I do like a good burger and many burger joints have featured over the years on the blog. Despite me being based in Cardiff, the majority of my burger posts have related to places in London and it has surprisingly been over a year since any posts by me on burger joints in Cardiff (the last being on the rather good Burger Theory – at Kongs – which I have just noticed is dog friendly which makes it even better for me).
As such, I thought it was about time I looked at the burger offering in Cardiff again, with a solo trip (Mrs. SF is, unlike me, not a sci fi fan) to the cinema (straight from work) to see Star Wars, The Last Jedi (disappointingly average, hackneyed, trashing of Star Wars lore, with atrocious character development and hammy acting and what the ….. was one of the main characters “Superman” impression – that alone nearly caused me to walk out of the cinema – this is not a plot spoiler as there wasn’t any noticeable plot as far as I could tell!!!) necessitating getting something to eat before it started.
Being pretty much next door to the cinema in question (and needing something quick), the obvious candidate for a feed was that stalwart of the Cardiff burger scene, the Grazing Shed.
Inside it is all very functional – stripped back to the bare industrial bones.
It does the job in terms of a place to scoff in relative comfort. Luxurious it is not, but it has all that is necessary for eating what is after all fast food.
I like that they keep it local, with the meat being from Carmarthenshire butchers, Rogers & Son (who source their beef from Carmarthenshire farmers)
Independents are, in my opinion, the life blood of a city and one of the things that differentiates cities from each other. As such they should be supported over the corporate behemoths. Who wants identikit Hight Streets, with the same boring overpriced chains? Not me, that is for sure. Independents also tend to buy via local supply chains, which means money spent in them tends to stay in the local economy.
Having said that not all independents are good and not all chains are bad (I am thinking of Wahaca and Pho as positive ones), but give me a good independent over a corporate chain any day. Anyhow enough of the preachy stuff and on to the food.
The menu is quite large, with lots of options for both meat and non meat eaters (including vegans). Personally I prefer a shorter menu (be really good at a few items rather than merely OK at a lot)
As readers will be aware, I am a simple chap and when it comes to burgers I tend to shy away from complex combinations and toppings. I, therefore, generally go for the classics in burger terms. No hiding the quality of the patty with a simple burger or cheese burger and the latter was my choice here.
The price of £7.45 for what is a standard cheese burger is at the high end price wise (talking London prices plus here, with the Bleecker Street standard cheese burger £6.50 – adding bacon to that gets you to a comparable £7.50), but this is somewhat moderated by the meal deal offer whereby chips and unlimited soda refills can be added for a mere £3 (not bad when fries alone are £2.95) – making my meal £10.45 all in.
The all important patty is a 6oz number and is cooked medium (no options are available for cooking other than as the house does it so no medium rare – my preferred level of doneness for a burger).
Said patty had a nice texture to it, holding its shape but yielding nicely to the bite.
On the flavour front there was a decent level of beefiness, but also a twang of something else which I would characterise as akin to smoked paprika (think chorizo). I actually quite liked it, but suspect it is not to everyone’s taste. I wonder if this is intentional, as in part of the burger patty mix, or is it as a result of frying the patties on a flat top where chorizo (which goes in the Spicy Uncle Pedro burger) is also cooked?
Foliage is kept to a minimum, with some crisp lettuce (bit more interesting than standard iceberg) and a pleasant onion relish that offset the richness of the patty and cheese. The cheese itself was properly gooey and had a nice tang to it.
The whole ensemble was a decent size, but not too big to pick up and take a good bite out of without the whole edifice collapsing. Nice level of squishability to the bun, which is locally made (according to the website).
All in all a good burger, although I suspect the chorizo back note flavour (in a burger with no chorizo element in it) may not be to some people’s taste.
Skin on fries were plentiful, piping hot, with a nice crisp exterior and soft fluffy interior. Not over seasoned – to the extent that I added salt to mine.
On the drinks front you have both sodas (nice to see these are not the usual suspects, but some options sound better than others – to me a cherry bakewell soda sounds truly revolting and a diet one of the same the work of the devil)
and a variety of beers and ciders (again not your bog standard stuff)
I, as part of the meal deal, had the limitless soda (in reality I had two cups – but could have had more had I so wished). I opting for the ginger beer, which had a nice level of ginger heat to it, making for a pleasant alternative to coke et al.
I like the Grazing Shed – decent, filling food at a reasonable price (if you have the meal deal- without it a solo burger /a burger and fries looks at bit pricey to me). Not without some issues though which can be summarised as follows:
- No option in terms of how you want you burger cooked – it is medium/medium well. I like them medium rare and this can be an option if strict requirements are met. At the higher price point burger joints, I think these extra requirements should be a given.
- The burger patty had a back note flavour of smoked paprika – I quite liked it, but can imagine some may not.
- The website blurb say all the burgers are made to order, but my burger didn’t half arrive quickly (few mins. tops). I know it is fast food and the patties are quite thin, but to get them fully cooked that quickly from scratch is surprising. The website blurb alludes to their cooking method being pioneering in terms of getting the burger out to the customer toot sweet, but in the absence of a thermo – nuclear reactor in the kitchen or at least an element of pre cooking (I have had some success using a sous vide to pre- cook burgers before finishing them off on the BBQ) I am at a loss as to how they can get them out so fast.
Would I go back? Yes – place offers a decent burger at a reasonable price (if you go with the meal deal) and I would certainly choose this place (and Burger Theory at Kongs) over the US interlopers (and not just because I prefer to support local independent businesses) if I wanted a city centre burger.
Address: 1 Barrack Lane, Cardiff CF10 2FR
(Other branches are on St Mary Street and at Cardiff City Stadium, with a new one is opening at Lakeside)
Website: click here
Opening hours (for branches other than Cardiff City Stadium) : 11.00 – 23.00 everyday.