Smashed it or made a hash of it?  Smashed, Cardiff Market.

I seem to have eaten (and thus written about) a fair few burgers recently, with posts on the likes of Pasture (good) and Fat Hippo (bit meh), another one in progress on Hill’s (in Brecon), and the theme continues with a rare (now I am no longer working in the city centre) visit to Cardiff market (was in town to belatedly pick up my Cardiff Wine Passport – very good idea, bravo Hungry City Hippy et al – and goodies from Mercado 44 and one of the things I really miss, due to no longer having easy access to town, is a mooch around the market). This brought me to the newly opened Smashed.

Based on the recent Wales Online review you would be forgiven for believing that Jesus himself had returned to earth, decided to give Judgement Day a miss and instead opened up a burger stall (blessed be thy burger bun). It is fair to say they positively swooned over this place. Jesus, it must be flipping amaaaazing I thought 🤔.

The menu includes not only burgers, but also hot dogs, wings and sides. Prices go from OK to probably Friday lunch treat territory (the Bippy’s meal deal at a tenner, but you do get a double patty, bacon and cheese, burger, fries, slaw or BBQ beans and a soft drink for that).

As I have mentioned many times (and probably bored the pants off you lot about), I am not one for multiple topping (or salad) on/in a burger and here my choice was a simple cheese burger (the classic- £6), which I boosted up to the £9 meal deal (a 50p saving).

My double patty (with double cheese) burger came with a pretty regulation bun (nothing to write home about  – from the packaging I spied I would say it was from St Pierre that you can get in most supermarkets) that failed in its only real task of holding together until the end. I think this may have been due to the chunky slice of beefsteak tomato (a mistake in my view in a burger) leaking moisture onto the base.

The burger patties themselves (x2) had, to me,

gone past the caramelised gnarly stage to having a slightly burn bits crust.

I could have lived with this if the burger patties had been full on flavour wise, but they came up a bit short on that front too.

Lacking that gamey twang you usually get from dry aged beef (I know at this price point that is probably expecting way too much), I found them a bit bland/midnight burger van and lacking in seasoning. Didn’t see any added whilst they were on the flat top and if they were pre- seasoned it wasn’t enough for me.

Decent (tad too loose) burger sauce and a good pickle slice, but otherwise too much vegetation for me with salad, tomato and raw onion (all unnecessary detritus in a burger in my opinion) leading to a soggy bottom and structural collapse early into the burger demolition exercise.

The classic meal deal I had came with chips and coleslaw (the BBQ beans option had run out),

neither of which were up to much.

The chips suffered from acute erectile dysfunction.

I doubt even a fist full of blue pills would have put lead in this “limp dick chip’s” pencil and I still have no idea what the benefit of skin on is in terms of a chip.

These chips needed at least another few mins. in the fryer. They were also pretty much devoid of seasoning.

Whilst there were sachets to self administer salt and pepper I still think a chip should always be pre – seasoned before being passed to the customer.

If you are going to put chips (£2.50, if ordered solo) on the menu they need to be a lot better than these.

The coleslaw lacked any acidity, being just chopped veg. (decent crunch to these) with mayo. As a result it was rather cloying and needed a squeeze of lemon, blob of mustard or a dash to vinegar (probably all three) to cut through the cloy.

I left most of both.

On the drinks front, a soft drink is included in the meal deal from a choice of coke, fanta, sprit or water as far as I could see.

There are also slushies (not part of the meal deal) if you are so inclined (I wasn’t)

I had a coke which was cold, wet, brown and sweet.

The verdict

Perhaps I caught them on a bad day (it was gone 14.00 by the time I rocked up and still busy and it did look like they had been “rushed off their feet” busy) and in their first week there are bound to be teething problems, but I was quite disappointed with my meal. The burger was alright without in any way wowing (it was only £6 for a double patty I suppose) and the chips and slaw were just not very good.

Can’t say I will be rushing back and the sight of some rather sorry looking dogs on rollers (in need of rescue and their forever homes) didn’t give me hope as to that aspect of their offering (Franks, oh how I miss you).

It is quite cheap, but if I am honest (they are better too) I would rather pay the extra for a burger from the likes of Pasture, Honest and, Cardiff’s reigning burger king, Ansh.

I really wanted to love this place, but it just didn’t do it for me. Perhaps my expectations were too high following WOL’s “Burger Jesus has risen” eulogy or maybe it was (burger) Jesus’ day off? The fact that in the WOL article they state they couldn’t tell the difference between the veggie burger and the beef burger should, in hindsight, have set alarm bells ringing.

I think they need to get a bit more flavour into their patties, ditch the salad (especially the tomato and coleslaw) and stiffen up their fries.

My trips into town of a lunch time are rare these days and I, as it stands, doubt this will make the short list as to where to eat on my next one.

I quite often seem to go against the flow in terms of places and things I like and dislike, so I am quite curious to hear what others make of this place? Did I just get unlucky/expect too much?

The details

Location: Cardiff Market, the first stall in centre aisle as you come in the Hayes side entrance.

5 comments

  1. I will give this one a miss. Re-visited Pasture yesterday. The meat was on the substantial side. Not as good as last time but still (in my humble view) better than Ansh.

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    • Interesting you rate Pasture over Ansh. Not been to Ansh for a while, but had edge (just) over Pasture on basis of last visits to both. Have you been to Hill’s in Brecon? If yes, how do you rate it?

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