Fat Hippo Underground
What We Ate
Starters: Dirty Skins | Freddie's Fingers | Deep Fried Gherkins | Mac n' Cheese Balls
Mains: Mac The Ripper | Fat Hippo | American | Texas | Stinky Pete
Nestled discreetly away from the hustle and bustle (literally, underground) of the vibrant and lively Newcastle city centre that we all know and love, lies one of our favourite burger hideouts - Fat Hippo Underground. As we stepped off the busy thoroughfare of Newcastle’s Shakespeare Street, through a small doorway and down some stairs, we entered this hidden gem. The exposed brick interior walls, low domed ceilings, vintage wall lights and intimate nooks and crannies combine tastefully to give the whole venue a real ‘secret den’ vibe - almost as if we’ve discovered a hidden cove, with a treasure chest full of mouthwatering burgers to boot.
Our appetites were first whetted with a selection of delicious starters, which we all shared – a firm favourite being the delectable Mac n’ Cheese Balls (deep fried balls of macaroni and cheese with accompanying Alabama White BBQ sauce – yep, we know, Heaven). As for our mains, we treated ourselves to a range of the most indulgent US-style specialist, double 4oz beef burgers. Upon the very first bite, we knew these were no ordinary burgers - the beef is ground in-house on a daily basis, which really adds to the fresh and juicy taste. And, we must admit, the sweet potato and dirty fries on the side were a real treat. Fear not, veggies of the world – this place does not cater merely for the carnivores amongst us - offering a lovely selection of veggie burgers too. We sampled the deep fried Mac ‘n’ cheese patty burger, and blimey, it’s a goodun. Messy fingers, and satisfied customers all round then.
What We Ate
Mains: Beef Burger | Lamb Burger | Homemade Mexican Bean Burger | Homemade Free Range Chicken Fillet Burger
The Cluny, a former bottling plant for Scotch whisky, is a hidden and intriguing post-industrial venue, tucked away on the peaceful and bohemian Ouseburn Valley. This uber-funky bar come pub, set under the shadow of Newcastle’s legendary bridges, has an achingly cool vibe - with pinewood decor, red brick walls, an L-shaped bar and old-school music posters dotted around the building. The Cluny is effortlessly relaxing and, as soon as you step through the huge red door, you can feel your cares just melting away. And, not only is The Cluny a cheeky little charmer for beers and burgers, but it’s also a split-level music venue – hosting everything from up and coming comedians to unbelievable live bands.
After a hard days slog at LNOF HQ, we ordered a couple of pints as soon as we arrived to, you know, get ourselves ready for the real stars of the show – the burgers. The Cluny prides itself on their world famous, flavoursome and hearty burgers and, after struggling with that last bite (don’t worry, folks, we managed to polish it off) it’s easy to see why. Of course, a big shout out goes to the chunky, double fried chips – we can still taste them now. The Cluny put their heart soul into the menu and, there’s one very major bonus with this burger haven, your food is served on actual plates. Yup, none of these thatch boxes that require a gold-plated fork, forged in the remote hills of India, to eat. This place is all about comfort, tranquillity and, above all else, mouthwatering cuisine.
What We Ate
Starters: Arancini | Braised balsamic beetroot | Meatball slider | Pulled pork slider
Mains: Burger Italiano | dAt Burger | Joe’s Burger | 9 Burger
Located within the heart of Newcastle city centre, on the side of the famous Theatre Royal, lies dAt bAr – a lively and exciting American diner style bar and restaurant. This awesome venue boasts an extensive menu, including 74 hour sourdough pizzas, 6oz burgers, delicious salads, 10-12oz steaks, as well as a range of small plates, sliders and sides. As if this wasn’t enough, this little gold mine boasts 20 ever-changing beer taps, so you’re bound to find something to tickle your fancy – we sure did. The vibe in this unique, super chilled out venue is seriously cool, with friendly, attentive and damn trendy staff to boot.
Once we got ourselves nestled in a cosy booth, all manner of indulgent gluttony ensued. Our burgers truly lived up to the reputation which preceded them. These burgers are prepared, dry aged individually (in none less than Europe’s only Himalayan salt chamber), and cooked the old fashioned way – which we can assure you, makes the world of difference to the flavour, texture and taste. Even the burger buns are worthy of note in their own right – sourced from the Great Northumberland Bread Co. - these fantastic onion seeded brioche buns are cooked in a wood-fired traditional gueulard oven, and are, quite frankly, out of this world. So, if flavoursome burgers, and quirky, hipster interiors are your thing, we’d wholeheartedly recommend channelling your inner rodeo, and heading on down to dAt bAr.
Words: Lauren Green and Sarah Main. Photographs: Laura Young