The Harley

April 23, 2016 at 8:54 am | Posted in Pub Grub, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Burgers are no longer just something you grab from a takeaway on your way home after a night out. Over the past few years, everyone’s favourite fast food has become a lot more exciting, to the point where there’s a few Sheffield venues that specialise in burgers, such as Bungalows and Bears, Urban ¼ and, of course, the Harley.

I love a good burger, so when the Harley asked if I wanted to come and try their new burger menu, I jumped at the chance.

The format of this particular menu tasting was a bit different, as the staff brought out wave after wave of side orders for everyone sampling the new menu to share, plus lots of burgers cut into handy, bite-sized quarters. So don’t judge me for all the burgers and sides I’m talking about in this review, because I only had a taste of each of them! 

The first order of business was to try the Harley’s new Twisted sauces. This is a trio of vegan sauces made in collaboration with Sheffield clothing label Drop Dead.

sauces

Out of the three sauces on offer, my hands-down favourite was the Techno sauce which is a tangy burger sauce made with Henderson’s Relish. This sauce has a complex and unique flavour that’s difficult to put your finger on, but is all kinds of delicious. I’ve been hooked on the Harley’s Techno sauce ever since I got my first taste of it on the breakfast McMuffin they used to serve at the weekends (something that sadly seems to have disappeared from the menu, boo!)

The second sauce was Jalapeno Salsa, which is perfect for spicing up your fries and burgers if you have a soft spot for hot food. The Twisted Jalapeno Sauce also has a tangy note that makes it a little bit different (and in my opinion, much tastier) than your typical straight-up spicy salsa.

The final sauce was the Twisted BBQ sauce which has an interesting list of ingredients – tequila, chocolate and Henderson’s Relish, anyone? This is a tasty twist on your bogstandard BBQ sauce.

And if there’s a Twisted sauce that you just can’t get enough of, you can purchase all three sauces from Drop Dead’s website. Needless to say, I foresee a bottle of Techno sauce landing on my doorstep in the very near future!

The Harley provided two sets of chips for the purpose of putting these sauces to the test: the standard Harley house fries (£1.25 for a single portion, £2.25 for a sharing portion) and sweet potato fries (an additional £2). I’ve always loved the Harley’s fries as they have a nice, spicy kick to them, but this is the first time I’ve tried their sweet potato fries. Turns out they’re even better, so I’ll be definitely upgrading to sweet potato fries from now on!

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Sauces sampled, it was time to move onto the burgers and sides. First up, was Return of the Mac (£6.95).

return of the mac

The Return of the Mac is a double bacon patty burger with mac and cheese, plus a helping of homemade pesto. The bacon patty is a bit of a weird concept, but it’s a weirdness that works, and the mac and cheese doesn’t skimp on the cheese, making this a winning burger.

If you do order the Return of the Mac, then try it with a splash of the Twisted BBQ sauce as it goes really well with this particular burger.

Next up was a side order of Highway to Falafel (£3.50).

highway to falafel

Out of everything I tried from the Harley’s new menu (and I tried a lot) these falafel balls were the one thing I wouldn’t order again. They’re a lot tougher and crunchier than any falafel I’ve tried before, which I wasn’t keen on. And as someone who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, I also wasn’t wild about the accompanying coconut and coriander dip, which was seriously sweet. I did swap this pot for another helping of Techno sauce (yep, I’m addicted) and that made these falafel balls much more to my taste, but I’m still not convinced.

Things quickly got back on track as I spied something seriously exciting coming out of the kitchen: Jalapeno Business Fries (£4.75).

jalapeno business fries

The Harley’s Business Fries are a massive portion of chips, smothered in cheese, guacamole, sour cream, house relish, diced jalapenos and lots of cajun seasoning, garnished with a whole grilled chilli. The Jalapeno Business Fries are my favourite thing to order from the Harley, so I was glad to see they’d survived the menu change. If you’re a spice fan, then you need to try these fries!  

If you’re not a massive chilli head but you still fancy stuffing yourself with a humongous portion of Harley fries smothered in lots of sauce, then you may want to opt for the Big Pimpin’ Fries (£5.50) instead.

Big pimpin’ fries

These Big Pimpin’ Fries are another super-sized portion of Harley fries, but this time topped with lots of juicy pulled pork, manchego sauce, Twisted BBQ sauce and guacamole.

Back to burgers, and next up was the Bury Me in Smoked Sausage (£7.95).

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This burger teams a double chicken patty with smoked sausage, creole mayo, monterey jack and red onion gherkins. The sausage had a lovely smoky flavour and the gherkins added a nice contrast in terms of taste and texture.

Sticking with chicken, the next side was Hang up the Chicken Habit (£3.50) aka confit chicken wings served with a blue cheese dip.

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These wings were crispy and surprisingly grease-free, with a good amount of meat on each wing. They were strongly seasoned with lots of salt and pepper, plus a generous helping of jalapenos which gave these wings a nice kick. The accompanying blue cheese dip went perfectly with these salty, peppery, spicy wings, but it also doubles up as a great dip for your chips if you fancy a change from all those strong Twisted sauces.

Next up was a truly gut-busting burger: the triple-cheese Cheesy Rider (£6.95).

Cheesy Rider.jpeg

This veggie burger basically replaces the traditional meat patty with cheese, then adds more cheese on top, and finishes the whole thing off with an extra-large helping of cheese sauce. Specifically, you get a double halloumi patty, plus monterey jack, plus manchego cheese sauce – that’s a serious amount of cheese!

I love cheese, so I quickly devoured my quarter of the Cheesy Rider, but I’m not sure I could have managed the other three quarters. This is a seriously heavy burger!

