Bungalows and Bears

November 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 2 Comments
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If you love burgers (and really, who doesn’t?) then you’re spoilt for choice at the moment, as there’s currently a tonne of Sheffield venues doing some really unusual things with this fast food favourite. Bungalows and Bears on Division Street is one of these places.

At Bungalows and Bears you can grab a classic bacon and cheese burger, or branch out and try burgers filled with everything from peanut butter to Monster Munch crisps!

If that’s not adventurous enough for you, Bungalows and Bears also offer a wide selection of additional toppings, ranging from smoked chipotle jam, to sauerkraut, mac and cheese, houmous, and much more, all a snip at an extra £1. You can even build your own burger by choosing your patty (either beef, char-grilled chicken, or a vegetarian ‘hippy’ patty) and then adding whatever toppings take your fancy.

Bungalows and Bears do other food besides burgers, but the burger section is so massive that I never even get around to looking at the rest of the menu! And this particular day was no different, because it was burgers all around at our table.

One of the things I love about Bungalows and Bears’ burger menu, is how vegetarian friendly it is. Vegetarians can choose from a trio of meat-free burgers, or you can build your own veggie burger by selecting a ‘Hippy’ spinach and lentil patty, and then piling on the toppings.

In the end, I opted for one of Bungalows and Bears’ own creations; a Shroomaloomi burger (£7.45) of flat field mushroom and halloumi.

Shroomaloomi Bungalows and Bears

My first challenge was working out how to tackle this king-size burger! The field mushroom was also very slippery, so whenever I tried to cut my burger, the mushroom slid away from me, taking the rest of the toppings with it. In the end I gave up and got stuck in with my hands. It was messy, but this burger is worth getting messy for.

Whatever halloumi Bungalows and Bears use, it’s the best I’ve ever tasted! Bungalows aren’t stingy with their delicious halloumi either, as my Shroomaloomi was generously filled with thick wedges of the stuff.

This is one incredibly filling burger, but it’s also too good to waste, so I battled through and polished off every last bite of my burger.

All of Bungalows and Bears’ burgers are served with a portion of chunky, skin-on chips, which are my favourite kind of chips. They also put a selection of hot sauces on each table, so I got to splash three kinds of Tabasco onto my skin-on chips, which is pretty much my idea of heaven. I was already completely stuffed from my burger, but the chips were just too good to waste; I couldn’t resist eating them all!

This is one of the best burger and chips combos I’ve had in a long time. In fact, it’s almost as good as the Wick’s mushroom burger, which is my favourite Sheffield burger. My only complaint is that my Shroomaloomi burger arrived lukewarm rather than hot, so it went cold long before I’d finished eating it.

Also arriving at our table was a Ruby Jean’s burger (£8.95) of smoked bacon, emmental and onion rings.

Ruby Jean's

The Ruby Jean’s was every bit as big as my Shroomaloomi. The combination of smoked bacon, emmental and onion rings worked really well, and the onion rings themselves were nice and crispy, without being greasy.

The only complaint was that the burger wasn’t cheesy enough; my friend would have preferred more emmental on his burger, or maybe even a stronger-tasting cheese altogether.

Once again, this is a massive portion of burger, chips, and hot sauce that was just too good to waste. They followed my example and stuffed themselves silly, rather than leaving any food on their plate.

The third burger to arrive at our table wasn’t your typical burger – it was a burger filled with peanut butter and a fried egg (£7.95).

fried egg and peanut butter

If you’ve never had peanut butter with egg on a burger before, trust me it’s not as disgusting as it sounds! Peanut butter and fried egg is one of those strange combinations that actually really works, especially as the runny yolk helps combat the dryness of the peanut butter, to make one very tasty burger.

If you’re open minded about food, then this is something you need to try!

If you think a peanut butter and egg burger is strange, then how about a burger of emmental and pickled onion Monster Munch crisps (£8.45), with a bonus deep-fried pickle on the side (£1)?

Monster Munch Bungs and Bears

The burger sauce had a nice tang to it, and the distinctive taste of pickled onion Monster Munch works really well as a burger filling (who knew?) Bungalows and Bears really do have a knack for these quirky combinations!

My friend also loved the deep-fried pickle they’d ordered on the side, as they could still taste that distinctive, sour tang of pickle through the batter.

If you order a burger at Bungalows and Bears, you can be certain of two things: you’re going to get very full, and very messy. These burgers aren’t for the faint hearted!

You can’t knock Bungalows and Bears for the choice they provide, particularly as this choice includes so many weird and wonderful combinations. Even if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be spoilt for choice by their burger menu, which is a very rare thing!

