With over 20 locations in the UK, it’s likely that you live relatively near to a Handmade Burger Co. restaurant. But is it worth the visit? We decided to check out our closest branch in Reading to give you our opinion on the whole experience.
It’s Friday evening in Reading town centre and the restaurants are starting to fill up with hungry punters. After making our way along the Riverside stretch of eateries, we find ourselves waiting in a queue just inside the entrance of Handmade Burger Co.
A helpful waitress tells us the wait time is around half an hour, so we decide to commit ourselves to the queue all for the name of research. This gives us plenty of time to get a feel for the restaurant and to read the menu about 10 times over. And it’s a fairly long one; there are over 40 burgers to choose from.
Finally we get our table and the same waitress gives us our menus and tells us where to go to order our food. If you’ve ever been to a GBK, it’s much the same concept: you choose what you want and pay at the till, then the food gets brought to your table once it’s done.
I have to make a few attempts with my order. There are no sweet potato fries or brioche buns left, and there is only one brand of craft beer available, despite there being a whole section on the menu.
Despite this, I manage to order a bottle of Peroni to go with my £8.65 ‘American Cheese’ burger, which is made up of a 7oz beef patty, onion rings, handmade American mustard and gherkin relish, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and red onion. It all comes enveloped in a sour dough bun.
Sean orders the last remaining craft beer, a Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, to go with his £8.45 ‘Barbecue, Cheese & Bacon’ burger, topped with relish, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and red onion. He pays a little extra for some onion rings to be added, probably because he had food envy from my own order.
We order one side to share as we’re told they’re large enough. The rosemary salt chips sound the most appealing to us, so they win out over the peri-peri and cajun flavours.
The food itself only takes around 15 minutes to arrive at our table, and we’re very happy when it arrives due to the wait time for a table when we arrived at the restaurant.
Digging into our meals, we quickly discover that the burgers are cooked well done, which is often to be expected in larger chain restaurants. Despite our preference for a pinker patty, we still gobble up the burgers and leave only crumbs on our plates.
Our hunger drives us to finish the meal, but we still discuss all of our burger components along the way. I admit to my preference for a brioche bun instead of the sour dough one I was eating, and Sean gets a little frustrated with his soggy bun from the barbecue relish.
Our overall opinion
We both thought that the service was great, but thought that the burgers could have been just that little bit better. In all honesty, punchier flavours and a more refined menu could go a long way here.
In a restaurant that tries to cater for so many people with over 40 burgers on the menu, it’s not too unusual to discover that quantity takes a slight edge over quality.
The Handmade Burger Co we visited is located at Riverside, The Oracle Shopping Centre, Reading, RG1 2AG. This review took place on 27/03/15.
Latest posts by Hannah Butcher (see all)
- GBK burger review in Newbury: new restaurant launch - April 8, 2017
- Burger menu review at Oxfordshire’s hidden gem pub - April 2, 2017
- We review Burger & Lobster in Bath - January 8, 2017