Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gourmet Burger Bank – We Went Back

Update: it did get better!

We went back to the Gourmet Burger Bank in Belmont Road tonight. It's still the search term that hits this blog the most - on average 6 times a day! Either the owners are paranoid about finding reviews or lots of people are trying to find it!

Unlike the last meal, there was no long wait for our order to be taken, and the food arrived pretty promptly. So unlike the last time, we had to pay for this meal!

To add to the scrumptious dishes we enjoyed before, be assured that the Blue Cheese burger, Avocado/Bacon burger and the Mozzo/Pesto burgers are yummy too. We regretted not getting a side order of onion rings when a plate went wafting past to another nearby table.

At about 5.15pm on a Tuesday night we had beaten the rush – there were only a couple of tables occupied. By 6pm, it was starting to get busier. There’s no booking, but if you go early you’re sure of a table. Their child friendly too – it was no problem to get a booster seat for a 17-month old, and there doesn’t seem to be any smoking.

You'll find the Gourmet Burger Bank at 20-22 Belmont Road, Belfast, BT4 2AN, (028) 9047 3333. Very tasty.

And look out for the Apple Mac running iTunes which provides the ambient music. No CD player with multi-changer in this joint!

17 comments:

John Self said...

The reason this is the search term that hits your blog the most is because you're the first Google result for gourmet burger bank! I was looking for their website to link to a comment on my Flickr site for this photo - because it reminded me of their pink-iced buns on the sweet counter topped with fruit allsorts. But they don't have a website - yet. So enjoy the publicity!

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with all of your comments on the Gourmet Burger Bank, and I certainly would not recommend anyone to go and eat there. Yes they may be child friendly in that you can get a booster seat, but their menu doesn't offer a great deal of choice for kids. The burgers are not gourmet, and are over priced for what you are getting. Yes there is alot of burgers on the menu, but with the meat burgers all that is different is the toppings, and the burgers themselves are frozen and NOT freshly made which they shoud be at that price. The Thai chicken burger is about as Thai as I am, and as far as I am aware I have no Thai blood in me! Some of the staff are friendly but are too busy running around doing their own jobs as well as the unfriendly staff's jobs to give any sort of customer service, and this was on a Monday at 5.30pm.Lastly if you are in the mood for a burger save yourself some money and head to Mcdonalds, as frankly the Gourmet Burger Bank is slightly upmarket overpriced version of McDonalds any way.

John Self said...

Had our third visit to GBB last night, a family party of seven, so we had to wait a full hour for a table (though they were very apologetic and threw in a side of onion rings as compensation).

They do seem still to have problems anticipating demand however. We arrived at about 6:45 and ended up seated around 7:45. By the time our food arrived, maybe shortly after 8, they were turning away people coming in because they had run out of burgers and rolls! You'd think they would be used to this by now, as they've been pretty much packed out every day since they opened.

John Self said...

PS - I didn't realise until now that the Gourmet Burger Bank was basically a knock-off of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which apparently has eight branches in London. Yep, all the same, even down to the sour dough buns and avocado and bacon options...

Anonymous said...

My wife and I (both mid twenties) headed to the GBB with great expectations, given the massive queues that we had seen each evening and some positive comments on this blog.

We were very disappointed. Firstly, they got our orders mixed up with the table beside us, at 5 pm when it wasn't too busy. I would give the staff credit in that they gave us a free starter in compensation.

Secondly, we found the interior bland, stark, and extremely cold. Looks good from afar but far from good. Tables too close for conversational comfort aswell.

Thirdly, I would agree that the food is overpriced McDonalds. I expected an upmarket Ruby Tuesday's (The actual American ones), yet what we got were two piddly burgers, which certainly were not 'gourmet'.

People obviously would agree that this place is child friendly, but so much so that it felt like being in a chreche rather than a restaurant.

Overall the main failing of GBB is the ambience; the feeling that you're eating a McDonalds in a warehouse and all for a very high price.

Save yourself thirty quid and go to the local chippy...

Anonymous said...

i went with some work colleagues to GBB on friday night and had a fab feast. good atmosphere, staff all friendly and service time good. definately headin back soon.

John Self said...

I was speaking to the proprietor of Gourmet Burger Bank on Friday night when we were there again. He assured us, contrary to the comments above by anonymous, that the meat is not frozen but is fresh and sourced from a series of farms down the west coast of Ireland. It has to be used within a few days of arriving as a result.

On a personal note I would disagree vehemently that GBB is an 'upmarket overpriced version of McDonalds.' Anytime I've been there, the tab has come to no more than a tenner a head, and we have been well filled with grub. The main courses, at £6-7, are about half what you would pay in most decent city centre restaurants.

steviep said...

i went to the burger bar tonight.
this has been my 3rd visit and therefore i feel i can make a comment on the place.
this is also caused by some of the replies you will find in part 3 of the gourmet burger drama.
to firstly dwell on that, it is a pity that the new gbb causes a few residents problems and they have very valid points.
however to quote that the gbb is bringing down the tone of the area...BIG LOL!!!
maybe we should go back 10 years to the heavily marked territorial look, or the days of instant coffee with a bacon roll.
it is without a doubt an honour to have individuals taking chances on opening premises in these parts of belfast, people here deserve variety and with coleen bennett a few doors down and a few new coffee shops opened i think the place has a great feel to it.
as the owner stated the kids have been there before gbb was and unfortuantly they will remain.
a futile argument presented by the reader imo.

anyways enough of that!!!
the place itself is ok, very informal.
lunchy, early dinner or quick bite with friends before hitting the town.
also good to point out its very kid friendly, so no dirty looks from the sort who frown upon families eating out together. kids toys and books etc for them to play with.
food is ok if not a pricey and even after only 3 visits a wee bit samey.
a burger costs around £7 and with fries at £2 and a milkshake at £2.75 your into double figures.
i wouldnt let this put you off trying first though.
one thing is for sure u wont be hungry when u leave.
staff are all laid back and willing to help, maybe a bit too laid back at times if u find yourself waiting to be served as i was tonight but i was out with my family and in no hurry.
again as i have each time i visited i had a decent meal and was content on each visit.
to summarise:
a good spot for a quick bite with friends and family.
a bit on the pricey side.
generous portions and quite tasty.
good up and coming area and nice to have a quick walkabout, although be careful not to annoy the residents who live nearby...some of them would rather things stayed the same forever.

hope this is of use to anyone thinking of going.
i also got here by the google box:)bg

John Self said...