The negatives? Personally, I’m not a fan of the way Bungalows and Bears serve their burgers in plastic baskets. I find this makes food more difficult to eat, especially when the food in question is a precariously-stacked burger. The drinks at Bungalows are also on the expensive side, so if you’re counting the pennies you may want to order a soft drink with your burger. However, when it comes to the actual food, I can’t fault them!

Finally, if you love a bargain then be sure to visit Bungalows and Bears on a Tuesday, when they do a 2-4-1 deal on all burgers. Considering how big and filling these burgers are, this is fantastic value for money.

four-stars

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The Great Gatsby

March 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 2 Comments
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Last year, the Great Gatsby announced the launch of Shy Boy Catina; their new, distinctly Mexican-inspired menu. I’ve been meaning to give Shy Boy Catina at the Great Gatsby a go for a while now. Actually, I’ve been meaning to give it a go ever since I first heard that the Division Street pub had gone all Mexican on us, but despite being on my ‘To Do’ list for a while now, I wound up at the Gatsby last week completely by accident. I’d wandered into town hell-bent on trying a new sushi restaurant I’d heard good things about, only to discover that the place is closed on a Monday – and guess which day of the week I was stood outside, in the drizzle, trying the door handle and wondering why all the lights were off?

With no sushi in sight, the only sensible course of action was to head to the nearest pub and drink until our sushi-deprived party agreed on a Plan B. We eventually decided  that a burrito was a good substitute for sushi (obviously…), and so off to the Great Gatsby we went.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the Great Gatsby, it’s a welcoming snug of place, that’s not too dissimilar to the Wick at Both Ends. It’s the kind of cosy spot where you can imagine whiling away an afternoon, sipping mulled wine (even in March) and watching the world go by. The Great Gatsby has a fantastic vibe too; it’s funky without being in the least bit stuffy or pretentious.

When it comes to food, the Shy Boy Catina is a festival of Mexican grub, covering burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and spicy sandwiches. There’s also some intriguing side dishes (avocado fries, anyone?) and a very authentic-sounding dessert of chocolate churros. If you’re partial to Mexican food, then prepare to be spoilt for choice.

After much deliberating, we both opted for a burrito; one Slow Braised Beef Rib burrito, and one Veggie Chilli burrito (£7 each). Our meat, and non-meat burritos were presented in exactly the same fashion, and came with an identical side order of tortilla chips and dips. First impressions were good, as the bundled-up burritos were big, fat torpedos, and when I picked mine up to unwrap it, I could feel the weight of all that rice and veg chilli.

Great Gatsby veggie burrito

Both burritos were accompanied by a handful of crunchy tortilla chips, which had clearly been cooked on the premises, as oppose to being pre-packaged. This little pile of tortilla chips was finished off with a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of finely-chopped tomatoes, red onion, and coriander. It’s always nice to see somewhere going the extra mile, rather than just grabbing a handful of crisps from a packet, plonking them on your plate, and calling that a side dish. The cooling mix of fresh veggies and sour cream also provided a much-needed break from those delicious, but heavy-going, burritos.

Of course, no tortilla chips are complete without dips, and our chips came with a duo of dips. The first, was a guacamole that was freshly-made, if the chunks of un-mashed avocado were anything to go by. I usually hate the texture of guacamole but I still couldn’t resist the Great Gatsby’s take on this dip. The second dip was a bit of a mystery, although there was definitely some coriander mixed in there. The dip had a sour note and a slow, spicy afterburn that I wasn’t overly keen on, so I stuck with the homemade guacamole, which was far tastier.

Speaking of burritos, it was time to peel back the wrapping and unleash the beast! There’s nothing delicate about the Great Gatsby’s veggie burrito; so even if you forgo the meat, prepare to be stuffed silly! My veggie burrito was chock-full of spicy rice, beans, and a smattering of veggies including courgette, roasted peppers, and tangy red onion. This stomach-swelling filling was perfectly cooked, with not a mushy grain of rice or burnt bean in sight.

Just to make absolutely sure you’re not going to be hungry anytime soon, the Great Gatsby lace their burrito filling with a strong, smoky cheese. I’m not sure what type of cheese they use, but I know that my life would be vastly improved if I had a block of the stuff in my fridge!

My veggie burrito had a satisfying heat to it, but if you like your food on the spicy side, then the Great Gatsby provide a barrel full of fiery condiments. If you’re a chilli freak (like yours truly) I recommend splashing some chipotle sauce onto that burrito. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to the sushi fiasco and the mid-day drinking, I was starving by the time I sat down for lunch, but even in that state I couldn’t clear my plate. If you’ve got a raging hunger, then treat yourself to a big, fat, juicy Gatsby burrito. It’s guaranteed to fill you up!

