This is not the first bandwagon I’ve jumped on and it will surely not be the last - you may have read about my recent time aboard the ‘burger bandwagon’ at London’s Meat Market (see here).
But it has taken me some time to leap aboard Manchester’s own “oh so trendy” Almost Famous for reasons that, complete with an undisclosed location, bold burger claims and an “edgy attitude” (they say ‘frick’ and ‘fricken’ a lot in their media AND TYPE IN UPPER CASE… “Get them!”) the whole thing seemed to me… well, a bit childish.
Originally a “Pop Up’ (which popped up a few months back) AF now seem to have become ‘legal’ – they are now a bit like going to Glastonbury and actually buying a ticket… “That’s Rock n’ Roll, for ya kids!”
Once located, at the top of the stairs, expect to be faced with a choice of doors: slightly concerned that I could well be walking in on a spotty adolescent masturbating furiously into a sock, I went for the one that looked like a door to a teenager’s bedroom - complete with signs saying “Welcome to hell” and “Go away.” (Apparently there’s a sign that says no photography, but I didn’t see it.)
Thankfully, I was not greeted by the sight I feared (although there were a few ‘merchant bankers’ in the room) – the walls were not painted black, covered in concert tickets and band posters and the one featuring a spliff smoking alien saying, ‘Take me to your dealer’. Nor was the floor covered in dirty laundry and pizza boxes… there wasn’t even a road sign propped up in the corner.
Instead, I was greeted by a friendly girl and a Daft Punk soundtrack = good so far. Whilst, obviously at some point I made the transition from longhaired layabout to responsible citizen - I graduated from university removed my piercings, ditched the grubby Vans, put my BMX into storage – during this metamorphosis I must have also decided that I’d prefer my burgers served on a china plate, with a proper napkin.
I ordered the “Triple Nom Burger” (don’t even get me started on the knobby use of the word ‘nom’) – the burger itself was quite good but I’m just not a fan of eating one out of my nan’s plastic peg basket (or drinking out of a jam jar).
But hey, I don’t feel the need to be as “different” as all the identically dressed people that seemingly hang out at Almost Famous – maybe if one of Almost Famous’ customers really wanted to be “an individual”, they should take in their own china plate and pull a proper napkin from under their strategically tilted baseball cap… and while they’re at it, pull their trousers up! “I don’t want to see your underpants!” #grumpyoldman.
Back to the burger: I liked the demi brioche bun and the crunch of red cabbage. The burger patties themselves are a bit on the thin side for my taste and I found the whole thing a little greasy – as a comparison, I find that SoLita (around the corner) thanks to added bone marrow and their Inka Grill cooking method, manage to produce a burger that is just as “chin-dribbling good” and “dirty” but without the unpleasant greasy undertone.
I also ordered ‘Winning Fries’ – I liked these very much, especially with the occasional sweet potato fry having snuck into the mix.
The ‘Suicide Wings’ though were a little more disappointing; the wings themselves were good and meaty and fell from the bone – the disappointment came from the ‘suicide sauce’ which I was led to believe was spicy… to me it seemed more like a ‘Cry For Help Wings’ (I’m certain that Nando’s medium has a greater kick!)
Whilst I’d perhaps rank AF’s burgers on the C list, the name ‘Almost Famous’ conjures up images of Z list celebrities - but unlike Big Brother, once you have ‘passed the task’ of finding the place and have been given the nod of approval of the burly doorman (why they need a doorman at two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, I’m not so sure) sadly you are still on basic rations – not the luxury budget you might expect.