Finding ourselves with a very rare day off together, as opposed to the few fleeting hours we normally have to squeeze in, myself and my boyfriend decided to do what we do best, and go out for food. Now, my boyfriend was feeling in a very meaty mood, and I am not necessarily the biggest meat eater (chicken and burgers spared), so it was with relative ease that we decided to belatedly experience Got Beef’s Bar and Kitchen.
As you might be able to tell, Got Beef specialises in one thing; burgers. Now, I can’t actually say that this was my first experience tasting their food, as I have previously had one of their burgers at one of the Street Food experiences which are thankfully becoming more popular within Cardiff. It’s interesting to note that the founder, Cai Pritchard, did initially launch Got Beef as a mobile catering business, so they are no strangers to this environment. Our first time, however, was quite a while ago, so I was feeling pretty ready to get the taste buds going once more.
Although Got Beef have recently expanded, with a new venue having just opened close to us in Canton, this new site was actually closed on our chosen day. Unperturbed, we ventured a tiny bit further afield, and settled with the original location which is situation on the busy Whitchurch Road. From the outside, Got Beef is rather demure, consisting of a fairly small space with quite an understated design. Step inside, and the natural decor continues, with a selection of wooden tables and exposed wooden benches. Add to this the assortment of plastic chairs, artistic signs and open plan kitchen, and the resulting effect is what can be described as ‘hipster’; a modern yet simple place to spend time.
With the continued rise in local, independent food businesses, it’s great to see a shared sense of community, and this is exactly what you get here. The board which advertises their ‘Guest Beers’ proudly displayed their selection, which on that day included an Ale by none other than Crafty Devil, a local brewing company specialising in smaller, more unique batches of craft beer, which my other half is more than partial to. It’s great to see such companies working so brilliantly to support each other.
My other half settled on a ‘Got Beer’, another drink which has been specially brewed by Crafty Devil and is self described as a ‘Hoppy Pale Ale’. He enjoyed it and said he would recommend. For myself, I settled on a rather boring still water, which came served with the mason jar style jug which are so popular right now.
Having ordered our food from a very friendly staff member (it is sit down service, despite the relaxed feel), we sat back to wait. The smells and the sounds from the open plan kitchen, especially the sizzling of food frying, were intoxicating, adding to our already famished appetites. Working as a chef industry himself, my boyfriend loves this kind of experience and being able to get a feel for the working kitchen environments which are so often restricted from view.
In barely any time our food arrived, my eyes expanding to the very limits of my head as I began to comprehend the sheer size of what we had ordered. If there’s one thing I can say about Got Beef, it is that they are by no means stingy on their portions, always an added bonus for foodies like myself (my thighs would disagree). I had opted for the gargantuan ‘Animal Style’ burger, consisting of two 6oz patties, two American cheeses, diced white onion, secret sauce, topped with a handful of fries and all encased in a toasted brioche bun with shredded lettuce. I reckon I wasted a good five minutes trying to decide on the best way to attack the thing, before declaring to hell with it and getting stuck in.
The meat used in the burger is declared to be award winning Welsh Black Beef. Now, I was in slightly two minds about the burger. It is important to remember I am not a massive meat lover; I would never, for example (and never have) ordered a steak in a restaurant, much to my chef boyfriend’s disappointment. As you can imagine from a place which specialises in burgers, the ones made here are very, very meaty. So meaty in fact, that it almost felt as if I were eating a piece of proper meat, such as a steak, as opposed to many typically processed and minced burgers. This is obviously a great thing, and the boyfriend certainly seemed to think so, but in my personal preference I do prefer a burger which is overall less meaty in flavour. The texture likewise had a closer texture which is in fitting with the feel of having a proper portion of beef before you.
Although I do prefer a slightly softer and more crumbly burger which is less like a piece of beef and admittedly more processed (I know, sacrilegious! What is wrong with me?), even I could tell that the flavour was amazing. The meat was seasoned extremely well, and was able to hold its own against the rest of the ingredients placed within the burger. It was probably one of the juiciest burgers I have eaten, avoiding the dreaded overcooked disasters I have experienced. Whilst this may have made maintaining a clean face somewhat of a challenge, it was definitely worth it. Additionally, the burger had been cooked well with a hint of pink remaining (photos don’t do this justice, sorry!). Mr Chef would have liked his cooked a bit rarer, but overall it was perfectly pleasant and to my liking.
My burger held a fair amount of cheese, which I was ecstatic about, a real pet hate of mine being any stinginess where burger toppings are concerned. The cheese was the right balance between solid and melted, oozing onto the patty to form a delicious yellow covering. I thought the chips were a nice touch for someone wanting something a bit fun and different, even if the idea might upset traditionalists! Likewise, the ‘secret’ burger sauce used was pleasantly flavorsome, adding a bit of wetness to stop the chips and bread from clogging in your mouth. Actually, one of the real stars of the show for me was the brioche bread used. We all know how annoying it is to discover that your burger bun is in no way stable enough to encase your burger properly. This was not the case here! Not only did the bread taste great, with that distinctive sweetness coming from it, but it held up to the juiciness of the burger and sauce, as well as the combined weight of the whole thing. Very impressive.
My boyfriend opted for the ‘Soprano Burger’, which he decided to double up to two 6oz patties to match mine. This also came with the toppings of Monterey jack cheese, smoked streaky bacon, jalapeño majo and chorizo. Being a huge carnivore, he loved the incredibly meaty flavour and texture of the burger, and loved the fact that such quality meat had clearly been used to achieve this. It’s fair to say he is more than dismayed at my preference for the cheaper, less refined burgers and scant meat lifestyle. As myself, he thought the flavours were very good and loved the fact that the burger bun was so supportive to withstand the eating process. He assured me the bacon was well cooked, as was the chorizo. I did actually sample the chorizo and can say that it had an excellent taste, full of flavour with that added bit of warmth. The jalapeño mayonnaise was a nice addition, enhancing the flavours of the different meats.
We both had a portion of the Dirty fries, which managed to hold their own against the massive proportions of the burgers (see above). The fries were indeed thin, as the name suggests, yet still managed to hold within them an appealing fluffy potato filling with a crisp exterior. These were then topped with melted American cheese (a particular favourite topping of mine), small crispy bacon pieces, jalapeños and chipotle sauce. I don’t like jalapenos but these were easy enough to pick out, with the chipotle sauce still giving me that bit of heat to elevate the entire dish. What surprised me about these chips was that despite the mix of ingredients and toppings, they were still incredibly tasty when eaten on their own with good seasoning.
I can’t remember the exact pricing of the burgers, but I think they were around the £11-12 mark, which is well priced if you consider the portion sizes, as well as the top notch meat and ingredients used. To double up his burger my boyfriend paid an extra fee of £2. 80 which again I think is good value. Similarly, I can’t really remember the price of the chips (apologies), but I remember thinking they were just as good value for money and just as huge a portion as the burgers.
We went at awkward time of the day at around four o’clock on a Monday, and there were still three or four other groups, which is a testimony to the popularity that Got Beef have within the area. Whilst I can’t say this was my favourite burger of all time, I would recommend it in a heartbeat to everyone I know who loves a meaty burger. We are both already planning a return trip, and I am certainly interested to try the ‘Lucky Cow’, their vegetarian bean burger, to entice my meat free friends with. All in all, a very successful and enjoyable dining experience.