Tag Archives: Burger

Villandry – Bicester Village

I love nothing better than browsing the shops of Bicester Village in Oxfordshire and no visit is complete without going somewhere for a bite to eat.  On this occasion our place to eat was Villandry.

Villandry is a spacious restaurant with ample seating for such a large shopping village although you may have to queue at peak dining times.  The menu is extremely varied and all sorts of diners are catered for.


Grandma Gourmand doesn’t have a huge appetite at lunchtime. I obviously don’t get my greedy tendencies from her. She opted for the Roasted baby beetroot & goats cheese salad (£10.20) with watercress, fresh orange, pine nuts dressed with orange & mustard dressing.  Goats Cheese is a particular favourite of Grandma Gourmand, she is rather partial to it and thought that the flavour combination of the salad was just perfect, she even went as far to say it was one of the nicest salads she had eaten in the UK.


A creature of habit, I went for the Classic 8oz 100% beef burger dressed with lettuce and tomato relish (£12.95).  The coleslaw was divine, that’s the only way to describe it, I could have quite happily eaten a bowlful.  The chips were a nice accompaniment but if I’m honest the burger was so big I didn’t really need the chips.

I’ve never actually been able to have a dessert at Villandry as I’m always too full after my main meal but the ones I have seen really do look delicious, next time I’ll have to try a smaller main so I can indulge.

Villandry is situated at 26b-c Pingle Drive, Bicester

Opening hours are: Sunday – Friday 9am – 10pm Saturday  8.30am– 10pm

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Frankie and Benny’s – Leamington Spa

Frankie & Benny’s is a Gourmand family favourite which combines the best of popular American food with traditional Italian dishes.

Lunch menus are available Monday – Friday, 11am until 5pm, you get 3 menus to choose from the main menu, lunch value menu and the specials menu. The lunch menu has over 30 dishes to choose from, 1 course will cost you £5.95, 2 courses £8.25 and 3 courses £9.25

The Specials Menu is available all day Sunday – Friday, and 2 courses costs £10.95 or you can get 3 courses for £13.20.


Frankie and Benny’s needs no introduction, it provides good value and very tasty food which is prepared consistently well, no matter where in the country you go. Lets get straight to it, I can’t resist the Warm dough sticks and dips, they are delicious and have a great texture and springy consistency. Everytime I order them they have a really familiar and homely oven baked taste which makes my mouth water with anticipation.


Mr Gourmand goes through strange phases of thinking he should eat more healthy, so if there is a salad on the menu, more often than not he orders one. On this occasion he went for the mozzarella and tomato salad platter which comes with a light creamy mozzarella, sliced beef tomato, marinated olives and warm garlic dough balls. This was served with fresh watercress, olive oil and seasoned with cracked black pepper. I’m not sure how healthy this is, but he feels less guilty by ordering it so at least its good in his mind. He enjoyed it very much and again as a testament to the quality and consistency provided by Frankie and Benny’s, has ordered this on a few occasions and never been let down.


For a main course I went for the tried and tested crispy chicken burger, with fries and coleslaw. Although this is simple combination, it really can’t be beaten for taste and value, and always hits the mark. The crispy chicken is succulent without being too dry, and the chips and coleslaw provide a nice fallback in between burger bites. If I was being very critical I think chips should be either an american fry, or homemade thick cut chip, but it’s not the end of the world, I still eat them!

chicken salad

Mr Gourmand really was pushing the healthy side of the menu on this day and went for a Caesar Salad with crispy baby gem lettuce leaves, anchovy fillets and tomato, and drizzled with Frankie and Benny’s own caesar dressing, all topped of with Grana Padano. Really nice, very crispy and fresh salad with a gorgeous dressing, and the mixture of soft salad, chicken, crispy croutons and anchovies is so good that I may even order this one myself next time we return!

garlic bread

Ok ok, call us greedy but what can I say, the table next to us received their garlic bread just as the waitress took back our menus, Mr Gourmand couldn’t resist, our order was read back with the addition of a garlic bread side, it just looked and smelled so good. Guess what, it tasted a s good as it looked, yum.

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Wetherspoons – Jug and Jester

The menu at Wetherspoons offers an enticing mix of traditional British meals, along with popular and innovative international dishes. Most of the food served is sourced from the UK and the brand have strict specifications for all of their products, ensuring that the highest standards of quality and safety are met.

