Gourmet Burger Kitchen

45 Greenwich Church St, SE10

I must be getting super-professional. I actually remembered a notebook for this one AND made notes. Whatever next, eh…

Many people will be finding it rather hard to forgive the Gourmet Burger Kitchen chain for buying-out the much-loved traditional Goddards Pie Shop, and I confess that I went in with a slight grump about me. “Ok, Gourmet Burger Kitchen,” I thought, “show me what you’ve got…”

It’s not Goddards. Gone are the days when you could scoff pie, mash & liquor, guzzle a Tizer, finish it all off with a cherry pie and still have change from a ha’penny. The burgers here will set you back the best part of eight quid a piece. But at least they are tall enough to rival Canary Wharf…

If you’ve eaten at any of the other GBKs then you’ll know the drill, but for anyone who hasn’t, here goes…

It’s all painted very tastefully in discreet greeny-grey -’olde-worlde’-yet-somehow-youthful-and-thrusting fashion. They’ve retained Goddards many-paned windows and the lighting is so discreet from the outside that approaching it we weren’t actually sure whether it was open yet.

Inside it’s all white -painted, leaving the odd tasteful bare beam, with inoffensive colour photos of nothing-in-particular downstairs, inoffensive black &; white photos of 1950s nothing-in-particular upstairs. The floors are the ubiquitous laminate.

It’s all order-at-the-bar, but they weren’t busy so a terribly sweet waitress who spoke virtually no English at all offered to take our orders.

There’s a large selection of good-quality burgers to be had – very little else – but there are vegetarian options which are interesting (no veggie-burgers, though, just giant portabella mushrooms and goats-cheesy options.) They arrive stacked so high – I’m not exaggerating when I say they’re a good 17/18cm – that they have to be staked through the middle with a wooden skewer.

We stupidly ordered chips as well (nice enough, and of the fat variety, but rather pale and insipid in comparison to, say, those at The Hill) but ended up being far too full to manage them too. I think you’d need to have a huge appetite to manage chips AND a burger here.

The chilli burger isn’t hot – it’s more of the variety that comes with chilli salsa. It was good juicy (organic) steak and came with enough tangy relishes and extras to be a really tasty, satisfying meal for £ 6.65.

The aubergine and goats cheese one seemed a bit overblown to me. The goats cheese was rolled in breadcrumbs, which although giving it a satisfying crunch, also gave it an added flavour and richness that somewhat overwhelmed the rest of the ingredients. Nonetheless it was tasty, filling and enjoyable. It should be at £ 7.20…

The standard is generally high, so if the prices aren’t quite justified, you do feel you’re a step up from Burger King. There’s a tiny bar upstairs, but it’s really only to service the restaurant – you wouldn’t go there for a drink (the beer, btw, is £ 2.75 a bottle.) The various food options are on a blackboard, though without their prices which is either absent-minded or sneaky since you really do need to be aware before you order that you are Not In McDonalds Now. No 99p cheeseburgers here. It’s pricey, but you do get a lot of burger for your money. It’s clean, pleasant and bright.

Two caveats.

1. The claim that the juices are ‘freshly-squeezed’ is a lie.

2. Don’t be duped into ordering extra sauces. Our burgers came with plenty of interesting relishes and there are those great ketchup bottles in the shape of tomatoes on the tables. They don’t immediately tell you those extra sauces will set you back £ 1.25 each.

I could mourn Goddards forever. Or I could just get on with my life. GBK, although a chain, is a more or less welcome addition to the Greenwich roll of eateries for me.

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