How do you eat a gourmet burger?
To me burgers are the classic grab and go fast food. You pick them up double-handed and munch away.
What you don’t do is eat it with a knife and fork. Defeats the object, surely?
If you want a sit-down meal do it properly. If we saw Mr Bean carefully slicing up a burger into mouth-sized morsels we’d roar with laughter, right?
But gourmet burgers tend to be a bit sloppy, dripping and oozing with delicious filling.
You can easily get to grips with a Big Mac but a gourmet burger is likely to collapse in a heap, splash your shirt or dribble down your chin.
The mess factor doesn’t matter if you’re at home but in a restaurant you could end up making a spectacle of yourself.
At least at PAX Burger, Lindley’s new American-style diner, everyone has the same conundrum.
To slice or not to slice? That is the question.
My partner Sian and I had been to PAX before just after it opened so we had an idea what to expect.
See pictures below
On that first trip my burger collapsed after one bite and I was forced into the ‘humiliation’ of a knife and fork.
This time I was keen to see whether the burgers, with the chefs a little more experienced, had made them easier to handle. I found they had.
Gloriously, I was able to bite into my spicy Pax a Punch burger, put it down again and repeat until consumed. A triumph.
Sian, however, was less brave, hedging her bets by cutting her burger – The Lamb One – in two. Very ladylike.
So that’s the mechanics of eating a gourmet burger. How does it taste? Bloomin’ marvellous!
We’d enjoyed our first visit so a second was very welcome. My Pax a Punch does what it says on the tin and has a kick, thanks to the spicy mayo. It’s a thumping 35-day aged Aberdeen Angus beef burger cooked so it’s still slightly pink in the middle.
When you bite into it the meat crumbles satisfyingly allowing the flavour to flood out.
We went to the opening day of Pax Burger - watch below!
PAX Burger though, is about more than just the burgers. Based in the former La Cocina premises in Lidget Street, the restaurant is a cool and trendy venue, a modern twist on a 1950s American diner.
There is a bar area and open kitchen downstairs, a dining area upstairs and a function room in the basement. The functional tables and chairs, not for the vertically challenged, reminded me of a school canteen. It’s ‘cosy’ upstairs to say the least with some tables rather too close for comfort. None-the-less it’s certainly a place to see and be seen. We were pleased to see the prices had dropped a couple of quid since our first visit and fries were included not treated as a side.
There are four burgers: the Pax, the Smokestack, Pax a Punch and The Lamb One with a Licky Lips chicken burger, breaded fish goujons or veggie alternative, a breaded portobello mushroom.
My Pax a Punch (£10) was a beef patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato, smoked BBQ pulled ox cheek, ketchup and spicy mayo in a brioche bun. Three-word verdict: It’s a knockout.
Sian’s The Lamb One (£10) was a well seasoned zartar and cumin lamb patty accompanied by courgettes, aubergine coriander, pomegranate pickle, aioli and feta. A great combination. Sian asked for the red peppers to be left out, a request that wasn’t a problem.
Salt and pepper fries now come with the burger but I splashed out £2 to upgrade to sweet potato fries. Well worth the investment.
We also had the BBQ Sweet and Spicy Wings (£4), not that I’m a fan of fried chicken. In fact I wouldn’t usually cross the road for fried chicken. But for the PAX chicken? Show me the zebra crossing!
The coating just melted in the mouth and the dressing – spring onion, chilli, coriander, cucumber and smashed peanuts – was a real treat. I could be a fried chicken convert.
We had the House Slaw (£2) which, with my sweet tooth, I found a bit sour.
Did we have room for dessert? You must be kidding. I’d happily go to Pax just for the sweet menu (£5 each).
I revelled in an Ultimate Sundae on our first visit – crushed Oreo cookies, marshmallow, popcorn, cream and more – but, in the interests of working through the menu, went for the Butterscotch Waffle with berries, malted milk ice cream and maple syrup this time.
It was warming and cooling both at the same time. The cheesecake, chocolate brownie and banoffee pie Eton mess will have to wait. But not too long I hope.
Sian opted for a boozy Strawberry and Cocoa Shake (£7) made with Kahlua, a coffee-flavoured rum liqueur. I was driving and rather jealous.
As the name suggests, PAX Burger is the latest venture for top chef Eric Paxman, who has Eric’s just down the road.
Looks like he’s onto another winner.