June 22, 2013

Chucks Chicken and Burgers - Pop Up Restaurant in Cardiff - Review

Last week some friends and I ventured to the newest restaurant in Cardiff: Chucks Chicken and Burgers.

Chucks is a pop-up restaurant - it's opened in the old dairy building in Pontcanna and will only be around for 3 weeks.  They have some incredible support behind them - Milgis do the mixed drinks, Beer is from Pipes and Tiny Rebel,  Desert is from Joes ice cream.  Fresh artisan rolls from Fabrice the French Baker in Hereford.  Cig Lodor provides all the meat, straight from the farm in Pembrokeshire.
Local meat, local bread, local companies all working together. This pretty much sounded like my dream food experience.

On arrival we found our friends enjoying their Milgis cocktails in a makeshift bar area.  Brewer half went to the bar to pick out a pint, I was so excited to try some more lovely Tiny Rebel beers but unfortunately they were sold out of all of them.  Instead I had a Pipes Helles Lager, which was very tasty and perfectly matched to the burger I was about to enjoy!
The only problem with the ambiance was the very loud music blasting from the very large speakers, but maybe that's just a sign of me being old.  I'm not sure though, because I snapped this picture and it seamed that no one wanted to sit near the speakers.  
We all ordered burgers - I had the Royal with Cheese because nothing beats a cheeseburger!  All the burgers were £8+ and it was an extra £2 for fries. 

There were a number of sides on offer, including fried pickles, but since I've already had the best fried pickles ever  (Penguin Diner in South Carolina!)  I decided not to order them here.

40 minutes later our burgers arrived. Presentation was excellent:
Unfortunately this is where the meal went sad... the burger just didn't stand by itself.  Somehow all the amazing ingredients, all the amazing talent, all the inspiration and all the design and produced something that tasted... average. 
The overwhelming taste from the burger was veg - which is great because I love veg, but with this quality of meat I should have been drowning in tasty beef.  The meat wasn't overcooked, it was very pink, but I still couldn't taste anything special.  I could barely taste the burger at all.  Brewer half thought it had a "twang of processed meat", I just thought it was unremarkable.

In contrast, my favourite burger from America is from 5 Guys:
Messy, meaty, hand made burgers.  No fuss, just mess.  Taste!

Unfortunately my friends were all pretty unhappy with their burgers as well.  The hungriest in our group got what could only be described as a "smattering" of fries - we counted 16 fries.  For £2 he was (understandably) displeased.

Onion rings didn't hold up any better unfortunately, the breaded outside was mushy and greasy - I'm not sure if they spent too long in the frier?
I've never been more sad to not like a place.  The idea is great, the backing is amazing, the collaboration is brilliant.  Cardiff NEEDS more creative food outlets and I really hope some other fabulous options come through.  Chucks, unfortunately, does not live up to it's potential.  But I'm still thrilled to see
these type of restaurants coming into Cardiff and I'm excited to go support the next one.  

I would recommend going to Chucks to see and support Cardiff's local food scene.  Go for the beer, the ambiance, the quirk!  Go to support the local butchers and the creative use of a unique space.  Just don't necessarily go for the burgers. 

The Old Dairy
200 Kings Road

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