Recently some new additions have been added to the menu such as Hotdogs, Peri Peri Chicken, Gourmet Burgers and we couldn’t wait to try some of these dishes out!

Wetherspoons establishments are family friendly which is great news for the Gourmands as it means if we don’t fancy cooking we can all go as a family and don’t have to arrange a baby sitter for Baby Gourmand.


We shared a Wetherspoon sharer (1794 Cal) which consisted of Spicy British chicken wings, spicy coated king prawns, southern-fried-style chicken strips, beer-battered onion rings, chips and a selection of dips.  I did initially think chips were a strange addition to the platter, I would have personally preferred to maybe have potato wedges or nachos but Mini Gourmand was happy to polish them off!  Everything was cooked well and nothing was greasy. I particularly liked the coating on the chicken wings, it was both hot and tangy and left a nice taste in the mouth.

hotdog lucie

Mini Gourmand had the Classic hot dog (1120 Cal) which was a pork hot dog, served with chips and a drink.  Usually when you order a hotdog you get a small sausage, this hotdog was a monster!  Mini managed 3/4 of the beast and said it was delicious.


Mr Gourmand had the Gourmet hot dog (1659 Cal)  which was served with chilli con carne, cheese, six beer-battered onion rings, chips  and a drink.  Just like Mini Gourmand’s hotdog this was a beast and was made even bigger by the addition of chilli and cheese.  Mini was upset that she didn’t get onion rings so Mr Gourmand shared some with her.  Mr Gourmand was very impressed with the quality of the dish and thought the chilli was a rather tasty addition.

burger Chicken_burger

I had the Tennesee Burger (1343 Cal) which was a chicken breast in a honey glaze made with Jack Daniels Tennesee honey.  This was served with six beer-battered onion rings, chips  and a drink.  The accompanying sauce was a little sweet for my tastes but I did love the smoky flavour.  The Chicken breast was cooked perfectly and was still very juicy.  I really liked the bun that the burger was served in, it was very different from the usual tasteless bap that is usually found with pub burgers.  The presentation of the dish was visually appealing and we all agreed that my dish look the best out of the three.

Overall as a family we were very impressed with the choice of food, the quality and the price at wetherspoons.  We visited the Jug and Jester in Leamington Spa which was filled with families and students on the Saturday afternoon that we visited.  Our starter, 3 main meals and 3 soft drinks came to £23.96 which I’m sure you will agree was very good value for money.


A few examples of Wetherspoons commitment to quality:

  • All steaks are from the British Isles and matured for at least 35 days
  • Weatherspoons was the Overall winner of England’s Best Steak Pie 2011 (Sponsored by EBLEX)
  • 100% British beef is used in the burgers
  • 100% Rainforest-Alliance-certified coffee is served
  • All sausages contain only British pork and no artificial colours or flavours
  • The waffles are a genuine Belgian recipe, made in Belgium
*Disclaimer* We were provided with Weatherspoons vouchers to use during our visit, this has not affected our opinion of the brand and as always our review is honest and impartial*
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Zio Bar – Jesmond

Zio bar is attached to Fratello’s restaurant on Jesmond Road, Jesmond, and is easily accessible from Osborne Road by walking, or Bus and Metro Links.  Regular readers may recall my original Zio Bar post which was written back in April when I first visited, we were so impressed with this visit that we decided to pop back for more food and less alcohol!

At the time of our visit Zio bar were still offering £3 cocktails and we both decided it was too good an offer to pass on.

I decided to go for a Classic Mojito which consists of Havana Club Especial rum, churned with fresh lime, mint and crushed ice topped with soda water

Mr Gourmand had the Stormy Mojito which consisted of Gosling Black rum and ginger beer.

Both drinks were very refreshing and a complete bargain at £3 each!

I ordered the Chicken Burger which was moist and succulent, it was a whole butterflied chicken breast so was very filling.  The burger was served with hand cut chips and salsa.  I did find the chips a little dry which I think was possibly down to them being twice or maybe even thrice cooked.

Mr Gourmand ordered the Bacon Burger which was served with handcut chips and tomato salsa, the burger itself was delicious and was polished off in record time.

If you want a night out in Jesmond and would rather avoid Osborne Road or are looking for a quiet drink before heading into the city centre I highly recommend Zio Bar.

