On a recent trip to New York, we noticed a couple of things in particular during our visits to various bars and restaurants to find the best burgers in the city. We noticed that many New York establishments have taken a simplified, almost retro approach with their burgers and also that there are more speakeasy-style bars popping up than ever before. It would seem that a little of that New York flavour has found it’s way across the pond to Glasgow and landed on Sauchiehall street at Cocktail & Burger.
Occupying the former Bier Halle at 322 Sauchiehall street, Cocktail & Burger seem to be looking to bring the burger culture of New York to Glasgow. Currently, the venue is still very reminiscent of the Biere Halle, but I’m sure that over the coming weeks, it will begin to take on a life of it’s own and really embrace the speasyeasy style. What I loved about the speakeasy bars that I checked out in NYC was the run-down look and feel of them all. From graffiti-covered walls featuring messages and doodles left by previous customers, to the unmarked doorways and hand-written wall menus – they all had a very underground, back-room vibe and Cocktail & Burger’s basement venue certainly has that same potential. We visited on their second day of business, so it’s going to take some time for them to find their feet and get settled in. The venue itself; however, has a lot of potential.
The menu offers a choice of a classic hamburger, cheeseburger, signature burger, chicken burger or sliders and is kept fairly simple. There are non-burger items available too, should you not be in the mood for one. We opted for the signature C&B burger and the ‘cheeky cheeseburger’ so that we could sample two different options.
Presentation-wise, we couldn’t fault the burgers. The flattened, smashed patty and other toppings fit perfectly between the brioche and the melted cheese and burger sauce poured out from the side ever so slightly. The burger and fries were served on seperate dishes and as a whole, the presentation was quite minimalistic and very well executed. Speaking of the brioche, this caught our eyes immediately – the bun is toasted to perfection and the glaze gives off an excellent finish. Taste-wise, it was light, fresh and ever so slightly sweetened and held the contents of the burger together very well. One of the better burger buns we’ve had in Glasgow for sure.
The patty itself was very good. If you are expecting a huge slab of beef, then you might want to look elsewhere. What Cocktail & Burger have done is attempt to re-create the popular flattened smashed burger patty that is proving so popular stateside at the high quality fast food burger joints such as Shake Shack and Five Guys, both of which make each patty to order. I’m happy to report that, so far, they have succeeded and, infact, one of the first things I mentioned after tasting the burger was that it instantly reminded me of Shake Shack. I’ll go as far as to say that it’s the closest thing to a Shack Burger that you’ll get in Glasgow. Aside from the smashed patty, another thing that reminded me of Shake Shack’s burgers was the burger sauce that covered the patty, which was absolutely delicious. It reminded me of a cross between Shake Shack’s secret sauce and Big Mac sauce and instantly transported me back to NYC and some of the delicious burgers that we enjoyed there earlier this year. The sauce combined with the melted cheese and the thin, juicy patty to create a very nice finish. The patty itself had quite an intense, beefy flavour; however, the burger sauce mellowed it out a little. Overall, I couldn’t fault the burger on taste and I was left feeling very impressed and just how well they have managed to replicate authentic, high quality US fast food-style burgers. Again, the patty isn’t the biggest, but it isn’t trying to be. What they are going for here is something completely different altogether.
The burgers were served with skinny stealth fries and salad. The fries were certainly crispy, but I felt that the seasoning that came with them could have been a little stronger in order to really separate them from regular skinny fries.
My only criticism of the experience was that there weren’t any customisation options available, at least not according to the menu. I liked the fact that the burger selection was kept fairly small; however, as the menu also offers hotdogs, chicken dishes, salads, desserts and various sides, there are actually more non-burger items on the menu than burgers. At a place called Cocktail & Burger, the focus should be on exactly that. I’d like to see various toppings options made available on the menu that you could possibly add to your burger. For example, I noticed that one of the side dishes comes with chorizo and manchego cheese and that some of the sliders come with toppings such as griddled haloumi – an option to perhaps add some of these things to your burger or even add an extra patty to double-up on would have been great.
In terms of value-for-money, Cocktail & Burger ticked all of the boxes. They were running 2-4-1 burgers when we visited and our total bill came to only £13.05! That was for two burgers, two soft drinks and one dessert. If they manage to keep the quality of the burgers at this level and continue to offer them on a 2-4-1 promotion, even at selected times then this could easily become one of the best value eats in the city.
We’re very much looking forward to seeing what the guys come up with in the coming weeks and months. This is a venture with a lot of potential and we are already planning another visit. The menu definitely needs to focus more on burgers and offer more options to customise your patty, but it’s early days yet and the venue has just opened it’s doors. As already mentioned, if you’ve ever been to Shake Shack or any of the other fresh, high-quality fast food burger joints in the US and end up missing them when you return to our poor selection of McChains in the UK, then Cocktail & Burger should be exactly what you are looking for – good quality burgers at wallet-friendly prices.
Cocktail & Burger is open from 5pm until midnight, Monday to Sunday.
Price: £6.65 (C&B Burger) / £5.95 (Cheeseburger)
+ Great value.
+ Delicious, glazed bun.
+ Flavoursome, smashed-style patty.
+ Closest thing you’ll get to a ‘Shack burger’ in Glasgow to date.
+ Burger sauce was fantastic.
– Needs either more burgers on the menu or at least more options for customisation.
Have you tried this burger? Did you love it? If so, vote for it in the ‘Glasgow’s best burger’ award by clicking here.
Talk to James on Twitter and tell us what you thought of this burger! You can also leave your own review and comments below. We want to hear from you! You can also leave a message or join in on the burger chat on our Facebook page.
Cocktail & Burger
322 Sauchiehall Street
Phone: 0141 353 0953