Finally the weekend had come when Leeds would find out which restaurant is the king of burgers when Canal Mills hosted Battle of the Burger. Ever since it was announced I’d been excited to go and try the meatiest burgers Leeds has to offer.
I’ve never been to Canal Mills before and I’m not sure why because they host events regularly and it’s a great venue. I love the entire place, two old brick buildings divided up by the main building where it’s all happening and the second building being used for toilets. In between there’s an alleyway with a spacious outdoor seating.
There’s not a lot to expect from an old and cold abandoned brick building and entering it doesn’t change those expectations. What makes Canal Mills charming is the minimalistic decorations with a wooden bar, wooden tables and seating and decorative lights in different colours. It’s the perfect venue for an event like Battle of the Burger.
Battle of the Burger
Originally there were 8 different restaurants in Leeds taking place but unfortunately Get Baked and Almost Famous had to pull out last minute which left six brave burger joints to battle it out being given the title: ‘King of burgers’.
The battle stood between Patty Smith’s (Belgrave Music Hall), Black Swan, The Old Yorkshire Pit (Otley), Boozy Q’s (Sela Bar), KerbEdge (fast food truck, Hull) and Fat Hippo (Newcastle). Over two days, Friday and Saturday, these guys were flipping burgers for all Leeds’ meat lovers.
I went together with friends on the Saturday and we opted for as early as possible to escape the expected crowd but also to make the most of the sunshine this day offered. I really liked the fact that you first had to buy tokens, £3 each, and then you were able to swap these for which ever mini burger that took your fancy.
The regular bar was also open serving mainly ales but also Brooklyn Lager which goes really well with burgers. There was also an extra set up stall, serving lager and ale on tap and the ‘Easy Beer’ was definitely easy to drink. It’s always fun to try new beers and I wish I did like ales as there are multiple of fresh flavours to try from. On the other hand, maybe I’d never be able to make up my mind.
Enough! Let’s see which burgers I tried and what I thought of them. I mean, that’s what the whole battle was about. I’m very proud I managed to eat four out of six burgers but that also meant I didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day. Couldn’t event get another drink down me.
This was the first stand I came across and I really liked the look of it with red and white stripes. When I also read what the burger had on it I was sold! It was almost too long to read out but here it goes: Beef patty with stout, caramelised onions cooked in Beavertown Black Betty with Camden Pale cheese sauce, pickles, cheddar, Kernel Imperial Stout candied bacon, ketchup and mustard.
I really enjoyed this burger as the beef tasted and had the texture of home made. There were a lot of flavours with many sauces, marinades and ingredients but none of them overtook the other, instead they complimented each other really well. Definitely a good first choice!
The Old Yorkshire Pit
I chose this burger as I love brisket and the stand looked typical American with a massive BBQ and the guys serving were wearing hunter camouflaged trousers and hats. The fact that they wore black serving gloves as well gave me hope it would be a killer burger.
Unlucky for these guys I found the burger a bit dry and the simple and safe choice of toppings (onion, salad, jalapeño and pickles) didn’t win me over.
At a first glance this burger looked very small but I still wanted to give it a try as it had the best look to it. Again a burger with a lot of ingredients and using beer wherever possible. Beef and bone marrow burger, pickled red cabbage, drunken onions, Old Peculiar Swaledale cheese, hierloom tomato served in a Ilkley Brewery beer-baked bun, topped with a beer buttered pickle.
I love pickles and beer buttering it took it to the next level, I want more. The burger was delicious, all the flavours worked really well and even though lots of grease came sipping out it felt very fresh in its taste. This was definitely the winner for me.
My friend tried this burger earlier in the day and said the sauce overtook the whole burger so at first I didn’t think I wanted to try it BUT my love for the name place and their logo won me over. Beef patty with Monterey Jack cheese, chorizo and signature Fat Hippo burger sauce served in a brioche bun with lettuce, sliced tomato and pickles.
I loved the sauce as it was really spicy and even though it might have taken over in taste a bit I thought that was a good thing. The chorizo was a great call as well bringing in an extra flavour. I’m so glad I did eat this and seeing that Leeds voted it as their number one it’s a great burger!
Excellent day in so many ways: venue, weather, the company, food and drinks. A day I’d very much like to repeat!
Did you go to Battle of the Burger? Which one is your favourite?