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Stateside Diner – Newcastle

I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with the Stateside Diner, I’ve been a customer for many years now but this visit was my first in nearly 2 years.  When I first started to visit the Stateside it was faultless, portion sizes were huge and similar to what you would find in a real American diner, staff members changed and unfortunately so did the food.

A friend of mine who was a loyal Stateside patron from the good old days had mentioned that the menu seemed to have changed a little and the Stateside was back on track!  Hearing this marvelous news Mr Gourmand and I hotfooted it down Pink Lane to find out if this was really true.

I had the Southern Fried Chicken Burger (£5.95) which was served with a spicy mayo, salad garnish and home made fries.  The last time I had a chicken burger at the Stateside it tasted like it had been in the fryer for a week, I’m happy to say on this occasion the chicken was moist and tender.  The home made fries were a welcome surprise and were delicious, as you can see from the pictures above there was certainly no scrimping on the portion sizes which veteran Stateside diners will be pleased about.

Mr Gourmand had the Chilli Dog (£4.95) which was covered in Rancher beef chilli, it barely lasted anytime on the plate which is a good sign!

We shared a portion of Onion rings (£1.95) which were a little disappointing as they tasted like they had been marinated in vinegar which was a little offputting.

Sodas at the Stateside were always refillable which was a huge bonus when eating here, there seems to be a new rule in force where soda’s come with one refill only which doesn’t really bother me as I couldn’t manage more than two anyway but I do know friends who could quite easily polish off 3 or 4.

If like me you were a regular customer of the Stateside Diner and you got sick of the shoddy rushed service, bad portion sizes and meal inconsistency I urge you to go back and try it again, I do believe it’s changed for the better!  The Stateside lives on!

The Stateside Diner can be found at 37 Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne (A short walk from central station)

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Revolution Newcastle

I’m a terrible sucker for advertising, I get drawn in all of the time, especially when I’m offered a bargain.  A text from Revolution informing me that Mega Monday’s at Revolution bar offered 50% off food all day was just the ammunition I needed to grab Mr Gourmand and our friend Peter and head down for lunch.

I had only previously eaten at Revolution once with my friend Juliet, the food was decent but it was the cocktails that really sold the place to me.

After browsing the menu and being torn between a couple of dishes, I decided to go for the Peppered steak and cheese Denver fries.  (£8.25) ( approx £4.12 with discount)   When the dish arrived I have to admit I was slightly disappointed as it looked very dry, I had expected a rich pepper sauce that coated the fries and steak, maybe they forgot to include the sauce? either way it prompted me to do something I very rarely do and I’m actually ashamed to say I did it!  I added ketchup!

The steak wasn’t good, it tasted a little like liver, needless to say I ate the fries and left the rest!

I’m very glad that I had the sense to order a side of onion rings (£1.95)  The onion rings were actually rather nice, the batter was crispy and the onions inside were cooked well.

Peter chose the guacamole and bacon burger  (£8.95) (approx £4.47 after discount) which came with a side of fries and coleslaw.  Peter had no complaints about the dish and polished it off in record time!

Mr Gourmand picked the Chicken Katsu (£8.95) (approx £4.47 after discount), it was a choice prompted by food envy after glancing at the table next to us!  The salad was dressed well and was a delicious accompaniment to the dish,  Mr Gourmand did have one criticism though, there was not enough sauce to go with the dish.

The three meals, pint of san miguel, pint of lemonade and a lime and soda came to £20.47  which I thought was really good value for money even though I wasn’t too impressed with my meal.

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Reuben Burger

I love a good Reuben Burger, I’m always surprised how many different adaptations there are depending on which country you go to.  Some people use Sauerkraut, some use swiss cheese, some use russian dressing.

My Reuben Burger would usually have sauerkraut as an ingredient but as I didn’t have any at the time of making I left it out.  I don’t use pastrami, I find it has too strong a flavour when used with a burger.  I do however use pastrami in a Reuben deli sandwich.

I purchased my burgers from the Meat Merchant in Jesmond, sometimes it’s easier to buy a good burger than make one yourself, especially when you’re only cooking for two!

I used a Ciabatta bun, lightly toasted topped with a slice of Swiss cheese, this was topped with grilled peppers.  The burger was placed on top and another slice of Swiss cheese was added.  Lettuce, dill pickles and a home made Russian dressing finished the burger off.

