So Christmas is officially over. Time for salads, exercise and virtue in all departments now.
Or not. Apparently I find myself in Almost Famous – surely the last place on earth people should want to go after days of cramming in Toblerone and leftovers on the sofa.
But I’m not alone. By the looks of it the imminent prospect of jogging off all the Yuletide sins isn’t enough to keep people away. The restaurant’s big dining hall is busy even in the mid-week with people out enjoying its brazen offerings.
For the uninitiated, the menu here is so inventively unwholesome it’s as though it’s been drafted by some sort of Texan Willy Wonka. One audacious dish, the Good Morning America burger, combines its sausage patties, bacon and cheese with a Strawberry Poptart.
At times it does feel like the place is trying hard to be edgy. For example, the burgers named after late film stars: River Pheonix, Brittany Murphy, Anna Nicole. But there’s also a refreshingly informal mood: Kitchen roll substitutes for serviettes, staff are easy-going (if a little slow at times), and crowd-pleasing hits play in the background.
Burgers are clearly its flagship product (other dishes are labelled ‘Not Burgers’) so it only seemed right to go for one of them. My friend and I order a River Phoenix and Brittany Murphy. The first is a burger with cheese, streaky bacon, shoestring onions, Frazzles (the crisps, yeah), red chilies, ‘Redneck BBQ’ sauce, ‘Bacon Bacon mayo’ and ‘Winning ketchup’ (£9). The second – there’s no escape for vegetarians – is two mac and cheese patties (deep fried, obviously), sun-dried tomatoes, ‘trailer trash onions’, iceberg lettuce, jalapeno relish, ‘Famous sauce’ and ‘Redneck BBQ’ sauce (£8.50).
It tastes incredible. Of course it does, it’s everything dieticians are warning us about. The sweet and smokey flavours mix together so well it’s easy to forget the crazy ingredients. Mains don’t come with anything else though, so we share a side of ‘Winning fries’ – a mix of skin-on and sweet potato fries (£2.50), which go down without delay. As did a pint of Brooklyn (£5) and a couple of cocktails (£7.50 each).My friend enjoyed a vodka-based ‘Haribo Smash’ (tastes just like them), and the pretty special ‘Tommy and Fitz’, which combines tequila, blood orange liqueur and orange sherbet, among other things.
Only out of professional curiosity, I promise, did we finish with the Black Forest Gloreo (£5), which includes waffle-battered deep fried Oreos, black cherry pie filling, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It’s as nauseating and delicious as it sounds.