This weekend my friend Edd and I went to Almost Famous, a nearby burger joint, for some truly filthy burgers. I used to frequently walk past Almost Famous, wondering what on earth it was. There always seemed to be a queue outside of this unmarked wooden door sandwiched between two bars, leading to a set of stairs. No signs, no menus, absolutely no clue to indicate what might be upstairs…
…and then I started hearing about this secret ‘too cool for school’ restaurant in Manchester, with artery-clogging American food, hidden up a random staircase, and I put two and two together.
Almost Famous seems to have some kind of anti-marketing strategy. Banning photography (not that it stopped us, we got sneaky!), professing to be anti-blogger and anti-press, and having zero signs on their building that would indicate that a burger restaurant is there. So I’ve no idea how people started finding out about them in the first place! I can only imagine that trying to make it a secret and banning photography actually makes people more likely to talk about it or more tempted to take photographs, so word about them ends up spreading like wildfire.
So off we headed…
Once you go upstairs, just keep following the signs and eventually you’ll find yourself in the restaurant. The inside is full of exposed brickwork, random art work and lots of hipster types.
The menu has a variety of different types of mouth-wateringly delicious, freshly prepared burgers, fries and wings. Anyone looking for a healthy option should not come here. Oh no. This is a meal where you’ve just got to forget any concept of recommended daily allowances of fat and calories!
I plumped for the Smokey & the Bandit Burger with Bacon Bacon fries, whilst Edd went for their current special – To London with Love. Last weekend, Almost Famous was one of the six contestants at the London Burger Bash – a competition to find the best burger, in which they ended up coming second. To London with Love was their competition entry with a mini version of the winner’s (Patty & Bun) masterpiece on top. We had to wait quite a while for our burgers (about 45 mins) so we were bouncing up and down with impatience by the time they arrived. Customer service isn’t their strongest point!
When they finally arrived we gobbled them down like hungry demons. Here’s my heart stopper of choice – the Smokey & the Bandit Burger:
A brioche bun, two patties, plenty of cheese, JD-candied bacon, BBQ-fried onions, chillies, chipotle, baconaisse and plenty of bacon bits. Oh yes. Heart attack on a plate. Well, I say plate, but they’re actually served in little red plastic peg baskets. Bizarrely. It’s just filth on a plate. This was so juicy and messy I had to wipe my face after every mouthful. It was phenomenal. My favourite part of the burger had to be the candied bacon. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! The whole combination of smoky flavours and juicy melt-in-the mouth textures were pretty mind-blowing.
Here were my equally bad-ass Bacon Bacon fries:
These were a mixture of regular potato and sweet potato fries, liberally covered with bacon bits and baconaisse sauce. Lord knows whether there is any actual pig in bacon bits, but I don’t care, they just taste too good. I normally always eat chips with ketchup, but ketchup really isn’t required when you have chips as tasty as these. Not that I’d be able to find any ketchup in Almost Famous anyway, it’s banned from here!
Here was Edd’s To London with Love burger:
Two burger patties, cheese, crispy smoked bacon, JD maple butter syrup, BBQ-friend onions, Frazzles, baconaisse, chipotle ketchup and famous mustard in a bacon butter toasted bun, topped with a mini tribute to Patty & Bun’s crispy pork belly champion burger. Edd has a pretty big appetite, but trying to demolish this, along with sharing my fries, almost defeated him.
We left clutching very full stomachs! It’s not the kind of place you could visit too often without getting a bit podgy, but is definitely a nice treat every once in a while. I now feel like I should eat nothing but fruit and veg for a week in order to balance out the filth. I don’t actually have enough self control to do anything like that, but I didn’t feel at all hungry for the rest of the day after eating this!