As I’ve already mentioned, the Twisted sauces are all vegan friendly, so it’s no surprise that the Harley also have a vegan burger on their menu.

Drop Dead Twisted BBQ burger.jpg

The Twisted Barbecue Burger (£7.95) consists of a double “meat” patty, a vegan “cheese” slice, plus BBQ jackfruit and Twisted BBQ sauce.

I’m not a vegan and I haven’t really tried that many vegan alternatives, but I loved this burger! The “meat” patty had a really strong, savoury flavour, and not only was the vegan cheese a tasty substitute for the dairy equivalent, but it also had an authentic cheese texture. 

To put this vegan burger to the ultimate test, I convinced my meat-eating friend to take a bite, and they agreed that this is one of the best burgers on the Harley’s new menu. I’d actually have to take this one step further and say this is the best burger on the Harley’s new menu.

Regardless of whether you’re veggie, vegan or omnivore, the Twisted Barbecue Burger is definitely worth ordering.

Moving beyond the vegan burger, the Twisted sauces are all fantastic, the Jalapeno Business Fries are every bit as delicious as they’ve always been, and there’s a good selection of tasty meat-based burgers on the menu too – especially the Return of the Mac.

I’ll definitely be popping in for my fix of Twisted Barbecue Burger with Techno sauce, plus Jalapeno Business Fries for as long as they remain on the menu.

rating-3-star

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The Common Room

February 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Over the years, I’ve had some good nights at the Common Room on Devonshire Street, but they’ve all been liquid-based – and to be honest, the menu had never given me that burning desire to order anything more substantial than booze. However, I recently found myself at the Common Room for a work’s do, stomach grumbling at the sight of my co-workers’ burgers, and wishing I’d ordered something for myself (rather just plundering the staff bar). After that, it was only a matter of time before I found myself at the Common Room again, this time with food in mind.

The Common Room is an enormous venue, with a definite sport’s obsession. Take a wrong turn at the bar, and you’ll find yourself in a warren of pool rooms. Sit, well, practically anywhere, and your eyes will naturally come to rest on one of the many television screens that line the walls (and those televisions are always showing – you guessed it, sport). The Common Room has a fantastic atmosphere when there’s a game on, and the sheer size of the place means you stand a chance at getting a seat, even when there’s something popular on the T.V screens.

In addition to the pool rooms, there’s an area around the bar that’s all about the comfy booths, and a separate dining area. The dining area is a contrast to the dark wooden beams and exposed brickwork of the rest of the Common Room; it’s bright, airy and has a canteen feel to it. One look at the menu, and this change of decor makes sense; the Common Room’s grub is pure American diner.

We took our seats in the dining area and were surprised when the waitress came over and requested a debit or credit card, which they kept behind the bar until we’d finished our meal. This isn’t a policy I’ve encountered in Sheffield before! After handing over a card, it was time to take a closer look at the menu. The Common Room is very loyal to its American diner theme, with a focus on burgers, chips, hot dogs, and ribs, not to mention a few nicely authentic touches, such as corn chips, cherry soda, and root beer. There’s also some really innovative sauces on offer that’ll please the adventurous eater – don’t worry, this isn’t a boring ‘chips and a burger’ place!

I opted for a veggie burger (£7.00), more for the accompaniments than anything else. The menu promised a burger filled with salsa, cheese, burger sauce, and a “green chili slaw” that I couldn’t wait to try. When my meal arrived, I was pleased to see they hadn’t been stingy with the slaw – I had an entire tin can full of the stuff, and the slaw itself looked chunky and homemade. There was also a decent portion of fries, served in a little blue and white jug.

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Despite the big portion of fries and slaw, the burger itself didn’t look particularly exciting. The single patty, one lettuce leaf and square slice of cheese, left the burger bun looking a bit sad and empty. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I started chowing down, the veggie patty was chunky and full of identifiable veggies (always better than vegetable mulch!); the square of cheese didn’t have the plastic taste I’d been dreading; and the salsa and burger sauce made this rather plain-looking burger really tasty!

When I finally got around to that rustic-looking slaw, it was every bit as yummy as I’d hoped. Those fresh, crunchy veggies in creamy sauce, turned my run-of-the-mill french fries into a treat, and I piled on the slaw enthusiastically. My only niggling disappointment, was that I’d expected anything called ‘chili slaw’ to pack a punch, and it wasn’t in the least bit spicy.

At the other end of the table, my dining companion decided to treat herself to some equally guilty grub: a feast of Bacon Fries (£4.95) and Starter Wings (£3.50).

Bacon fries are one of those so-wrong-it’s-right dishes; a celebration of everything that’s bad for you, in the form of french fries, piled high with bacon and cheese, and finished off with a winning trio of cheese sauce, baconnaise (that’s bacon flavoured mayo!) and BBQ sauce. When you wake up with a hangover, this is everything you crave, packed into one calorie-laden dish.

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The bacon was thick and grease-free, while the cheese had a good flavour to it, and the combination of cheese sauce and baconnaise sealed the deal. It was thumbs up for the bacon fries!

At £3.50, the Starter Wings turned out to be a value-for-money pile of chicken wings, which were dark and sticky with the Common Room’s Wild Turkey Bourbon glaze. There was even a bonus helping of sauce in the bottom of the bowl, which helped keep the chicken wings moist.

There’s enough interesting flourishes on the Common Room’s menu to lure you back for a repeat visit, and the place definitely has an artistic flair when it comes to sauces (scotch bonnet jam, or banana ketchup, anyone?) This may not be the place to go for a slap up meal, but sometimes you have a hunger that only big burgers, fries, and bacon-flavoured mayonnaise can satisfy.

If you’re in town and want something quick, filling, and a little bit naughty, the Common Room is worth a visit – as long as you’re not on a diet!

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