10:30am Saturday 10th August 2013
By Pete Grant
WITH gourmet burgers enjoying a surge in popularity across the country, the opening of Ranch Burger is a welcome addition to Wycombe's food landscape.
Prices compare favourably with other gourmet burger chains, and while a little bit more expensive than fast food, eating here feels like going for a proper meal rather than grabbing a convenient snack.
Nestling in the Eden Centre between M&S and the library, the location is perfect for an indulgent break from shopping or an evening meal during a night on the town.
Simply but elegantly decorated, the restaurant has some nice touches such as the large brass lamps hanging on the bar, and the al fresco dining option is a huge plus during these summer months.
Tired of having burger options limited to beef, chicken or bean with cheese or no cheese, I was pleased to see Ranch Burger offers a varied menu. There's lots of ranch and BBQ sauce in the menu as you might expect, with toppings drawing largely on American influences.
I ordered a blue cheese and field mushroom burger (£7.50) and my friend had a ‘summer’ burger with mozzarella, sun-blushed tomatoes and basil (£7).
The savoury mushrooms and blue cheese worked well with the meat and the sweetness of the bun, but the dense, crusty bun was slightly too chewy, leaving a mouthful of bread long after the burger and toppings had been swallowed.
The summer burger, well suited to the balmy outside conditions we were sitting in, was a more unusual combination and not your average burger joint fare.
It was very tasty though, if a little overpowered by the rich and sweet tomatoes. The burgers themselves were generously sized and flavoursome - a far cry from fast food burgers. The menu did include some more unconventional options, such as the rather odd chorizo and pineapple combination (£8) and "The Works" (£8); a burger including an incongruous topping trio of egg, pineapple and beetroot. But there is enough well thought out food on the menu to select a good meal, whatever your palate.
The skinny fries (£2.20) were well cooked and tasted as they should, and the corn on the cob (2.50) was grilled to the right softness. The side of chicken wings (£3.90) came with a rich, tasty blue cheese dip in a luxurious, if not particularly healthy, southern US style.
The barbeque sauce had all the right elements, but was a little on the safe side and could have done with more of a punch for my tastes. There was a good selection of continental bottled beers on offer, with my friend and I opting for a 660ml ice cold Peroni (£5.90) to help the meat go down.
The service was prompt and friendly, and the staff were attentive and helpful throughout our meal. Of course, the quality of the burgers are the key factor here, and while varied, tasty and generously sized, the only criticism was that we were not asked how we would like the burger done.
This was left up to the kitchen and it came back medium-well. While this is a safe universal option, I would recommend specifically asking for a rarer burger to get it at its juicy best. Admittedly, Ranch Burger had been opened just a matter of days when we visited and therefore has some things which can, and probably will, be improved.
But overall we left with bellies full of tasty and very satisfying food at a decent price and I, for one, am glad to finally have a proper burger restaurant on my doorstep.
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