The braised beef burrito was an equally belly-filling affair.

PreviewScreenSnapz002

My dining companion had been a bit unsure what to expect from a “beef rib” burrito, but was relieved to see there wasn’t a bone in sight. The beef had been slow-cooked (for 8 hours apparently) in chipotle and coriander marinade, until it melted off the bone – and was then stuffed into a burrito. The chipotle marinade gave the tender meat a deep, rich heat, although it was difficult to make out the coriander.

In addition to juicy meat, the Great Gatsby managed to squeeze in some rice, cheese, diced tomatoes and raw red onion. The veggies were a very welcome addition, as without these bursts of freshness, the burrito might have been too heavy going to be properly enjoyable. Instead, the beef burrito felt like the perfect lunchtime blow-out.

Here, I have to make a confession. In a moment of madness (I blame those pre-lunch drinks), I’d ordered a side dish to go alongside my two tonne burrito: a portion of Corn & Black Bean Bombers (£3.50). These “bombers” are scotch egg-sized balls of sweetcorn and chunky bean mix, held together by an unexpectedly chewy batter, and served with a spicy mayo dip.

Great Gatsby black bean bombers

The chewy exterior was a bit of a surprise, but once I’d gotten over the unusual texture, the bombers are a mourish side dish that tastes even better dunked into the accompanying dip. My only regret is that I was too stuffed from my super-sized burrito, and had to enlist some help polishing off my bombers.

 Great Gatsby black bean bomber

In addition to stomach-stretching grub, the Great Gatsby do some funky cocktails. If you’re like me (i.e a sucker for a drink in a weird container), then get yourself down to the Gatsby and choose from a cocktail that’s served in a tin can, a jam jar, a paint tin, and even a treasure chest! Mexican food and treasure chests filled with booze? You’ve got to admire the Great Gatsby’s randomness.

Even before I sampled some of what Shy Boy Catina has to offer, I loved the Great Gatsby. After sampling the food, I love it even more! This Devonshire Street pub may not be the first thing that pops into your head when you get a hankering for Mexican street food, but they serve up big slabs of spiced stodge that’s the perfect hangover food, the perfect post-drinking food, and the perfect Plan B when the sushi restaurant around the corner is closed.

My advice? Go hungry. Go very, very hungry. And if you’re tempted by a side dish, be prepared to share – because you will be stuffed by the time you finish your main meal.

5-stars

Bungalows and Bears

November 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 2 Comments
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I’ve frequented Bungalows and Bears on Division Street for drinks a number of times, and have always enjoyed the atmosphere. It’s an aircraft-hanger of a venue, but some clear effort has been put into creating that cosy, intimate feel. The tables are arranged so there’s plenty of private little nooks if you’re looking for a quiet meal out, not to mention big, comfy three-seaters for when you really want to relax. This, combined with Bungalows and Bears’ penchant for keeping the house lights turned down, creates a far more relaxing, laidback atmosphere than you’d expect from such a large, city centre venue (although, it goes without saying that this doesn’t apply on Friday and Saturday nights!)

The atmosphere and decor have always been a big hit, but I’ve never actually eaten at Bungalows and Bears. So, when I spotted that they’d had launched a 2-for-1 deal on gourmet burgers every Tuesday evening, it was all the motivation I needed: it was straight from the office to 50 Division Street, with double-cooked chips and burgers in mind.

Bungalows and Bears’ burger menu puts other pedallers of gourmet burgers to shame. It’s split into three sections – beef, chicken and vegetarian. While the chicken section is restricted to just two burgers, beef-lovers can top their meat with everything from chorizo and grilled halloumi, to smoked bacon, goat’s cheese, and avocado. With three (!) equally impressive veggie options on offer, I had a tough call to make. After much soul searching, I decided to save the Shroomaloomi burger (flat mushrooms and grilled halloumi) for another day, and went all out on the Hippy Deluxe (£8.55) which came topped with field mushrooms and emmental. At the other end of the table, it was a similiar no-holds-barred burger-fest of beef topped with avocado, blue cheese and bacon.

At nearly £9 per burger, Bungalows and Bears isn’t cheap, especially if you like a tipple with your food. However, building on our 2-for-1 savviness, we ordered a bottle of reasonably-priced Chardonnay (£9.95) that lasted the entire meal. The wine arrived extravagantly presented, in an enormous bucket packed with ice, alongside our cutlery and a wire wrack containing an impressive array of sauces. I’m a bit of a chilli head, so I was excited to spy three hot sauces mixed in with the usual mayo, mustard and ketchup: standard Tobasco, a green jalapeno sauce and a chipotle version.