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Monster Burgers at The Fat Hippo

Regular readers will know that after my last visit to the Fat Hippo (here), Mr Gourmand and I couldn’t wait to go back and sample some more of the delicious dishes they have to offer.  Yesterday as I had a day off uni and Mr Gourmand was working from home we decided to walk over to the restaurant for lunch.

One thing that I love about the Fat Hippo is the quirky decor, the lights are fantastic, it’s light and airy meaning you can sit back, relax and watch people shopping on Acorn Road.

I always think a soft drink tastes better out of the bottle!  My Lemonade (£1.35) did not disappoint!

Mr Gourmand was delighted that his favourite Appletiser (£1.85) was on the menu as you don’t often find it in a lot of restaurants.

Mr Gourmand picked the Spicy Ranch Burger (£8.75) which consisted of a juicy 1/2 pound burger topped with Bacon, Chorizo, Guacamole, Jalapenos and Spicy Salsa.  The burger was served with home cooked chips, salad garnish and coleslaw.

The burgers served at the Fat Hippo are jam-packed with filling, Mr Gourmand loved the various tastes and textures going on within the Ciabatta bun.

You can see from this picture that you get an awful lot of burger for you money!  The actual burger is deliciously seasoned and combined with the spicy topping was a delicious meal.

Not only do you get the huge burger, you also get a bowl of home cooked fries, I don’t know how they make these but they are by far the best I’ve tasted.  Mr Gourmand agreed that although he loves my home cooked sweet potato chips, the chips served at the Fat Hippo are delicious.

The salad garnish tasted fresh and was a lovely accompaniment to the burger, rather than add the ingredients to our burgers we ate this separately.  We are both huge gherkin fans so this was the first thing both of us went for!

The coleslaw was delicious and tasted home-made, I say this because it didn’t have an artificial taste and the ingredients had a fresh taste to them.

Being the indecisive eater that I am, I’m allergic to blue cheese and don’t eat pork products so that crosses out a number of burgers on the menu I decided to have the Cheese Burger (£7.45)  with Onion Rings (£2.75)

My burger was huge, I had to take a variety of different shots just to show how large it actually was!

The Onion rings were delicious, the batter was light and fluffy and the onions inside were perfectly cooked.  Definitely the best Onion rings I’ve ate outside of my own home ( I do have to admit I make a damn good Onion ring)

All of the burgers are handcrafted in-house using 100% Northumbrian Beef.  My burger tasted delicious, the seasoning was perfect and my burger was juicy and cooked just how I like it to be cooked.

We did experience food envy on our visit as the table next to us ordered a nacho platter as a starter which looked amazing!

I’m sure we will be returning to the Fat Hippo again soon, next time we will have to bring Mini Gourmand along as she often complains she gets left out!

You can find the Fat Hippo on the corner of St Georges Terrace and Thornleigh Road in the heart of  West Jesmond or visit their website here

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The Fat Hippo – Jesmond

Since I’ve lived in Jesmond which has been around 8 years, the Fat Hippo has been a number of different restaurants all with different names, I’ve never actually visited before so when Mr Gourmand suggested going somewhere local for lunch we made our way to The Fat Hippo.

The restaurant is quite simple inside with mismatched furniture and funky lighting, it’s quite homely and the kind of place you would go with friends for a good catch up.

The menu is vast and each dish sounds more delicious than the last which made it very hard to make a choice.

Mr Gourmand picked the mystery burger as the vast menu had proved too difficult to choose from.

The mystery burger was a breaded chicken breast with pesto and mozzarella.

The burger was served in a ciabatta bun with coleslaw, a salad garnish and the most amazing home cooked chips.

It’s not often that Mr Gourmand is speechless but during this meal he barely uttered a word.  I tasted one of the chips which was delicious and I was rather envious that I hadn’t picked a dish that came with these chips.

My first choice of squid was not available so whilst put on the spot I picked the Philly Steak club without blue cheese (£5.95)

The sandwich contained Pan fried steak strips cooked rare which were juicy and not at all tough with caramelised onion this was served with french fries and a side salad.

Both myself and Mr Gourmand had severe food envy when we saw some of the burgers that were served to other diners, this of course can be used as an excuse to go back again!

You can find the Fat Hippo at 35a St Georges Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne

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