Bath is a bit light on burger restaurants – I absolutely love Schwarz Bros but it is a takeaway (albeit a damn fine one), and Gourmet Burger Kitchen is usually a bit disappointing, to be quite honest. So I was excited to see that the Handmade Burger Company was opening on Upper Borough Walls, with an express mission to serve Bath food that’s ‘fresh, natural, made here.’ In the ten years since it launched, the Handmade Burger Company has grown into quite a big chain, but they still take pride in good fresh ingredients and make everything onsite, so that’s a good start as far as I’m concerned.
When it comes to the menu, there’s absolutely loads of choice – over 40 options, according to our waiter – and lots of nice touches, including smaller burgers for the less ravenous and a completely separate gluten free menu. The only drawback is that it’s almost impossible to choose! There’s not really a starter/main divide on the menu, but to begin we picked some BBQ chicken wings to share, which were gloriously sticky and messy to eat (exactly as they should be).
For the main event, I toyed briefly with the idea of the Peanut Butter & Bacon Burger (I think that could only go two ways – it would either be unbelievably incredible, or unbelievably wrong), but eventually chose Jimmy’s Beef, Brie & Bacon – as well as a massive range of their own Aberdeenshire beef burgers, the Handmade Burger Co also offers a selection of burgers from Jimmy’s Farm. The burger itself was fabulously juicy with loads of oozing melted brie on top – yum. My dining companion picked from the vegetarian menu (which is unusually generous, always nice to see plenty of meat-free options), going for a Veg-Mex burger with a veggie patty, avocado and jalapeños which she polished off too quickly for me to take a bite – so I’m going to take that as a glowing review.
The burgers don’t come with any sides, which I have to admit I thought was a little stingy, considering most of them are between £8 and £10, but the sides on offer are fantastic so perhaps they’re worth paying extra for. I’d especially recommend the Denver fries – a bowl of thick cut chips piled high with luscious pulled pork, melted cheese and BBQ sauce. Absolutely not to be missed.
Once you’ve tucked into all of that, I think chances are pretty good you won’t have any room for dessert, which may be why the dessert menu here is quite short, but if you do need something sweet, you can order a sundae or a milkshake. I’d recommend the milkshakes, which are great, while the sundaes are pretty standard. To be honest though, this place is not about dessert, so I’m happy to forgive that – focus on your main course and you won’t be disappointed.
As well as great burgers, the chaps at HBC can also promise great service – our waiter had plenty of recommendations and stood up to our questioning about ingredients – and I’ve also been impressed to see that they’re making an effort to get involved with the local community. The initial soft launch for the Handmade Burger Company raised money for local charity the Forever Friends Appeal, at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, and I was delighted to spot local brewery Electric Bear popping up on the drinks menu. Keep up the good work chaps.