Chinaski’s, which is named after the autobiographical character created by Charles Bukowski, is hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Located next to the Black Sparrow on North street, Chinaski’s hides in plain sight with it’s unmarked entrance, lack of sign and dark windows – a way to deter troublesome drinkers who may be coming along from Sauchiehall street. Inside, the bar is decorated with candles, low lighting and the works of Charles Bukowski framed on the walls coupled with a small, welcoming beer garden at the rear of the bar – you’ll soon forget that you’re even in Glasgow as you hide away at a booth or table and begin to browse the extensive drinks menu and soak up the cool, top secret surroundings.
The Chinaski’s burger is another that we’d been told about by several of our readers, with many calling it the best burger in Glasgow. We really don’t know why it has taken us this long to visit the bar and only wish that we had visited sooner because this burger is simply incredible.
The menu offers several burgers, including a house burger, chicken and a vegetarian option; however, it was the much talked about Chinaski’s burger that was on our minds. Consisting of a huge, char-grilled beef patty topped with cheese, jalapenos, onion rings, fried chorizo, tomato and gherkins on a toasted seasame bun, the burger impresses from the moment it is brought to your table. Presentation wise, it’s one of the best burgers we’ve encountered so far, with each topping laid out on the patty perfectly. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the placement of each topping as it allows each distinct flavour to merge together perfectly. I cut into my burger to observe the inside and it looked just as mouth-watering as when it was brought over to the table, with the melted cheese running out and on to the plate. The smell of the fried chorizo was enough to make me want to inhale the burger before we had even had a chance to snap the obligatory photos for the review.
In terms of taste, the Chinaski’s burger is as good as it looks. As mentioned previously, the placement of the toppings enhances the overall taste. As you bite in, you are greeted with a strong spicy kick of jalapenos which is then mellowed slightly with the crispyness of the onion rings. Then, the intense taste of the fried chorizo combined with the melted cheese hits with a strong burst of mouth-watering goodness – all of this and we haven’t even got to the delicious patty yet! The patty itself is one of the most well cooked pieces of beef I’ve tasted so far – charred on the outside and a nice slight hint of pink in the middle and flowing with juices. The char-grilled flavour packs a punch and all of the other flavours that are present add to strong beefy flavour. This is a burger that you’ll want to savour every second of, as you watch the juice from the patty run out of the bun and on to your plate. The slices of fried chorizo are certainly worth another mention and once you’ve had it, you’ll never be able to have it on a burger again unless it’s cooked the same way. With regards to the bun, seasame buns can be hit and miss, depending on the size and how it’s prepared. The bun was fairly standard and nothing overly special; however, it was toasted just enough to add a slight crunch and hold all of the ingredients together and doesn’t get overly messy, even with the copius amounts of juice that were running through our fingers and on to the plate.
The burger comes served with fries and you have the option of either skinny or chunky hand-cut. What I very much enjoyed was that the fries weren’t pre-salted when served. I love a huge pile of fries with a burger, but if they are covered in salt I generally won’t eat them. Fortunately, Chinaski’s also gets this just right.
It’s safe to say that the Chinaski’s burger is one of the best that Glasgow has to offer. It’s hard to see how they could improve on it, other than possibly a slightly better bun. The cool, secretetive speakeasy atmosphere and out-of-sight entrance coupled with the impressive range of drinks on offer (the white russian is fantastic) and a great burger make Chinaski’s somewhere that should be at the top of everyone’s list the next time you’re out and about in Glasgow – if you don’t walk right past it, that is.
+ Well cooked.
+ Good combination of toppings.
+ Fried chorizo was fantastic.
– Average bun.
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239 North Street
Phone: 0141 221 0062