Location: Grey's Quarter, intu Eldon Square, Newcastle
After hearing great reviews from a couple of friends about the new burger place in Eldon Square, I was more than eager to let my tastebuds get down and dirty with a couple of meaty patties.
The food menu
I took a friend along to eat with me at Smashburger and we decided to go halves on one beef burger and one chicken burger, so that we could get a good feel of what the menu had to offer. Usually when you think burger, you think beef, but the topping options for both meats were practically identical and so I felt personally obliged to give them both a taste. The menu was well-rounded and there was a considerable amount of choice including a couple of veggie options as well as salads. There was also an option to create your own burger, however I was more than willing to put my trust in the brains behind the already set burgers. After much deliberation, we decided to order a BBQ, bacon & chedder beef burger from the signature beef menu, and a local SMASH stilton stack chicken burger from the signature chicken menu. Along with our burgers we made two side orders of the SMASHfries (one regular potato and one sweet potato). Admittedly, having to order fries separately as a side with a burger is a pet hate of mine, but in this case it had to be done.
The food arrived promptly and my friend and I were both extremely happy with the mass of food we had in front of us. As agreed, we split the burgers and exchanged halves. We both began with the beef burger filled with BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, chedder and haystack onions. This burger got a big, fat thumbs up from the both of us. I'm partial to a BBQ beef burger and as far as they go, Smashburger's version rated very highly. I sometimes find that burgers with a couple of individual key components in the mix, lack balance and can result in one outweighing the rest; however the Smashburger was perfectly balanced. I even managed to master the burger : bread ratio, which was a bonus!
Less impressive was the local SMASH stilton stack chicken burger, which both my friend and I agreed unanimously on. Both fans of cheese, we ordered the burger because of its inclusion of the stilton however after taking a single bite, it was obvious that we had made the wrong decision. It wasn't that the cheese itself was unpleasant, more so that it's taste was unbelievably unbarring. Because of this, neither of us were able to finish the burger which was a massive shame considering that the chicken was well-cooked.
Then of course we have the sides - which there were plenty of. As soon as the food arrived I knew that I had made the right decision to go for the speciality SMASHfries because 1) they looked incredible and 2) why wouldn't you want to try something new. Fries can be quite repetitive and boring from restaurant to restaurant, so it was refreshing to see an option on the Smashburger menu that had a twist individual to their brand. Both the regular potato and the sweet potato fries were really tasty and it was clear to see why they are a hit with customers.
The drinks menu
I'm the type of person that doesn't like eating without a drink so when it comes to eating out, I'd say that the drinks menu is pretty important. On the menu was a variety of your standard hot drinks, soft drinks, wine, beer and cider. I decided to play it safe and order a Stella Artois Cidre. After a recommendation to do so, my friend ordered one of the hand-spun shakes and in the end chose the Oreo option.
A cider is a cider, so I won't go into that; but how did the Oreo hand-spun shake rate? Considerably well! The shake arrived in a tall fancy glass along with another container filled with whatever couldn't fit in the glass. At most eateries drink residue is more often than not disposed of and I find this a massive waste, so obviously when the extra shake arrived on the side I was delighted. I'm not much of an Oreo fan but I did enjoy my taste of the shake. After a couple of sips alongside the food however, my friend decided that it might have been wiser to order the shake as a dessert rather than a drink, just because of how sweet and filling it was. Nonetheless, on the whole the shake rated well.
Would I describe the food as "smashing"? Taking into consideration the 25% student discount available all year round, I'd say yes! With that sort of student discount, I think you'll agree that we can forgive Smashburger for making us buy their burgers and fries separately. Smashburger is definitely worth a visit if you're mad on burgers; on the other hand, if you're not the biggest burger fan but you're still keen to give Smashburger a visit, going along and taking advantage of the student discount is 100% worth doing.