Review: Topping off the trend for burgers

Matt Slaven, company manager of 8oz Burger, Leopold Street, with a Classic Burger.
Matt Slaven, company manager of 8oz Burger, Leopold Street, with a Classic Burger.

It sounded so wrong that it just had to be ordered.

Japanese and American staples met in the katsu burger at Sheffield’s 80z Burger Company in one of the more outlandish menu options.

A waffle burger and sweet potato fries at 8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

A waffle burger and sweet potato fries at 8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

Somehow, the combination of golden pungent curry and meaty burger worked.

But more about that later on.

The 80z concept of one dish, with 30 variations, was first launched in Barnsley by local lad Dan Sharp, who has turned the town’s love for chops on its head before moving to Sheffield last May - while a new site is also expected to open in Rotherham shortly.

It seems the idea of taking a humble beef patty, then dressing it up with scores of flavour options, is as much a trend in South Yorkshire as the one-food restaurant is a hit elsewhere.

8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

“I think burgers, like pizzas are so popular because there are so many toppings and different variations you can have”, said company manager and sometimes chef Matthew Slaven,

“There’s no limit on what you can do.”

From looking at the menu, that seems to be true.

There are burgers with waffles instead of bread buns, those served with a jug of maple syrup, teamed with sausage and sauerkraut, presented under a ‘dome of applewood smoke’ and slathered in every kind of slaw, sauce or pulled meat you can imagine.

A classic burger and fries at 8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

A classic burger and fries at 8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

Burger nuts can have a full English atop their meat or a sweet treat finish with peanut butter and jam.

Dubious as some of these sound, it makes sticking to your guns with a healthy ‘skinny lizzy’ - chicken breast and peppers - rather tricky.

Matthew, who lives in Chesterfield and formerly worked for the Handmade Burger Company, added: “We try to look at current trends when we come up with the burgers.

“We have some which have been on there since day one which are still so popular that it would be daft to get rid of them.

8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

8oz Burger, Leopold Street.

“The classic burger is still our most popular and we weren’t even going to put it on to start off with but some people, that’s all they want.

“You can’t force the Farmyard burger on everybody!”

What the burgers do have in common is that they are all hand pressed each day on site, using premium steak fillet mince.

Staff still count on their Barnsley supplier Fosters of Mapplewell for bread buns too, and almost everything else is made on site.

“It’s all about the variety and the quality”, said Matthew.

“The burgers are hand pressed here, and I used to say to a secret recipe, but we are in the second Sheffield cook book now so I can’t say that any more.”

The after-work crowds were descending when we called in on a Thursday, and students are also a customer mainstay, perhaps drawn in by the bargain £5 lunch offer.

Like the menu, the decor is simple, and easy to understand.

Stripped wood panels on the walls - and even in the toilets - give it a stylish but rustic feel, while it is also light, open and bright.

There was just one waiter on that night, and he was adept at helping us to narrow down the options, as well as catering to fussy requirements.

My ‘katsu stack’ (£13.50) looked simply huge with just one burger patty - I dread to think how gigantic the Man vs Food option with four of them, as the base, must be.

The main event was incredibly filling and 100 per cent meat - well seasoned, juicy and just pink enough inside.

It came slathered in katsu curry sauce, a thick version with plenty of spice which complemented the main event. There was a small fillet of chicken too, in a fantastic crunchy crust, although the meat was too dry inside.

Top marks must go to the gluten free bun - soft and pillowy unlike some GF options - and fresh, abundant salad with pickles and red onion.

I’d gone for sweet potato fries as an extra - and they had a tasty, crispy coating to contrast with the flesh inside.

The other half is a man of simple means, and he was in man food heaven with the Matador (£11).

I’m not sure what bull fighters dine on but he loved the addition of smoky, tomato shredded brisket, sharp salsa and mozzarella cheese sauce for its combination of textures and flavour balance.

Our 11-year-old had the cheese sauce too on a Cattle Drive (also £11) - but it was a little too thin for her when compared to melted cheese - and fine beef brisket. It could easily have been shared by two youngsters,

However on both meals the French fries were disappointingly bland. It turns out they are the only item not made fresh on site, and are brought in frozen.

For desserts, there was plenty of choice, as long as you like chocolate. I hoped the Mississipi Mess would have some fruit like its Eton sister, but it was crunchy Oreos smashed together with cream, ice cream, gooey meringue bits and sweet chocolate sauce.

The warm, salted caramel brownie was equally decadent, with a good consistency and careful presentation. Both desserts were £4 and we paid £52 including soft drinks.

80z Burger Co, 9 Leopold Street, Sheffield

Tel: 07956 947 77