As you walk towards Skinny’s; tucked away on Otago Street in Glasgow’s West End, it almost feels as if it shouldn’t be there. Located on a fairly quiet side street and surrounded by flats, it’s a rather unusual, almost hidden-away location for a burger joint. To be honest, if I hadn’t heard about it through word of mouth, I’d probably have never known it was there. It does; however, stand out amongst the flats with its brightly lit, old-school sign and large front windows. As we walked towards the front door, I had visions of the locals who live in the neighbouring houses spending their days and nights here, only having to walk seconds from their living room for a burger and a few beers.
We arrived at 5pm on a Tuesday and were the only people there. During our meal, another couple arrived but due to the place being fairly quiet, it was difficult to gauge the atmosphere of the bar. It did appear to be very laid-back, with some great blues on the playlist and super-friendly, helpful staff too. I’d like to visit again on a busier night to see how the atmosphere holds up. Inside, the vibe and décor is New Orleans Diner with low-hanging lights, bright red & metallic seats and some cool art work on the walls. I liked it.
The focus of Skinny’s is burgers and cocktails and they offer their burgers on a 2-4-1 basis all day. The first thing I noticed when looking at the menu; however, was that the burger selection was quite limited compared to the rest of the menu, especially when the focus here is supposed to be on the burgers. There’s a beef burger as well as a fried chicken, halloumi or salmon option. What the menu lacks in burger options, it makes up for in toppings and there’s a lot here to choose from, should you wish to customise your patty. The burgers are served without sides, but there are several to choose from for a few quid extra.
We went for the beef burger and the salmon burger. The beef patty, described on the menu as a blend of short rib and rump, is topped with tomato, pickle and onion marmalade. The salmon burger is topped with shaved fennel, pesto and olives. I also added Swiss cheese to the beef burger for an extra £1 and a portion of fries for £2. The menu states that all burgers are ‘served on your choice of a brioche or pretzel bun’; however, we weren’t given the option when ordering. Perhaps we were supposed to specify when ordering? Regardless, our burgers arrived on brioche buns, which is what I would have asked for anyway.
The burgers arrived served in those plastic baskets that seem to be so popular everywhere nowadays. The fries were served in a separate mini bucket. The beef burger was fairly big, but not to the point where it was going to be impossible to pick up and eat. The patty appeared to be very big and the cheese; which was well-melted, poured over the side ever so slightly. It almost felt strange to be served a burger containing such a thick patty, since loads of burger joints are going down the smashed-style route these days. Overall, the presentation of the beef burger was very good.
Taste-wise, the patty had a lovely, deep smokey flavour. It almost tasted as if someone had fried some chorizo and then drained the excess juice from it into the mince before forming the patty. There didn’t appear to be any chorizo through it from what I could see, but it certainly tasted like it. The smokey flavour, along with the richness of the beef was very intense and there was a surprisingly fiery kick which came through at the end. It was a nicely-seasoned patty overall, with quite a lot of flavour. The pickle & onion marmalade lifted the intensity of the flavour ever so slightly and provided a hint of sweetness at the end of each bite. It wasn’t the juiciest burger I’ve ever had, but I wouldn’t say it was dry by any means. It wasn’t, however, served medium/medium-rare as the menu had stated. Had it been a little more on the medium side and a little juicier – especially with such a high quality, thick patty, this burger would have immediately gone from ‘good’ to ‘great’.
The brioche was light, toasted just right and held everything together well.
The salmon burger didn’t look all that great when sat down in front of us. There was a lot of cucumber on the bun and the whole thing looked a bit flat. The bottom half of the bun was generously topped with pesto and there were olives on the burger too. Despite not being anything great in terms of presentation, the salmon was well cooked and the skin was beautifully crispy. The pesto really lifted the flavour of the salmon and complimented it well, without overpowering it and the slightly crunchy texture that accompanied each bite was satisfying. As mentioned, the burger was also topped with olives and from someone who absolutely loves olives, they felt very unnecessary here. In fact, I’d say that they actually detracted from the burger rather than adding anything to it.
The skinny fries, which cost extra, were decent enough if a bit unspectacular. If you’ve eaten out in Glasgow before, chances are you’ve had these exact fries elsewhere too. On the plus side, they weren’t pre-salted, which is always a good thing!
The 2-4-1 deal is good value, but the burger menu definitely needs more variety. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it feels as if there’s an ‘x-factor’ that’s missing here – something that will give people more of a reason to seek Skinny’s out and not simply head to another burger joint instead. Like I said, I may have missed this place altogether if it hadn’t been for a few random Facebook links here and there. I’d like to see the patties actually cooked medium to medium-rare as the menu states too. I liked Skinny’s and I already can’t wait to get back for those cocktails (rum punch!), but I feel that it needs to make a few changes and offer something a bit more unique if it wants to stand out in a heavily-populated Glasgow food scene and not become ‘just another burger joint’.
Price: £9 (All burgers 2-4-1, toppings £1 extra, fries £2 extra)
+ Good quality beef patty, lots of flavour
+ 2-4-1 good value
+ Well cooked salmon
+ Pesto complimented the salmon well.
– Not enough variety on the burger menu.
– Olives on the salmon burger were unnecessary.
– No bun option offered.
– Would have preferred the patty a bit more on the medium/medium rare side as stated on the menu.
Have you tried this burger? Did you love it? If so, vote for it in the ‘Glasgow’s best burger’ award by clicking here.
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61 Otago Street
Telephone: 0141 339 8455
LEGAL / COPYRIGHT INFORMATION James vs. Burger Photography by Pamela Graham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.jamesvsburger.com.
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