Annie’s Burger Shack – Nottingham
To fellow Nottinghamians Annie’s is a restaurant that has sat fondly in the city since 2009, 4 of those years in residence in the Navigation. Earlier in 2014 it made its move to the Lace Market with no small degree of success, the waiting list being one of the biggest in town. Things have calmed down recently and on a weekday night you can often wander in and get a table.
The move of location hasn’t resulted in many changes in formula: good beer and burgers the order of the day. The drink side certainly delivers with a strong range on tap and by the bottle. The food part of the operation has, for me, delivered mixed results. The menu has no starters but what it lacks there it makes up for in variety of bovine creation. At last count there are 30 options with varying levels of creative juice. Please refer to my crude illustration below, I call it the scale of Annie’s burger creativity™ :
1 – The bacon cheddar
5 – The Jamie Blackmore (BBQ pulled pork)
7 – The Peppino Pizza (Marinara sauce and pepperoni)
10 – The Elvis (peanut butter and jam)
11 – The Sunday Dinner (topped with roast chicken, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing ball, mini roast potatoes and mini vegetables, covered gravy)
Personally, 7 and upwards, my scepticism starts and food seems to begin to turn to novelty. I have had some creations where the toppings were so vast and overpowering the burger is lost. It’s a shame when that happens as the patties themselves are good. My favourite was my most recent visit, the Kogumaza, covered with satay sauce and crispy onions. Not too many ingredients, not too much topping but just enough going on to keep things interesting.
Sides are generally good accompaniments, to the burgers with onion rings pleasingly not swimming in oil and chips of all kinds going down well. It is also worth noting that all burgers can be beef, chicken, vegetarian or vegan. The classic with fries sets you back £8.50, elaborate choices though can command the princely sum of £12.90.
Food aside criticism (rightly) laid at Annie’s feet early on with the service. I don’t want to fall into “it’s only burgers” syndrome, but…it’s only burgers. Damn. Regardless of what was due to be coming out of that kitchen though it took too long. I am pleased to say on my recent visit whilst it wasn’t quite fast food, it was certainly an improvement.
With the overall verdict being good not great, why such popularity? I would go so far as to say Gourmet Burger Kitchen serves equally good fare at worst. From my point of view the menu is what gets people coming back. At other burgers places there are 2/3 I fancy from a menu of 6/7 at most. At Annie’s even if you leave a little disappointed a voice in your head appears, “maybe I should have had The Elvis or The Sunday Dinner”…
Restaurant website: http://www.anniesburgershack.com/#home