As I’ve grown older, I’ve developed a taste for three things; Red wine, olives and burgers. Now I know that burgers have been around for millennia and the good old days of Ronald McDonald should have given me my first real taste of a juicy beef burger in a brioche bun, but as a kid, I was a chicken nugget McSnugget all the way. There was something extremely unconvincing about sticking meat between bread and dumping a gherkin inside for added sourness; it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
You’d have to be a hermit to not have noticed the burger takeover in the past few years. Whilst the classic ‘hamburger’ may have been a big hit across the pond as Yanks competed for the title of biggest and most greasiest burger possible, we as usual decided to take things slower here in the UK. It is only really in the past few years with the rise of independent street food retailers such as The Flying Cow Burgers and Original Patty Men that the demand for burgers really escalated in British cities.
Being gluten free, I often found myself pining for a dirty grab and go burger, or just carbs in general, from the pop up street vendors found at foodie digs such as Digbeth Dining Club. The first time I witnessed a Krispy Kreme being balanced on top of a double beef patty with bacon, maple syrup and onion rings, I was adamant I was either dodging food hell or missing out on a piece of art for individuals such as myself with a combined sweet and savoury tooth.
It was then with great anticipation that I found myself venturing to Birmingham’s latest burger joint, Burger Theory. Situated in Kongs Bar on Hill Street, the venue boasts retro arcade games, table tennis and a fully stocked bar filled with craft beers. Live DJs are a permanent fixture at weekends, but I was visiting on a Friday lunchtime with colleagues and the rather large venue was empty asides from the bar staff – maybe they were busy on Deliveroo but I expected it to be slightly busier.
The menu states that burgers can be ordered with a gluten free bun. As usual, my added milk intolerance made it difficult for me to order many cheese based burgers without needing to substitute half of the ingredients, so I opted for The Classic burger, consisting of a beef patty, house ketchup and plain chips, plus the Down n’ Dirty burger sauce. The burger itself was really tasty, cooked to my liking in that it was juicy and still slightly pink in the middle. Alongside the house sauce and perfectly salted chips, it was one of the best, if not THE best burger I’ve had in a good year or so.
If I had one recommendation, it would simply be a request for Burger Theory to stock dairy free cheese to go on the gluten free or vegan burgers. Just keeping in one dairy free cheese would mean that my choice of burgers could be far more extensive, but on the whole, my first experience was a good one and I think the chefs have their burgers cooked to perfection. I can never understand why so many burger restaurants are off limits to me simply because they refuse to stock gluten free buns and create a patty that is friendly to those with allergens, so it was lovely to be given that option.
They call themselves the Creative Burger People, priding themselves on sourcing local produce and making all burgers, sauces and pickles on site. I asked for tomato ketchup to dip my chips in and was provided with a little pot of fresh tomatoes, chopped finely into a delicious, smooth sauce. There’s no doubt that these guys are serious about providing high quality, good tasting food that really stands out from the usual grease found in many burger joints and I think they may have succeeded.