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There’s been a lot of hype on Twitter about the opening of Guerrilla Burger, and coupled with the fact that they’ve set up shop right under my office (on Baldwin Street, where El Guapo used to be) it feels like I’ve been anticipating their arrival for weeks.
Their initial launch was set for Monday 7th January, but due to factors beyond their control (pesky builders by the looks of things!) the opening was delayed until midday the following Friday. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Friday lunches where I work are always something of an occasion, and we generally try to do something a bit nicer than the usual ‘sandwich at the desk’ affair which goes on Monday to Thursday. So with this is mind we booked a table for 12 people on Guerrilla Burger’s opening day. Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a great start…
Half an hour before our booking we got an extremely apologetic phone call to let us know that they weren’t going to be ready to open until later on in the afternoon, so our booking was going to have to be cancelled. Sure, there were a few grumbles, but everyone was happy enough to save Guerrilla Burger for another day. The following day, faced with the prospect of a Saturday afternoon with no plans, I decided to give it another go.
When we arrived we were the only customers in the restaurant, which was a bit of a surprise. Thankfully it filled up for lunchtime service relatively quickly – a relief seeing as being the only couple in a restaurant makes me feel massively awkward! The restaurant itself is small but quite open, with an industrial feel from the minimal furniture, corrugated iron clad bar and metal booths. We chose a seat by the window and got down to business with the menu…
Now a word of warning. If you’re expecting burgers of Atomic Burger or The Burger Joint proportions then you’re going to be bitterly disappointed. Guerrilla Burger specialise in ‘Sliders’, an American term for teeny tiny mini burgers. Personally, I love the idea of this, as it gives you a chance to sample several of the different varieties on the menu in one sitting, and hey, who doesn’t love tiny food?
We opted for the Chorizo and Potato Croquettes (£3) to start, and although we were only served two, despite the menu stating three, it didn’t matter too much, as we’d also been brought a complimentary serving of sweet potato crisps – an added bonus. The Croquettes were great – fluffy mash with meaty chunks of chorizo wrapped up in crispy Panko breadcrumbs, all served with a punchy Wasabi Mayo.
Now being a Slider virgin I wasn’t quite sure exactly how big (or small) one was going to be. Thankfully, our waiter was excellent, and assured us that two each wasn’t greedy at all. I chose the Double Danish Blue (blue cheese and bacon on a home made beef patty with avocado, gherkin and lettuce – £4.25) and the Spanish (beef and chorizo burger topped with Manchego cheese and quince jelly – £4.75). Will went for two double Royale with Cheese (classic cheese on double beef – £7.50) and we ordered a side of fries between us.
Now by this point the restaurant was pretty busy, but bearing in mind we’d been the first people in there, we’d also been the first people to order. You order food at the bar at Guerrilla Burger, so we ordered almost as soon as we’d arrived, and the drinks and starters arrived pretty promptly. The burgers however, took 50 minutes to arrive. Under normal circumstances I would have complained by that point, but the waiter was so genuine about the fact that they’d had a bit of an issue with the order in the kitchen, and followed this up by bringing us some more sweet potato crisps, that we let it slide. Thankfully, when the food eventually arrived it was well worth the wait. The burgers here are testament to the saying “the best things come in small packages” as both of the sliders I’d opted for were excellent, especially the Spanish, which is a contender for the best little burger I’ve ever tasted.
Everywhere has teething problems, and it seems like poor old Guerrilla Burger has had their fair share so far. That said, it’s by no means any reason to be put off, and I’d urge any Bristol based burger fan to get down there sharpish. Once things have settled down I’ve got no doubt that Guerrilla Burger have got everything it takes to become a permanent fixture on Bristol’s ever growing burger scene.