GBK Beef Burgers May Rule the Roost

But their chicken needed some beefing up

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Gourmet Burger Kitchen Ealing
35 Haven Green
London W5 2NX

Telephone: 020 8998 0392

GBK website

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GBK say their premises reflect the simplicity of the operation and their décor "clean, crisp and fresh".  Maybe that's why they've never grabbed me. There doesn't seem to be a lot of 'fast food' buzz about the place. But it's rated by those in the know so I was prepared to let it have a go.

First impressions on the inside confirmed those on the out. The place wasn't very busy - you could hear a pin drop more than a buzz. Remembering that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover I got reading the huge blackboard menu that dominates one wall.

You couldn't fail to be impressed by both the chain's credentials and its vast menu, with a selection of no less than 25 different variations on the humble burger (including chicken, venison, vegetarian and organic options) priced from £5.45 (junior burgers from £3.95).

Not feeling in the market for a beef burger, I plumped for its feathered friend - Chicken Camembert & Cranberry, described as fresh breast of chicken, camembert, cranberry sauce, salad, mayonnaise & relish.

I found the chicken tasteless and over cooked, but the lack of flavour was more than redeemed by a mountain of oozing, delicious, melt in the mouth (and all over the hands) camembert. Had the chicken been up to scratch this would have been the best thing since sliced bread or sour dour to be precise, as this is what all burgers come in.

The real man amongst us went for the Cajun Burger - 100% Aberdeen-Angus Scotch beef, smoked chilli mayo, salad, mayonnaise & cajun relish. He loved it, finding nothing to fault it on - lovely beef, cooked perfectly to medium rare, char grilled on the outside, bun really nice and fresh. He even says the salad was 'lovely' with crisp fresh lettuce(he doesn't do greenery if it can be helped).

The chips were also first rate - chunky, crispy and fluffy in the middle. We had ordered far too much. Two between three would have been enough, and we're greedy.

On the side we had Garlic Mayo and Smoked Chilli Mayo. And I mean garlic mayo. It contained real life garlic, which I haven't encountered before. Delicious but should come with a date warning. The new GBK Homeslaw 'the Antipodean way' was another great find - cabbage, spring onions, carrot, celeriac & vinaigrette. It was really fresh, light and palate cleansing, unlike the sludge most fast food restaurants offer up.

Our little one devoured our marinated mixed olives (very good and not to be wasted on children if you can help it) but not her own fresh chicken breast fillets & mayonnaise. She's a bad eater at the best of times but I couldn't blame her on this occasion as the chicken tasted like mine - or rather didn't.

Service was mixed, but it was the manageress rather than the waiting staff who failed to deliver. When my other half tried to pay (which you do as you order at the counter before eating) his card was refused. It had worked until that point, has worked since and this wasn't a credit crunch-induced situation, so we are pretty sure the card reader wasn't working. Whatever the cause, the reaction wasn't pretty! "She treated me like I was trying to commit fraud!" reccounted one very offended customer. To put it politely, her treatment of the situation wasn't polite. But all the other staff couldn't be faulted - very friendly and attentive.

To sum up - in the words of my fellow diner as I wouldn't dream of laying claim to them... "Quite pricey for a posh Mcdonalds but probably worth the money if you've got it to spare."

Charlie Canniff

July 18, 2008