I had never set foot in the Arches Café Bar until very recently. In the past, I’ve been in the Arches for gigs and being scared silly during Alien War, but never for food. To be honest, it was never a place that was on my ‘burger radar’; however, when I recently heard about the addition of a Buckfast burger to the menu, I knew that a visit was in order.
Inside, the café looks great with various seating areas spread out over two levels and lots of little nooks & crannies to hide in. There are a couple of massive windows above the bar and sitting at our table, it was easy to forget that you had just walked in to the same venue via a small doorway underneath a gloomy bridge on Argyle street. This is a very cool-looking bar indeed.
I ordered the ‘Bucky Burger’ and added cheese for an extra £1. On the lunch menu, it’s served with hand-cut chips for £7. I’d imagine that some folk wouldn’t even entertain the thought of eating a burger that contains the old Scottish tonic, but I was far too intrigued not to.
When the burger arrived, everything was nicely put together on the plate but I struggled to actually see the patty without lifting the top half of the bun, which was much bigger than the contents. Presentation isn’t everything, but the bread-to-meat ratio was off here. Towards the end of the burger, I was left with a lot of bread and nothing else.
The patty itself was charred on the outside – perhaps to the point of being a bit overcooked, but I wouldn’t say it was dry. The pork was quite juicy but ultimately, it wasn’t much different to other pork burgers that I’ve had in the past. It’s described on the menu as ‘pork meat infused with a Buckfast & soy reduction’ and perhaps I went in expecting too much, but if I hadn’t known what the burger was before ordering, I’d have said it was just a plain pork burger with cheese. I wasn’t expecting the burger to taste like I was drinking a bottle of buckfast, but I was looking for more of a pronounced flavour or at least to be able to taste the buckfast and soy a little bit, since it’s what the whole dish is marketed around. I think that going in, I was expecting this bold flavour to hit me straight away from the first bite, but it just wasn’t there. As mentioned though, as a standard pork burger I didn’t have many complaints.
The bun was a high point – beautifully glazed, perfectly toasted and held everything together as well as you could hope for.
The handcut skin-on chips were excellent and tasted very earthy and fresh. They had just the right amount of crunch and didn’t stay on my plate very long. I could have happily eaten another portion or two. In addition to this, despite not being burger-related, we also ordered a chorizo, halloumi and cherry tomato salad which was very, very good. I’d recommend that, served with a huge portion of the chips on the side.
This wasn’t a bad burger by any means, but I think my dissapointment was heightened by the fact that I was expecting something a bit more unique and much more pronounced flavours than were actually present here, considering the ‘Bucky Burger’ gimmick. Had this been on the menu as simply a pork burger with cheese and had been a little less charred on the outside, this would probably have been a much different review. The Arches is a great location, the fries were great and the salad we had was excellent too. Unfortunately, the Buckfast burger didn’t quite hit the mark.
Price: £7 (cheese £1 extra)
+ Juicy pork
+ Good, well toasted bun
+ Great chips
– Buckfast & Soy reduction was not prominent enough, was a struggle to find the flavour.
– Slightly overcooked
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The Arches Cafe Bar
253 Argyle Street
Telephone: 0141 565 1035
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