Pretentious Burger Kitchen can be found nestled on High Street in Newport, just a few doors away from the Urban Taphouse. It’s an idea that has gone from pop up to restaurant and they seem to have made their mark in the hubbub of Newport city centre. I’d seen many a mouth watering snap of Pretentious burgers before being invited to visit, plus a long and informative chat with Plate Licked Clean about their brisket bites and pommelier-advised chip offerings had me chomping at the bit. *don’t worry, no horses are harmed in the making of their burgers*
On a rainy day a few weeks ago I was more than lucky enough to try their wares out for myself and confess to being far from disappointed. When the weather is as bleak as it has been, comfort food is first and foremost in my mind. A tower of beef, sandwiched between homemade semi-brioche buns with toppings galore and a big bowl of chips is surely the fuzzy kick in the feels you need to take your mind off the grey, drizzly summer we are currently experiencing. Remember when the summer used to be sunny? No, me neither.
The meat at PBK is sourced from Douglas Willis, a family run butchery that has been providing top notch meat in Usk and elsewhere since 1940. You could say they know what they are doing. With this in mind, you know you’re in for an absolute blinder of a burger and it kinda gives PBK the right to say they are a little pretentious about their meat. In a burger, the patty is vital and this is all down to the quality of meat you use. In this case, you can rest your head knowing that you’re in good, beefy, hands. It takes the guys at PBK a very long time to mince and season their meat to ensure each and every burger tastes the very best it possibly can. The proof is in the patty.
As the restaurant itself is simple with nothing flash or snazzy (both words my mum would use), they have really allowed the food to do all the talking for them. It’s a straight to the point burger bar with no gimmicks and certainly no time for messing around.
Not only are the patties formed perfectly by PBK but the semi-brioche buns and sauces are all made from scratch on site too, which only adds to the their charm. In fact, the only thing that isn’t homemade are the chips. I think you’ll agree with me when you’ve lost your Pretentious virginity that it isn’t a big deal when they have been decorated with toppings aplenty and accompany such a mammoth, juicy burger.
Before I babble on (even more) about the burgers, I must tell you a little more about the infamous brisket bites that left me salivating from a mere description alone. The only brisket I’d ever eaten was that which had been marinated and smoked and tasted beautifully ‘barbecuey’ but these tasty things are brisket like you’ve never had before. The meat is braised in chicken stock, red wine, Granny Smith apples, onion, garlic and celery for 6 hours before being shed. Once the meat is looking lovely it has lashings of butter, caraway seeds, cider and wholegrain mustard thrown in the mix too. The balls of fun are then rolled in panko breadcrumbs after being combined with heaps of mozzarella. They were crispy on the outside with the interior tasting stupendously seasoned. The guys were worried they may sway a little more towards the expensive end of the spectrum for a side dish but when that much work has gone into the prep you’re allowed to charge whatever the hell you want.
There are 7 substantial burgers to get your hands around and as aforementioned, all have an advised chip pairing that best suit the patty toppings. Just go with it. Who knows more about potato products than a pommelier? I decided to go for the Mexican burger as I’m extremely partial to a bit of spice and with Mexicana cheese, Mexican rub and and jalapeños, there’s every possibility you’ll have a real punch in the taste buds. The matching fries were camouflaged in chipotle salsa, mature cheddar and the PBK homemade chipotle mayo. It was a feast for the eyes, belly and more importantly, Instagram. The burger was piled high with toppings, all of which went so perfectly with that well made patty.
With that in mind, the burger tastes wonderful, is full of flavour and definitely not stingy. If you’re looking for a burger that’s value for money then you’re looking at it in the many images above. It’s a contender, that’s for sure.
M opted for the Kevin Bacon which, as the title suggests, involved a lotta bacon. In fact, it involves bacon twice over… three times if you order the partnered fries. The patty is topped with American cheese, streaky bacon and the standard greens that are definitely there for show. The token salad, if you will. The pièce de résistance is the candied bacon which sits atop this bad boy. It was that candied you could almost use it as a mirror. It was the most amazing thing I have ever tasted on a burger and that is quite a bold statement considering the sheer amount of burgers I’ve ploughed through in my time. Again, it may take a few hours/days/weeks to make sure it has been candied to perfection but candy away guys because that bacon is worth writing home about.
As you can make out from the picture, the fries were completely covered in cheese, bacon bits and a healthy helping of baconaise. Personally, I’m a massive lover of baconaise so when it’s been whipped up from scratch it’s even more tasty than any jar you can buy in a supermarket.
Please, make the effort to visit Pretentious Burger Kitchen even if Newport isn’t where you’d normally spend your time. I promise you it’s worth the car/train journey to meet the team and enjoy a wonderful burger that is well on it’s way to success. Yes, Cardiff has many burger joints but don’t let that put you off… PBK is a sure competitor for any burger that Cardiff has to offer.
Pretentious Burger Kitchen
16 High Street,