Hold the front page - we went to GBB this week and didn't have to wait for a table! Was this because it was a Tuesdy at 8pm, or has the novelty finally worn off?

(Our waiter was the glummest young man I've ever seen; helpful and attentive but never came close to cracking a smile. And I see the chirpy chap who used to be in Bennett's is now at GBB too. He's an asset.)

CT said...

Hi, I looked at all of your comments, but my own look on it is: - GBB is a real treat for the area, I have taken 6 clients there for some honest home cooking "A Real Juicy Burger With No Fillers" tell me another place in the city that offers that and I'll try it.

Great service and always quick and easy, the 5ft 5 guy that works there around 35/37 years old is very helpful but would make a difference if he would smile once in a while, but other than that great place and I've told loads of people about it.

My clients and I love this place, the only thing i would say would be to GBB "get gift vouchers" your missing out big time!

Best of luck for 2007

walter said...

we go regularly to gbb and we all love it. so what if its 'samey'. at least you know what you're getting. cheap and cheerful. good for breakfast too. decor is great for the type of place it is. anonymus 6th june 2006 sounds hard to please. what was he expecting. its a burger joint. food tasty and good value.

Anonymous said...

As an Australian living in Belfast, one of my biggest gripes is trying to find a decent take-away joint that is actually open on a Sunday lunch time. I can't stand the likes of McDonald's and the horrible, greasy chippies, so when I found the Gourmet Burger Bank on the Belmont Road today I was overjoyed!

The place was packed with people eating in for lunch and we were told we would have to wait 15 minutes for our 4 burgers. Exactly 15 minutes later the burgers were ready. The staff were friendly and helpful; the menu was very varied with vegetarian options and real gourmet burgers such as ones with duck or venison; and the burgers themselves were delicious. £6-7 for a burger may seem expensive to some, but they were a good size, presented well, and tasted great.

I would absolutely recommend GBB to anyone looking for a proper burger in Belfast.

Manuel said...

I've been once and really enjoyed it. Good food, good service, and I would say worth the cash.Get it in til ye, ye boy ye!And if you wanna know what its like to work in a Belfast restaurant c'mon over to my place.

Belmont Elvis said...

Been to the GBB countless times - boy is great to have a decent burger and couple of beers before strolling the 3.5 mins to my house. Twas even better before they got their drinks licence and it was BYOB.

Think some of the comments above are a bit unfair - especially the rant about tables too close, over-priced food and cold stark interior - mid 20s man and wife stay home and use yer microwave - Rustlers might be more up your street.

Anyway - I would say 9 out of 10 visits to GBB have been great - we frequently have Nth americans staying with us and a visit to GBB is always a highlight. Yes - the whole 'You can't reserve a table' did play havoc with my little belfast mind when we first visited, but I've gotten over that and the shock of hvaing to pay for a side order of chips! Always thick - the thin cuts are nay good. I've been going for the lamb burger recently which is great - the 'trouble and strife' sticks resolutely with the cheese burger - no sense of adventure.

Staff always friendly, although I do miss the wee american with all the tattoos and piercings. Anyway, I digress...all in all a great addition to the neighbourhood. Now if only I could save enough to buy movies and mochas! Dare to Dream!

Love your blog Alan - cheers.

Belmont Elvis

Anonymous said...

Intended to go last night but happened upon a place down the street, Bennetts. Glad I did - bigger choice (unless you only want burgers I suppose)friendly staff, a bit small but adds to the atmosphere. Nice to have a good option

Anonymous said...

I've just come back from lunch in the new Malone Road premises (used to be Rain City) and need to rant. While I appreciate that the prices are good value for dinner, for lunch time, upwards of £7 for a burger without fries (£2.00 extra)is ridiculous. Yes, the burgers are enormous but I don't know many people who want to eat that much at lunchtime. A proper lunch menu would go a long way. My burger itself was a slab of very dense meat, not nicely textured - it didn't break up a little bit the way a good burger should. The fries we ordered as a side were very pale and not cooked to a cripy golden brown. On two separate bites of my burger, I got shards of something (bone? I don't know) that crunched under my teeth that I had to spit out. This place has potential but with a lot of fairly decent (and cheaper) places to eat on Malone/Stranmillis, especially at lunchtime, they'll need to sort things out fairly quick.

Anonymous said...

The meat for the burgers IS frozen i know this because one of the chefs told me this in a very interesting chat i had outside with him!So the propietor is obviously telling porkies that the meat is fresh.I walked past the back door the next day andlow and behold there was the empty meat trays outside the back door clearly stating FROZEN by kettyle meats!I believe that this is indeed false advertising to say something is fresh when it is clearly blast frozen mass produced mechanically seperated mince!Ill never be back now and i do notice the queues are ever diminishing in the Belmont rd branch and Malone road looks like its now shut , they only ever have one table in at a time!Give it a miss and head for the gourmet burger kitchen which is the real deal !