I love a good burger and I was rather sad that Bwytiful shut up shop in October in the little food hub that the Cardiff burb of Victoria Park has become. Not sure if it was due to the accursed Covid 19 or other reasons or a combination of the two, but whatever the reason it must be extraordinairily hard to keep small restaurants (actually any business) going in this dreadful economic environment. I tip my hat to these people and remind myself that if they are not used (including when we are forced not to use them) they will unlikely to survive.
Fortuitously for my burger needs, a swift like for like replacement is already in situ in the form of Ansh and initial reports from reliable sources suggested it was a must visit.
With deep Welsh roots, its focus is very much on use of top quality local ingredients from local suppliers.
Ansh is formed of a partnership of chef and butcher, with the latter bring Shaun Jones of Oriel Jones the butcher (whose meat predominatly comes from their own farm). When you are looking at the provenance of the meat at Ansh this gets you a very big tick in the box.
Now you don’t get more Welsh than mutton, with sheep outnumbering people in Wales by a ratio of 3:1.
Mutton to me is one of the most underrrated meats out there. The term mutton is often used in a derogatory manner to denote someone who is trying to be something they are not or an inferior product pretending to be a superior one (hence the phrase “mutton dressed as lamb”).
We in the UK as a whole seem to have an obsession with lamb (up to 1 years old) with few people having access to/ tried the older hogget (1 to 2 years old) or mutton (2 years +). This seems to operate to such an extent that I suspect many people work on the assumption that the only meat that comes from a sheep is lamb.
Whilst I love a nice bit of lamb, I think the older hogget and mutton have a better flavour – from well worked muscles and fat (mmmm lovely fat). Even people that are au fait with mutton often assume it is tough and thus suitable for slow cooking only, but if it is properly aged (hung) it can be beautifully tender.
This brings me back to Ansh which has a rather fine looking menu of burgers,
which includes one with mutton rather than beef in it.Whilst I love a good bit of beef, based on the above it was this that drew my gaze and got the gastric juices going.
I must admit I am not one for loads of toppings and funky sauces or odd buns (I mean a frosted ring doughnut as a burger bun, why?!) with a burger. To me the flavour I really want to shine through is that of the patty. That, to me, must be the star of the show.
As a result, my preferred burger is a cheese burger. The simplicity and lack of bells and whistle over and above the patty allows the flavour of the meat in the patty to shine through (no hiding place if the meat is not top notch either).
The mutton number (named after the heroine of the Battle of Fishguard – not sure what the connection is other than she was Welsh- looked on the menu description here to hit that “simplicity” sweet spot. The “A pirate’s treasure for your pleasure” charcoal bun and seaweed rum sauce, on the otherhand, did not tempting me in the slightest if I am honest.
In all came nicely packaged in a paper bag and biodegradable cartons
which worked surprisingly well in keeping the stuff hot (Ansh is a short 5 mins drive from my gaff, but you are very lucky – I wasn’t – if you can park outside) .
Opening up the box, bought a lovely waft to meaty gaminess from the mutton and a rather impressive looking beast of a burger.
When popped on a plate it looked even more impressive, with two big patties and a nice carmelisation to the exterior of both.
Inside the top patty had a nice pink hue to it (bang on how I like a burger), with the bottom patty a bit more done.
Lovely rich flavour to these patties, which had a pleasingly loose texture. Really top quality meat used here, that just exuded bag loads of muttoney flavour. The cheese had a nice tang to it, but I must admit I am an advocate of plastic cheese in a burger as I love the way it coats the patty with goo. Here, bar from the edge, the cheese had mostly dissipated.
The only other topping (actually on the bottom) were some lovely sweet confited onion, which worked well against the slightly gamey meat and the sharp cheese.
In terms of the bun, I am a fan of the potato roll and tend to prefer it to the demi brioche bun which seems to be more popular as a burger patty vehicle. Really good squish to this bun which enabled me to stuff the full ensemble into my gob. It gratifyingly held together for the full duration (thus achieving its primary purpose) even though this was a burger where every bite released lots of meaty juices.
All in all a very accomplished burger.
The sides are limited to fries, which I actually like. Means they are concentrating on the burgers, which can only be a good thing to my mind.
Very decent sized portion of good chips,
with a nicely crisp, seasoned, exterior (despite the journey encased in their container) and a fluffy interior. Piping hot, straight out of the fryer, I am sure these would be even better.
Most people opt for a beer with a burger, but with me my tipple of choice is invariably wine (notwithstanding my increasing obsession with sour beers).
With lamb, hogget and mutton a rioja or ribera del duero would normally be my first choice (not least because I have an abundance of these wines in the wine room). Nothing too pricey, but something like these crianza wines (magnums bought for festive drinking) would do the job admirably.
I, however, had a half bottle lurking in the wine fridge (from a Mystere wine club tasting that I had to pull out of at the last minute) and I though it (a Bandol from Provence) would work well with the mutton.
Lovely wine this with aromas of cassis and spice wafting up from the glass, followed by dark forest fruits, liquorice and a touch of smokiness on the palate. Worked very well with the mutton burger I thought.
I was very impressed with the burger I had at Ansh, which translated very well into the sometimes difficult takeaway to eat at home format for a quality burger.
All the flavours were bang on and it was easily (albeit from a short list) the best burgers I have had this year. I would actually say it is up there with the very best burgers I have had since starting the blog. Now that is praise indeed.
£10 for a burger to takeaway certainly ain’t cheap, but I think you have to (and probably should) pay that sort of money for this sort of quality gear
Would I go back? Absolutely, a cracking burger that will, I am sure, be even better when they open as a sit down affair next year.
Address: 589 Cowbridge Road East Victoria Park, Cardiff, CF5 1BE.
Tel: 07498 499 787
Opening hours: Thurs – Fri: 16.00 – 21.00; Sat – Sun: 12.00 – 21.00.
Orders are currently by phone – they are very popular so get in early.
Think they do Deliveroo too, but I prefer to pick up personally.
Whilst they do do walk ins, in theory, slots can booked up very quickly each day and when I was waiting for my order at 18.30 a chap rocked up without pre – ordering and was told the earilest slot left was 20.30.