Monday 13 August 2012

Almost Famous Burgers, Manchester

Click here for a post about the new Great Northern  Almost Famous 

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 – the walls were not painted black, covered in concert tickets and band posters or 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!” 

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.


  1. Brilliant review Mr Hoss!

    1. Thanks... not certain that everyone shares your view ;-)

  2. C grade burger? Best in the City, no doubt.

    Assuming the mention of the Solita burger is down to the fact the boys from Solita paid for your trip to Italy?

  3. Certainly 'one of the best' in the city... I have no real problems with AF's food. The best burger I've had and therefore my 'A' list burger is Daniel Boulud's DB Mac Foie Burger... SoLita's and Aiden Byrne's burgers that include bone marrow are on my 'B' list... Pipping offerings such as AF's and Meat Matket's into third place.

    I have never been to Italy paid for by SoLita or otherwise... What s strange comment!

  4. What dominates this review is what other customers were wearing in AF, which in itself is odd (I have also never once seen anyone in AF with their boxers hanging out nor a strategically tipped cap) and remarkably shallow, which is ironic as the tone in which you describe the customer's attire suggests that they are all shallow morons (again, odd and completely irrelevant for a food review). The other dominating theme is the strange expectation (or hope, I dont know) that you would find behind the door, someone masterbating in a bedroom type set up. Not a lot is about the food. What IS written about the food is mostly positive, despite the comparison to the restaurant around the corner that has named a burger after you. (How coincidental that your alliegence lies there) Yet despite the positive thoughts on the food, the review comes across very negatively. Is there any reason why?

    1. Did you even read this, or did you just skip to the part about yourself? Clothing is mentioned like, once. It's a very balanced review.

  5. Thanks 'Anonymous' for your 'summary' of my post.

    I am currently enjoying a spa day and do not have the time (on inclination) to answer if full... But pease google 'Giles Coren on Food Writing' and read the interview he did for 'The Browser' - it should answer some of your questions.

    As for SoLita... I have no "alliegence" as you say but I have indeed enjoyed a number of meals there and have become a regular customer... As a result of this, along with "positive" posts they decided to name the burger in my honour. You seem to have a chicken and egg thing all mixed up...

    The reason why the post comes across as negative is simple... Despite serving reasonable food, I didn't like the place! I didn't like the location, decor, vibe, attitude (particularly the way they come across in their marketing and social media). There is more to an eating and drinking experience than the food and drink alone.

    You may or may not be aware that someone on twitter (Pink Whisk) suggested my post was a personal attack on Beau... This is not the case. I have met him on a few occasions and he's come across as a decent chap (he even bought me a drink; thanks again if you are reading)... To summarise even further for you: I didn't like Almost Famous.

  6. Good review Hoss - pretty much sums up my own experience with Almost Famous.

    I went on their first opening round, and I found that it borrowed (or lets be honest, completely ripped off) the ethos, menu and approach of other far better establishments (*cough* meatliquor), and relied on the lack of knowledge of 90% of its patrons when packaging these up as fresh, edgy and (to paraphrase their horrendous twitter presence) "fucking awesome" ideas.

    I could forgive the irritating social media and PR activity, the boring "fuck yeah NQ" attitude and the false exclusivity if the food stacked up. Fact of the matter in my visit it didn't, my burger was oversauced, overcooked and underseasoned.

  7. shite review

  8. Haha the last comment made me laugh out loud! Brilliant reply! I have only been to the Liverpool one (today) and will be blogging about it this weekend.

  9. 3 Work colleagues were in town this week. They went to Solita and Allmost famous . They enjoyed both places but they all agreed that Solita blew the socks off AF.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Twitter Feed