THERE ARE times when you fancy a sophisticated, classy lunch, that’s light and easy on the stomach. But sometimes, only a big juicy burger will do.
But sometimes, only a big juicy burger will do. That’s where Almost Famous comes in.
There’s nothing refined or classy about this place – and that’s kind of the point.
While a host of fancy new restaurants have opened up offering gourmet burgers, Almost Famous is unapologetically big and brash, dishing up huge double-burgers dripping in sauce and cheese and packed to the rafters with toppings.
You may have heard about the venue when it opened in September and hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after a strange decoration choice in the ladies’ toilets – where the walls were painted with phrases such as, ‘Why can’t I be thinner?’ and ‘I need a nose job’.
It was a step over the line for many, who saw it as ‘misogynistic’, and it was quickly painted over.
It’s not the first time Almost Famous has attracted unwanted attention though, as it previously had to ditch its ‘Sl*t Sauce’ from the menu, but has kept its controversial ‘B*tch Juice’ cocktail.
Controversy aside, the burger bar is pretty popular, with three sites in Manchester and Liverpool. So we were intrigued to test it out.
Behind a small doorway and following a neon sign, Almost Famous opens out into a big dining area, with dim lighting, booths, metal chairs and dark wooden tables, with some graffiti and comic book art adorning the walls.
Oh, and there’s a huge floor-to-ceiling gorilla statue by the door. And a photo booth.
It’s pretty clear it’s keen to be one of the ‘cool kids’.
Our waiter led us to our table and said the sundaes still weren’t available – a teething problem that surely should have been fixed by now.
We weren’t told we needed to order at the bar, which led to a bit of a wait until we saw a small pointer on the menu.
Oh yes. The menu. Well, there’s everything you’d expect from a burger – and everything you wouldn’t. From the Oreo ice cream sandwich side to the Frazzles toppings, it’s a mixed bag to say the least.
I went for the Johnny Mac, topped with applewood smoked and cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions, Doritos, million island dressing, chipotle ketchup and a mac and cheese ball. Believe it or not, this is one of the simpler burgers on the menu.
Priced at £8.50, you get a lot for your money, and I could only manage half of it. The burger was juicy and tasty but the mac and cheese ball was dry and a little unnecessary.
My companion went for the Suicide Burger with cheese, hot sauce, blue cheese sauce, lettuce chillies and jalapeño relish, at £7.50.
The luminous orange hot sauce put me off but my partner loved it and ate it in seconds before finishing the rest of my meal. We also ordered ‘Love Hate Fries’, with marmite butter – another odd concoction but it worked well.
The bill came to £25 with two soft drinks. With decent burgers, let’s just hope this place becomes famous for the right reasons this time.