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Restaurant Review: Oxford Organic Burger Company

The burger revolution is upon us. The old favourite has been reincarnated with trendy buzzwords such as ‘free range’ and ‘locally reared’, and a price tag to match. Jumping whole-heartedly onto the sesame-topped bandwagon is The Oxford Organic Burger Company Ltd (and you know they mean business by the capital letter of the definite article).

Now, I feel obliged to declare that my own relationship with the burger has a shady past. When I was too young to know better, (though old enough to look upon the meagre Happy Meal with distain), I regarded a termly pilgrimage to the golden arches as gastronomic bliss. The retina-bruising strip lights and sticky plastic benches scarred with pre-ban fag burns just seemed a part of the experience. As you can see, the revolution is long overdue.

Step inside the Cowley restaurant and the operative word ‘organic’ is neatly extended to the well thought out décor; with acres of slate, exposed brick, and log stools which lend a Faraway Tree feel to the bar. When the food appears on thick wooden slabs crudely hacked into plate-like form, one can almost imagine this as dinner at the Shire opposite Frodo Baggins. Until the organic Heinz tomato ketchup makes its entrance, that is.

A good burger with chips is a beautiful thing. It is an emblem of simple pleasure in a world filled with exams, job applications, student loans, and decisions about which pub to frequent. Its reassuring consistency is something to find solace in when feeling fragile. You know there will be meat. There will be bread. There will be deep-fried potato.

If you feel able to cope with an additional ingredient the Oxford Blue burger (£8 inc. chips) comes highly recommended, providing you can forget its painfully punned title. The lump of meat comes adorned with oozing stilton which seems inexplicably attracted to chins and white t-shirts.

I must add that the chips here are exceptional; the perfect size with a skins-on earthiness; and on my numerous visits, never have I been subjected to the frequent, heart-sinking disappointment that is The Underdone Chip.

It pains me to say that the milkshake sampled was, quite frankly, a letdown. Admittedly my childish nostalgic glee had driven my levels of expectation into orbit (as did the astronomical £4 price tag), but the grainy, icy, tasteless cream was a poor effort.

It seems they have mastered the art of grilled and fried produce, but not yet frozen, for my iced yoghurt dessert (£3.50) was a similar disappointment. Though it proclaimed to be passionfruit, I had trouble discerning any flavour other than that sickly synthetic taste which is now validated under the ambiguous umbrella term ‘tropical’.

The Oxford Organic Burger Company also do breakfast (10am till midday), cocktails, and a stonking weekday lunch offer where £6 will bag you burger, chips and beer; and who doesn’t love a lunchtime drink? If this doesn’t tempt you to join the revolution, nothing will.


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