(David Bowie) Byron – Chelmsford
Chelmsford has recently seen the opening of a number of new restaurants, with more to come as the rest of the new Bond Street development opens – just in time for Christmas shopping, go figure.
One of the first restaurants announced for Bond Street, and indeed one of the first of the new restaurants to open was Byron. I’ve enjoyed Byron burgers at several restaurants since I first stumbled across their Bluewater branch in 2013. Indeed I described the ‘Byron Burger’ at Deansgate Manchester as “probably the best restaurant burgers I’ve eaten“.
So, when I found myself in Chelmsford one grey Sunday lunchtime and in need of cheering up before what was likely to be a ‘heavy’ afternoon, I figured a Byron visit was in order.
The Chelmsford Byron is located, as I’ve already mentioned, in the Bond Street development, accessed from the high street through a fairly unassuming alleyway – actually the route of an ancient alley (or ‘ginnel’ as I’ve heard it described). Byron is located on the far side of the ‘Everyman’ cinema, facing the River Chelmer. There’s an open space / flood plain to the left and beyond that the long established Loch Fyne – that I’ve reviewed in the past.
On arrival I found several people lurking in the lobby, they’d been warned of a twenty five minute delay, but were prepared to wait. On learning that I was ‘billy no mates’ and only wanted a table for one, I was quickly ushered to a table.
The décor is standard Byron ‘industrial chic’ – exposed air conditioning and so on, with a couple of nice flourishes, the cassette ‘wall’ with portable music player was cute and while it was on display for being retro cool, I remember having something similar. Oh dear.
It being mid-november, Byron had started their ‘Cheesemas’ promotion, so I ordered the ‘Cheesemas No.1 Burger’ which comprised “Two 6oz hamburgers, mature Cheddar. Smoked bacon and onion relish, onion ring, bacon island sauce and pickles’. I passed on the additional ‘smoked bacon macaroni cheese’ on top, but opted for a side dish of same, with some sweet potato fries and a diet coke. I would have gone for the Thornbridge Jaipur, but was driving and I figured a 5.9% IPA would be unwise.
My order was quickly filled, and the delivered burger was simply huge. It reminded me of the stacked burgers I’d enjoyed at ‘Almost Famous’ in Manchester, but with sensible sized 6oz burgers. This means the burgers are still the main attraction where sometimes with ‘Almost Famous’ they were almost a distraction.
The burgers were also slightly more cooked than previous Byron burgers I’ve encountered. Where previously they’ve felt ‘medium rare’, these are firmly ‘medium’ with just a hint of pink in the middle. The onion ring was crunchy and juicy, the cheddar tasty and the relishes delicious.
The ‘smoked bacon macaroni cheese’ was tasty, the bacon didn’t overpower the dish, although the sauce was slightly floury. No matter, it all vanished; which is more than can be said for the sweet potato fries which, while crisp and delicious, were just too much. Something had to give and it was the fries, I was beaten fair and square.
The final bill, including the diet coke and a top for the waitress was a tad under thirty quid, but I was full and satisfied.
Byron is a welcome addition to Chelmsford’s burgeoning restaurant scene, I went with high hopes and was not disappointed.