Today’s post is a bit special for me, because I FINALLY get to review Arbuckles. This once-big chain is now relegated to a single restaurant in Norfolk, which happens to be right down the road from my parents’ house. Despite it being there, and being popular, for so long, I never managed to make it over for a meal beyond one stop right when we first moved there. Now, at last, here’s my review of the burgers they serve.
First off, let’s go over the menu description. It’s described as follows:
THE CLASSIC VEGGI BURGER – £7.75
our favourite veggi patty of rice, carrot, green beens, and onions.
All our burgers are loaded with lettuce, tomato, and red onion and served with homemade slaw. Your choice of chips or jacket potato. Want to swap for sweet potato fries? No problem… add £1.25
They have an odd insistence on spelling it “veggi” everywhere – I checked. Not sure what that’s in aid of.
The burger was filled with large chunks of vegetables, including carrots, green beans, and red onion. I couldn’t really taste any rice, but that I guess is where the overall substance comes from. There was a creamy and slightly peppery flavour without much distinction for the vegetables.
The texture was mushy and soft, but it was a very large and thick patty. There was no distinct outer shell, for example of breadcrumbs, but there was a distinct outer shell thanks to the way it had been cooked. There was a somewhat greasy taste to it thanks to the large amounts of oil I can assume it was fried in. It wasn’t too crumbly, and ended up being very filling.
The brioche bun had been toasted but was very dark in places. I would certainly call it burnt, and the taste on these areas was not appealing at all. Altogether the bun and burger were very large and almost too big to bite into.
Inside the bun was what I would describe as a surprise tomato – on the wrong side of the bun to what you would expect. I nearly had the unpleasant experience of biting into it, but thankfully noticed it in time and removed it. I would say that the burger and bun combo was quite plain and boring on its own – it needed something more, such as a sauce or some cheese, to spice it up. There was a blue cheese option on the menu, but as I’m not a fan of blue cheese, I didn’t choose it. It would be nice if they didn’t serve something boring in the first place rather than relying on us to choose the more interesting version.
There was a limp salad served alongside it which, I have to say, was not very varied. The coleslaw which was part of the dish was pretty much tasteless, so added very little to the equation. The sweet potato fries were the standard which one expects – as with just about every restaurant and pub in the whole nation, they evidently get them from the same place.
After eating the burger, I went on to have a dessert. This was 1) a mistake, because I felt more stuffed than a stuffed thing, and 2) an excellent choice, because it was the best part of the meal.
I ordered the Double Bubble Cotton Candy sundae sans the marshmallows, which was supposed to give me candyfloss, bubblegum, and strawberry flavoured ice cream. Sadly, the candyfloss was not present. It was topped with popping candy however, which was a party in my mouth. There was also strawberry sauce to top it all off.
Overall, I was somewhat disappointed. For a place which has been feted so much by local residents, the food was just alright. It wasn’t that great an atmosphere either – the place was so crowded you could hardly think straight, let alone enjoy any kind of privacy, and felt like a bit of a maze with all the booths packed in for the highest number of seats possible. It’s not something that would impress me in, say, London. But I guess that’s why I left Norfolk in the first place.