So far, so good, but when our just-shy-of-nine-quid burgers rolled up, my confidence was shaken. They were served in plastic baskets and, even at a glance, I could tell both burgers were super-greasy. Confidence was restored when I took my first bite – sure, the burger didn’t look as appetizing as I’d expected, and okay, it was one of the messiest, greasiest burgers I’ve eaten recently, but it tasted fantastic.

The patty itself was a satisfying mix of nicely-cooked lentils and tasty mushrooms, topped with tangy cheese. Experimenting with some of the hot sauces sealed the deal. If you order a veggie burger at Bungalows and Bears, be sure to slather it in Tabasco!

The burger came with a very generous portion of double-cooked chips, a few of which had scraps of crispy skin still on. Personally, I prefer my chips a bit chunkier, but they were delicious nonetheless.

At the other end of the table, the beef burger was similarly messy (this certainly isn’t first date food!) but again it delivered where it matters: the taste. Despite being a little dubious to begin with, it turns out that a thick wedge of melt-in-the-mouth avocado, salty bacon and super-strong cheese is a match made in heaven.

Again, the burger came with a mountain of double-cooked chips. Combined with the thick meat patty, filling avocado and lashings of blue cheese, this belly-buster was impossible to finish. Defeated and stuffed, we both left half of our chips.

Despite a few niggles, Bungalows and Bears’ burgers are delicious, and there’s enough variation to make return trips a necessity. However, considering the price of one burger (most clock in at around £8) I will definitely be returning – but only on 2-for-1 Tuesdays. This too-good-to-be-true offer turns a rather pricey burger into an absolute steal.

So, visit on a Tuesday, save a few quid on the burgers, splash out on a bottle of Bungalows and Bears’ wine instead, and make an evening of it – because this is the sort of venue where you’ll want to take your time.

Nosh

August 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Posted in Cafe | Leave a comment
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As someone who enjoys whiling away Sunday morning in a coffee shop, it’s currently one of my biggest bugbears that Tamper Coffee doesn’t open on a Sunday (waaaaah!) The upside is that we’re always trying out new places for our little Sunday morning coffee club, which is how we discovered Nosh this week.

Located as central-as-they-come on Division Street, Nosh is a bright, pleasant and cheap-as-chips purveyor of hot drinks and assorted snacks. We placed our order at the till, where we were served by a very pleasant waitress who, rather than rushing through our order, took the time to exchange a few pleasantries with us – a surefire way to make new customers feel positive about a place.

We slipped into one of several surprisingly private booths and awaited our food and drinks. We were caught out by the fact that there wasn’t table service for hot drinks, and quickly returned to the counter for the liquid part of our order. There was also something a bit budget-hotel about the plastic tubs of sugar sachets and other condiments on the table, but these niggles were soon forgotten when we tucked into our hot drinks and snacks.

First up, was a bargain £1.95 latte which came nicely presented in a tall glass. Although the Our Cow Molly milk is sorely missing (Tamper, you’ve spoiled us!) this is still a cut above most big chains.

My hot chocolate was rich and indulgent without being sickly, even the dregs at the bottom were delicious rather than silty with undissolved chocolate powder. The drink was finished off with (un)healthy lashings of yummy chocolate powder. At £2.19 this treat is an absolute steal.

But that wasn’t the biggest bargain of the morning: the bacon, egg and cheese muffin we ordered came in at a pocket-friendly £1.60. A little dubious about this cheapie breakfast, we were pleasantly surprised by what showed up: a freshly-cooked, no-frills treat of tasty bacon, perfectly-cooked egg and a large slice of cheese. Grease-free and obviously pulled straight off the grill, our reviewer raved about the taste, the freshness and, of course, the price.

A large americano (£2.10) to wash down the muffin equalled one very happy camper.

Nosh is a cheap and cheerful place, set in bright, clean surroundings – they may pedal bargain butties, but there’s nothing ‘greasy spoon’ about them. Nosh serve a decent, Fairtrade cuppa (at this point, it goes without saying you can get better coffee elsewhere in the city) but it’s the no-frills food where they really excel. Do yourself a favour, and treat yourself to a budget-friendly breakfast sarnie while you’re there. If you’re on a tight schedule and/or a tight budget, quick, pleasant and pocket-friendly Nosh is the way to go.

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