in the mouth. In terms of taste and texture it reminded me of the burgers served at Meat Liquor, though perhaps ever so slightly bigger and better.
There were two options for the meat – either ‘well done’ or ‘with a bit of pink’. I had originally asked for medium, though was told by our waitress that they weren’t allowed to call it that. I’m not really sure why, though I’m presuming it’s so there’s less room for fuss if it comes out not exactly how you’d expect. But it does seem a bit strange, especially when GBK inserts little flags into their burgers stating ‘Medium’, ‘Rare’ etc. based on your preference!
Despite this, I was more than happy with the amount of pink running through my beef patty, which helped it to retain it’s bold, juicy flavour.
With just cheese melted into the top bun, and onion sat on the bottom part of the bun, the burger’s accompaniments were simple. Yet this meant that they didn’t take away from the beef, which was happy to stand out as star of the show.
Hannah unfortunately wasn’t fully satisfied with her choice. Although she thought that the individual elements of the Peter Green tasty, she found that the chilli did take some of the attention away from the burger patty, particularly as it meant that there were two soft beef textures competing against each other.
She’d probably choose the ‘price charles is overrated’ again next time, knowing how great this was in Southampton. To be fair, that’s one that I also want to try myself!
I loved my shuffle to straight time burger however, and easily finished every morsel. Though I should also give a special mention to the sides, especially the chicken wings. These had clearly come from a bird that had enjoyed a gluttonous lifestyle, and they were seasoned to perfection – with just the right amount of hot sauce coating them that they were incredibly flavoursome, with being too overbearing.
They also came with a blue cheese sauce, which seems to go exceptionally well with hot wings, despite it not being something I’d want to eat with pretty much anything else.
Overall, despite it being a typical preview night, with fairly slow service and some technical hitches along the way, I’m delighted that 7bone has opened its doors in my hometown.
It’s a great sign for Newbury that it’s now being seen as somewhere that restaurants like this can open their doors. And judging by the reaction of the people inside 7bone that evening, I’ve no doubt that it will become a roaring success in the town.
7bone Newbury is located at 4 Bridge St, Newbury RG14 5EX. The review took place on April 21st 2017.
No special treatment was given to us in exchange for the review. We did receive 50% off our bill, though this was the case for everyone attending the preview evening. All associated costs are included in the image below.