Cocktail & Burger is a name that either entices or repulses you, connoting a classic student-hungry establishment providing two of our most obvious favourite things. However, this new burger joint hidden away in a Sauchiehall Street basement has more to offer than would first appear. It’s a place that seems to actually value and respect its customers, and not just in a ‘so you come back and we can make more money’ way.
As one might assume, the menu is predominantly burgers but, as with any good restaurant, the offerings are all about quality, not quantity. These people are taking their time, perfecting their food, and keeping their ingredients fresh by keeping their menu cleverly concise. By focusing on and perfecting what goes on each plate, they’ve created a handful of simple delicacies rather than a mountain of hit-and-miss concoctions.
The menu also prides itself in acknowledging the exact farm from which its Aberdeen Angus meat comes from, further indicating we have some real food respect going on here. I’m sure many more restaurants will be hoping to do the same sort of thing following on from the recent horsemeat revelations, but dubious how many will actually be able to.
After I finished drawing profound respect for the menu, I went for the simple ‘C&B’ – a trusty cheese and bacon beef burger. Never did I expect to get so excited about something so safe: the meat was succulent, the toppings perfectly proportioned and the mature cheese plentiful. Furthermore, the rich and buttery toasted brioche bun that encases all this excitement, although not particularly pleasing to the eye, is super delicious and really sets these burgers aside from many other. Somehow, this choice of flavour over aesthetics makes me respect these guys even more. Other offerings include juicy slow-cooked pulled pork belly with Kopparberg cider onions, lamb with mint and tzatziki, roast Portobello mushrooms with blue cheese and beef or pork hot dogs that boast real and flavoursome meat rather than reconstituted madness – hallelujah. Add some tasty professional cocktails into the mix (with old favourites White Russian, French Martini and Cosmopolitan on promo) and you’ll spend your entire meal working out when you can come back to try everything else.
Ultimately, there is some real food love going on in Cocktail & Burger. Nothing is left uncared for; even a side of bread and butter comes with ‘homemade brandy infused balsamic butter’ for goodness sake. And the best bit? Two for one burgers and hot dogs all day, every day. Priced around £7/8 each, we’re talking £4 for some really good food. I only hope enough people clock what a gem we’ve been given amongst the fast food hysteria of Sauchiehall Street and give the place the custom it deserves in order to keep busy, and prove quality can be student-friendly and affordable.
Cocktail and Burger is located at 323 Sauchiehall Street (but blink and you’ll miss it).