Who needs cheese? We discuss The Flaming Iceberg, The New Special From Byron Hamburgers
A CHEESE-HATER’S VERDICT: OK, so I know I’m in the minority here (as usual) but hooray for Byron‘s latest special – The Flaming Iceberg that contains no cheese! Whoop!
A burger doesn’t need cheese to be good (not that I’d know having never eaten a cheeseburger in my life). After the last special – Holy Cheesemas, I started to wonder if head chef (and King of burgers) Fred Smith had it in for me. But he has made amends with The Flaming Iceberg, it’s almost as if it was intended just for me. That’s how I like to think of it anyway.
It’s a 6oz hamburger glazed in (the new) Byron Hot Sauce, with shredded iceberg, dry cure bacon, crispy fried onions, jalapeños and ranch dressing, £9.95. Now for it to score extra points I could have done without the ranch dressing only because, as well as cheese, I’m not into creamy things. Plus it made the lettuce a tad floppy, perhaps it needs to be kept away from the leaves. The crispy bacon bits I loved as they added texture and most importantly, the patty was perfectly pink and juicy.
Not being a baby (unlike someone else I know) I found the Byron Hot Sauce and jalapeños more than a manageable level of heat, tangy with a noticeable background flavour of peppers. I ended up dipping my chips and courgette fries in it too. By the way, if you’ve been put off stringy courgette fries that taste like nothing, these are more like strips so withhold moisture and flavour.
I guess they’re not called Byron Proper Hamburgers for nothing… Cheers Fred!
THE CHEESE-LOVER’S VERDICT: I love a burger, really love them! But since a little health scare a few months back, I was told to go easy on these little patties of pure grilled heaven – doctors orders. So when I do have a burger now it’s a treat and I want this treat to include cheese.
They say ‘if you want something to taste great, add bacon. If you want it to taste better add cheese!’ Luckily The Flaming Iceberg has at least one of these elements – the bacon. I must admit I was a little disappointed that the latest special was sans cheese. I shouldn’t have been too bothered, I was spoilt by the last two – both were uber-cheesy. The Shady had a double dose of cheese – some crunchy, some melting. While the Holy Cheesemas gifted us with four kinds of cheese – mature Cheddar, American, Red Leicester and Monterey Jack.
The Flaming Iceberg is maybe Byron’s antidote to all the excesses of Christmas. Being cheese-free must lower the calorie count and the addition of the shredded lettuce makes the burger seem almost healthy… Almost! But don’t worry Byron Special fans, in my opinion this is the best one since the B-Rex, even without cheese the burger isn’t dry, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s one of their ‘wettest’ burgers for a while, the creamy ranch dressing, shredded iceberg lettuce and the moist (pink in the middle) 6oz patty make sure of that. Even the chunks of dry cure bacon and crispy finely chopped fried onions couldn’t (and shouldn’t) soak up this moisture.
What does make this burger a little different is the heat and not just from the inclusion of sliced jalapeño peppers. This extra chilli kick came from the Byron hot sauce (available to buy by the bottle, £2.50). Saff said she could pick out the subtle flavours in the sauce but, as I’m a big sensitive baby when it comes to anything spicy, all I could taste was the heat.
As I mentioned this special is probably my favourite since last summer. That said, Fred can I please have cheese in the next one?…
The Flaming Iceberg is vailable in all Byron restaurants until 2nd March 2015.
We ate as guests of Byron, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.