After Hours: Gourmet Burger Kitchen
CAMBRIDGE — Britain today has evolved into a unique cocktail of that Old World tea-and-crumpet English stereotype mixed with a modern love of junk food.
The nation retains much of that proper nature we Americans find so darn charming, but it is also picking up our exportable habits. More and more Brits are obese, Pizza Huts are packed to the gills most weekends and super-sizing is raging its way into the stomachs of the country.
But sometimes, huge portions at restaurants are still novel. And quality huge portions are nigh unheard of. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen is cashing in on that niche.
Set in an art deco design and cozy layout right on Parker’s Piece in Cambridge, the restaurant bills itself as Burger Joint 2.0, with two-handed burgers made with high-quality ingredients.
Sure, it’s got the standard cheeseburger or bacon cheeseburger. But they’ve also got a chicken sandwich with a cranberry sauce and Camembert cheese.
A minted lamb burger and chorizo with sweet potato are some of the other more outlandish offerings.
The place bakes its soft, sesame sourdough buns each morning, according to the restaurant’s Web site, and the meat is delivered daily.
The Gourmet Burger Kitchen is a franchise that was started by some New Zealanders who wanted to bring the country’s idea of fresh fast food to the U.K., and it’s a bit of quality that is sorely lacking in the standard chippy shop.
Upon entering, simply walk up to the counter, place your order and tell them where you’re sitting, not unlike a pub.
Last week, the service was a bit slow as the joint was packed, but a lamb burger’s abundant meatiness and the surprising goodness of pesto and mozzarella on the Pesterella burger made it worth the wait. It’s a gimmick restaurant, but the gimmick seems to work.
The GBK also has a selection of New Zealand beer and wines.
The burgers were a bit pricey, at about 6 or 7 pounds without chips, but it’s a quality way to satiate that red-meat craving. And the high-end ingredients came through with every bite, something you won’t get when the dead-eyed guy at the late-night stand tosses you a sloppy mess of a burger in the early morning hours after the club closes.
To see previous After Hours reviews, go to legacy.stripes.com/afterhours.
If you go
Location: 43-45 Regent St., downtown Cambridge.Phone: 01223 312598.Clientele: The GBK seems to be the place for hot young women to chow down, and the joint was packed with younger people in general. Just make sure you have shoes and a shirt on.Food: Massive burgers made with quality ingredients starting at around 6 pounds. Also a variety of burgers not made with beef.Drinks: Beers, wine, soft drinks.Web site:www.gbkinfo.com