I:M@Burger Theory

Atmosphere: 8  Food: 8  Drink: 7  Overall: 7.7

Looking for a burger that goes above and beyond, satisfying mind, body and soul? Two words: Burger. Theory. A warm and buzzing atmosphere, accompanied by an extensive and wacky menu, these guys are strong contenders for the best burgers in Bristol.

A concept initially envisioned by two friends back in 2011, Burger Theory started with humble beginnings as a street food company roaming the country. It was many years and took the help of many friends before the lads could finally open the doors to their own restaurant on St Stephen’s Street. And thank God they did. Personality and passion flows through the restaurant and all that these guys do. The login cabin façade, wood clad walls, dangling light bulbs and quirky wall murals makes the restaurant feel young and lively, although granted it was packed with people at both the bar and tables. Visiting on a Wednesday evening with only one table to spare, my advice is to book in advance to avoid long waits.

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What separates Burger Theory from other Bristolian burger joints is the eccentricity and variety in its menu. The menu is overflowing with the chef’s flare and innovation. Classic beef and chicken patties are pimped out to the nines- wrap your laughing gear round a “Down n’ Dirty” or a spicy “Blue Cow” and you won’t be disappointed. The usual suspects of crispy fried bacon, cheddar, blue cheese and onion rings are all on show in these stalwart classics of Burger Law.  The emphasis on quality and locally sourced produce ensure these favourites are always up to scratch. Only buying meats and vegetables from local butchers and farmers, it’s reassuring to know your meal’s provenance is taken care of.  

Burger Theory also offers some real novelty dishes, setting them well apart from the rest of the field. They live up to their creative claims and do genuinely push the boundaries. The “KFC Burger” is fired-up fried chicken done Korean style, while “The Don” takes an interesting twist on an Italian burger, featuring oregano, pepperoni, mozzarella and Neapolitan sauce.

What makes these guys really stand out however is their extensive range of non-meat options, a section that so often falls short, bland and limited in your conventional burger eatery. The boys at Burger Theory have really upped the game with options such as the “Rory’s Best Ever Veggie Cheese Burger” (it really is as cheesey as the name) and the “Fu-Chi”, the veggie cousin of the KFC and the Kimcheese burgers. The veggie patties are made from tofu and quinoa, and the add-ons again are not a poor relation to those of the carnivore- just try the “Dirty Hippie” if you don’t believe me. It would be really cool if Burger Theory could bring the “Impossible Burger” to Bristol sometime soon. It would put them on the map as leading burger innovators not just in Bristol but whole of UK too. 

On top of this the choice of sides and snacks certainly do not fall short, with some tantalising variants on fries including the Poutine – chips loaded with melted cheddar and mozzarella, gravy, spring onions and crispy garlic fried chicken, some heart stopping stuff.

It is also worth bearing in mind the time of year you visit and if you’re lucky enough to swing by during this festive period, Burger Theory are showcasing an exciting Christmas menu including Tartiflette fries- French mountain potatoes baked smothered in reblochon cheese, cream, garlic, onions, smoked bacon lardons (oooooh baby), honey mustard glazed pigs in blankets, and the “Oh Deer Burger”- a venison patty topped with crispy smoked bacon, melted brie and an orange & cranberry sauce. 

The attention to how the meat was cooked was a refreshing touch, which so many high turn-around burger chains just don’t pay such attention to. This focus on the bespoke, artisan and local does come at a cost however, where pricing is definitely at the high end for a burger restaurant around Bristol, standing at £6.50 up to £15.45 for a burger and £3.25 up to £6.25 for fries and sides.

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Alongside their burgers, the dessert options offer a large selection of different ice-cream flavours – expectedly far from the generic and include “Vanilla Funky Banana” and “Morello Cherry & White Chocolate Chunk”, as well as some more classic desserts. Naturally for a burger joint, milkshakes are a feature. At just under a fiver for one, they do act as the finishing touch to a meal here. The flavour combos live up to the Burger Theory’s thirst for eccentricity, whilst not shying from the classics. The peanut butter cookie dough is the crown to any meal with the perfect balance of a rich, nutty flavour to Oreo crunch. For those looking for something stronger the drinks menu is substantial and it’s a good place to go for fans of craft beefs or quirky cocktails. Again, expect to pay slightly more for the products which are off the beaten track, but often it does pay to try the individual and crafted.

These guys bring a refreshingly distinctive, bespoke and individual take on burgers and their attention to detail, thirst for the unconventional and passion for produce shines through in their food. It’s a perfect place for a casual bite to eat or special occasion. What Burger Theory boasts is a warm atmosphere, friendly staff and honest, hearty, tasty grub without that generic chain atmosphere which so many big burger chains exhibit. We’re just excited to see what they’ll do next!