There is some serious burgermania going around the UK. BBQ and American-style burgers have taken the nation by storm and pop ups and food trucks are cropping up all over the place, even outside of the capital. Here in Folkestone, Googies led, and still leads, the way where American food is concerned and burgers have been their bread and butter since day one. There are a few new kids in town now, but it seems like there is definitely enough burger love to go around.
Big Boys is a pop up burger joint in Hythe operating every Friday and Saturday night out of Nutmeg Cafe on the High Street. Brothers Gareth and Guy are a dream team; Gareth has 16 years fine dining experience, having shared kitchen space with the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Michael Caines and Heston Blumenthal, and Guy was born to be front of house with a lovely welcoming smile and an obvious love of seeing others enjoying themselves, he makes a mean chili sauce too.
When we walked in there was a bag of warm pork scratchings on the table. I could just end the review there because there is no quicker way to a food lover’s heart than to provide deep fried, free pork products. The scratchings were absolutely fantastic and started the whole meal out on a delicious, meaty note. The cafe is very cute, although not burger joint-esque at all, and although it was pretty much empty when we arrived it soon filled up with people chattering and munching.
As I was invited down by the burger brothers as a food blogger*, I thought it only right to try pretty much everything on the menu. The sacrifices I make… I ordered Le Garçon Français (aka the French boy): burger, brie de meaux, honey fried onions, whole grain mustard, lettuce, tomato and gherkins, and the other half ordered The Fat Boy: burger, pulled pork, BBQ sauce, streaky bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato. The burgers were big boys indeed. The brioche bun, sorry, French-dipped brioche bun was soft as a cloud and the burger was beefy to the extreme. As with all burgers of this kind, they were messy undertakings (luckily the boys have thought this through and there was an entire roll of paper towels on each table). Because of the mess factor, I didn’t get to try the Fat Boy but I have it on good authority that it was excellent. My French Boy was very good, but I think the delicious brie de meaux pretty much disappeared into nothingness by the time it melted and the honey fried onions (which were incredible on their own) were somewhat masked by the beefiness of the patty itself.
The sides were barbecue baked beans (with a surprising addition of pulled pork), onion rings and fries; coleslaw was also on offer. The beans were delicious and the onion rings were probably the best I’ve ever had: light, crisp batter which didn’t outweigh the onion inside and the onions were sliced thin enough that you could bite through them without the entire ring being pulled clean of the batter (I hate that). The fries were perfectly acceptable, but not as fluffy or crispy as I would have hoped. We also had an Oreo milkshake (you have to have the full experience, right?) which was TO DIE FOR. It was way, WAY too much food though. I could only manage half my burger and we took some onion rings and baked beans home too.
The overall experience at Big Boys was great. The staff were friendly and attentive and the food was served quickly and with obvious care. The only slight negative is the price. With the burgers ranging from £7.95-£10.95 without any sides, you’ll be lucky to get out of there for less than £15 per person which I think is a bit steep for a burger meal. I appreciate the time and cost of doing handmade burgers from local, rare breed, 28-day aged beef, but at the same time I find it difficult to justify spending that sort of money on what is essentially fast food, albeit carefully crafted fast food.
On the plus side, you can bring your own booze (no corkage charges apply!) and Guy reported that customers had done everything from mixing G&Ts at the table to bringing in a pitcher of margaritas. There was a great buzz and it was obviously popular, with the place nearly full Guy said it was the quietest night they’d had so far. After only four weekends, Guy and Gareth seem to have built up a great customer base and are obviously churning out consistently great burgers which people are coming back for again and again. So if you like a burger and want a bit of a new experience, pop down to the pop up on Hythe High Street and get yourself a Big Boy burger. Just be sure to bring your appetite.
*Part of our meal was complimentary.
Looking for somewhere to eat out in Folkestone? Come try my supper club!