The burger alliance in Birmingham is possibly more hotly contested than the city’s football teams. Talk about the best burgers and it’s a straight decision of whether to side with The Meat Shack or Original Patty Men. There can be no sitting on the fence; it’s one or the other, pick your team and support the shit out of them. Loyalty is everything, it’s instilled since birth. There is no changing sides; no dalliances elsewhere. It’s possibly the reason why those coming into the city have struggles; Byron died a slow death, whilst Burger Theory and Stackz never really got started. It’s a tough city to come into when two titans have the city on lockdown.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say Hanbao are going to do just fine. It won’t be somewhere I personally go frequently, but it will have an appeal with a younger crowd, those who are more inclined to go for sweeter, outlandish combinations. It’s not one for the purists, but then not everywhere has to appeal to stuck up arseholes like myself. And don’t get me started on the plastic plants.

The burgers are good. Not outstanding, not at the level of OPM, Meat Shack or Flying Cows, but good. Generous sized patties, accurately cooked, but ultimately lacking the robust beefiness that separates the very best from the rest. A Mac Daddy Kane has the burger with a Mac’n’cheese patty that has good cheese flavour but needs more salt, with a Marinara sauce. It’s a beast and at £12 is a healthy feed. It doesn’t need the undercooked fries topped with fried chicken in a saccharine sauce that only delivers on one half of the promised sweet and sour.

I get the donut burger named ‘Odd Future’. Had to. When OPM had the Big Verne (before a certain donut brand threatened legals) my order there was two of them. None of this doubling up nonsense that knocks the flavours out of sync; two Big Vernes and a heart attack please, waiter. This is a little more complex and I’m not entirely sure it’s needed. Joining the donut, patty, and bacon is chilli, baconaise, and bacon jam. It’s a lot to take in but I enjoy it. They have a similar tactic to the Big Verne in using lots of salt to counteract the sweetness. It works.

With this we drink some pretty average cocktails and leave with a bill of almost £30 a head. I quite liked Hanbao, maybe not from a complete eating perspective, but for its intended purpose of somewhere cool in Digbeth to go for a bit of fun. The Birmingham burger debate has a newcomer and I can see them stealing a few fans from the already established.