Burger Theory, St Stephen’s Street: Review

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Burger Theory - Exterior


The announcement that Burger Theory were to open their first standalone restaurant was met with huge excitement – so it was time to see whether it lived up to expectations. Housed in the former Europa site on St Stephen’s Street in the city centre, Rory Perriment and Oliver Thorogood’s restaurant prides itself on its love of local ingredients, its strong vegetarian offering, and a history that spans festivals, food fairs and weddings as well as their takeover of the kitchens at the Golden Lion and Kongs on King Street.

The restaurant still has its outside terrace, with seating for around 20 people, and it was pretty busy on the warm Friday night on which we visited. Inside, it’s got a seriously lively vibe: the bar and a view through to the kitchen at the front of the restaurant, an archway through to the back seating area, plus tables with stools by the door and low seats in the window, where we were sat, watching the world go by. It’s all decorated in natural woods and various shades of blue, with a lovely buzz.

After a little confusion over our booking, we were seated in the window and immediately brought our menus, along with a bottle of tap water and a little pot of spicy, crunchy corn kernels, which definitely whetted our appetites while we decided what to eat.


Burger Theory - Spicy Corn


We were impressed with the drinks selection, with a huge range of craft beers and a selection of real ciders, along with cocktails, wines, spirits and a decent choice of soft drinks for the non-drinkers like me. The only issue with the focus on craft is that prices are on the high side – Chris’ pint of Moor Claudia wheat ale came in at £5, but my pint of diet Pepsi was pretty reasonably priced at £3.50. On a busy evening, the drinks took about half an hour to reach our table – we’re putting this down to teething issues as we visited pretty soon after the place first opened…

It took us a while to choose our burgers – the main menu is packed full of choice (and parents will be pleased to know that there’s a kids’ menu on offer too). It’s also great to see a choice of four different buns on the menu: brioche, Italian herb, seeded wholemeal or gluten free, making those choices even more tricky…

On a busy evening, it also took a while for our order to be taken, and another long wait until our burgers arrived – but hopefully these teething problems have now been ironed out.

Chris ordered the 10oz version of The Don (£11.75 – there’s also a 5oz version available for £9.25), which promised beef, garlic, oregano and chilli patties with pepperoni, pizza sauce, melted mozzarella and rocket, on an Italian herb bun. While the bun held together well, it was a little disappointing to see all of the herbs concentrated in a 1.5 inch square on the top and the rest herb-free – but the patties themselves were amazing, nicely pink with the flavours of the herbs and spices all coming through well.

The patties were topped with good, thick slices of fiery pepperoni and a decent amount of cheese, oozing tantalisingly down the sides as a result of being steamed to melt it before serving. And the pizza sauce? Rich, fresh and herby – although he said he’d have liked a little more.


Burger Theory - The Don


For me, the Prairie Girl (£8.95) – a Burger Theory favourite. It’s a simpler combo of southern fried chicken breast, Frank’s hot sauce and a choice of BBQ sauce or cool blue cheese dressing (I went for the latter) – but it’s proof that burgers don’t need a million toppings to do a damn good job.

The brioche bun was enormous and packed full of flavour, the chicken breast equally huge, still nice and tender and with a crisp, crunchy coating that was beautifully seasoned. The kitchen had ladled on the Frank’s, which I’m glad about, and I loved the tang of the blue cheese sauce, which also tempered some of the heat from the Frank’s. The chicken coating did go a little soggy after a while thanks to the liberal application of the two sauces, but maybe I just eat too slowly…


Burger Theory - Prairie Girl


We also shared two sides, and as soon as we saw the menu listing for halloumi fries with tzatziki, pomegranate glaze, fresh mint and pomegranate seeds (£5.95), we knew that had to be one of our choices. They’d run out of the glaze on the night, but the tzatziki was out of this world, lovely and fresh. While the fries were tasty, they weren’t quite what we’d expected – that amazing salty flavour was definitely there, but they were overly sweet on the outside.


Burger Theory - Halloumi Fries


The skin-on fries, though, we loved. Served with a choice of sauces for £3.25, we went for the nduja aioli – plus a little pot of chipotle mayo for an extra 75p. The chips were piping hot and had plenty of flavour thanks to their skins and a decent sprinkling of salt, and the sauces were out of this world: the smoky heat of the chipotle was Chris’ favourite, while I preferred the meaty heat of the nduja aioli – a great choice for those who love baconnaise. It separated and looked a bit oily and offputting after a while, but tasted fantastic.


Burger Theory - Fries


The verdict? We’ll definitely go back. There’s a vast amount of choice on the menu, and the options we tried were pretty damn tasty. The staff are all lovely, and while the service was slow, it was a busy Friday night not too long after the doors had opened for the first time.

Some may say that there are too many burger places in Bristol, but you know what? Every one offers something different – and you’ll have an amazing time working your way through them all to decide which is your favourite…


Please note: our meal was received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.


2 Responses to Burger Theory, St Stephen’s Street: Review

  1. Interesting that a craft brewed beer that is taxed is considered expensive at £5 but a carbonated sugar beverage is good value at £3.50. The later pays no tax and is incredibly cheap to make.

  2. Pingback: Burger Theory x Upton Cheyney Chilli: September 20th - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

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