Burger Theory

Burger Theory at Kongs, Birmingham

One of my pet peeves when reading other blogs is the endless comparisons. Apart from being very rude, it also isn’t particularly helpful. There are so many variables it is almost impossible to do fairly: were the dishes identical? Are they the same price? Did said bloggers pay for both meals? (the last one is unlikely). I don’t see what anyone gains from saying ‘this is better than this…’ other than undermining the establishment you are supposed to be concentrating on. But, and this is a but bigger than my rapidly increasing butt, it is going to be nigh on impossible to get through the next five hundred words without comparing Burger Theory to the big guns of this city. We do burgers very well in this town, so you’ll need to do something remarkable to step into the (bull)ring. I offer no apologies for that appalling regional pun.

Burger Theory operate to one side of Kongs, in the building that used to be Chameleon. That place was awful; a mating pen to the sound of commercial house, where wedding rings would be stowed in trouser pockets in the vague hope that two pissed people may horizontally align between the hours of midnight and 3am. Gone is the shiny wood, replaced with sparse seating, neon lights, and concrete. They have managed to erase the smell of regret that used to haunt the dancefloor and replace that area with wiff-waff tables, whilst vintage arcade games line the walls. I like what they have done with the place, mostly because it is no longer Chameleon.

I’ve been twice now because I want to give it a fair crack. The first time was a fleeting solo visit on a weekday night. It was empty. I have a korean chicken burger and a pint of Gamma Ray. The burger is served on paper napkins so that the leaking sweet chilli sauce is a irretrievable bed of red squelch that infuriates me. The burger itself is pretty good; high on salt, crispy batter and chicken that has survived the frying with some of its juices. It works, even if I hanker for a drink after every mouthful. I finish my pint, waste six quid on Donkey Kong and leave.

The second time saw me taking a severe beating at the car game they have before ordering a more substantial meal. Beef this time; on two burgers and one loaded fries. Those fries are not good: supposedly a chilli, the beef is tough and stringy, the promised sauces nowhere near enough in quantity to stop it all being too dry. The burgers are good, maybe not good enough to choose over OPM or Meatshack, but certainly good enough to eat should we happen to be playing wiff-waff in Kongs. The meat is good quality, accurately seared and cooked. The Down and Dirty is better than the one with blue cheese because the latter is out of proportion and only tastes of cheese. As far as burgers go, these would stand up to most competition. Most.

And then there is the issue of the size of the room. On that Saturday lunch there is maybe 60 in Kongs and it still feels empty. Maybe it will be different in the evening when they have a DJ, though they are going to need to put a lot more through the door to make this a viable business. Have they bitten off more than they can chew? Possibly. Still, Burger Theory bring more good food to the city, which can only be a positive.

7/10

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