Almost Famous Burgers are interesting, painfully hip and trendy, but serve excellent food.
Launched amidst a blaze of un-publicity towards the end of the summer of 2012, they occupy the top floor of an anonymous building on High Street, at the western end of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
The concept had been trialled as a ‘pop up’ earlier in the summer, and I’d spotted queues.
Then one warm summer evening I spotted that the wooden door was open, and a doorman standing guard. It was a ‘soft launch’ evening, but I managed to blag my way upstairs and enjoyed a memorable meal.
The menu comprises chicken wings, burgers, hot dogs and fries, but unlike anything I’ve experienced anywhere else. The burgers, nestling in a semi-sweet brioche bun are simply the base, on which AFB pile pulled pork, bacon, cheese or whatever in vast quantities. Trailer Trash Fries are slathered with a cheesey mustard dressing.
Drinks are restricted to a small selection of bottled beers, or a wide range of exotic cocktails, served in jam-jars. Don’t be surprised to find a Haribo sweet lurking in the bottom of your alcoholic milk-shake.
Everything is served in dishwasher friendly plastic trays and the napkins consist of a roll of paper kitchen towel per table.
That said, the food is delicious, a real guilty pleasure. Unashamedly so, AFB revels in ‘dirty’ food, and regularly produce specials – their ‘Fifty Shades of Bacon burger’ included bacon cooked in at least four different ways. Again, delicious but dirty. In a good way.
Their fifty quid Christmas burger was perhaps a little over the top.
I’ve returned on several occasions, and if I have any criticism, it’s that their burgers are becoming overlooked. And overcooked. What was once pink and juicy is now well-done, and while there’s plenty of juicy, meaty deliciousness to distract you, surely it should be about the burgers?
These days the word has got around, and Almost Famous are now famous in their own right; the founder ‘Beau Myers’ won two awards at October 2012’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival – ‘Food Pioneer’ and ‘Food Hero’.
It’s not uncommon to see dozens of people queuing in the rain or sub-zero temperatures to get in, the doorman outside the wooden door standing resolute, counting them in and counting them out.
The menu and AFB website clearly states: NO PRESS, NO PHOTOGRAPHY, NO BLOGGERS, NO BLAGGERS, NO KETCHUP, EVERYTHING ELSE GOES.
Whoops! I think I’m guilty of at least two of the above.
The drink picture is from ‘Manchester Confidential’ – always a good source of information about what’s happening in the ‘Rainy City’. There’s a review of the pre-release ‘pop-up’ AFB here.