Please note: we received Wriggle credit to purchase this deal, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue/Wriggle did not see this review before it was put up on the site. This review also contains affiliate links.
Despite having seen them plastered all over Wriggle for a while, we hadn’t actually tried the Smoke & Glaze burger offering until recently. Resident chefs at The Pipe & Slippers plus at The Windmill on Windmill Hill (the Pope’s sister pub, along with the Lazy Dog), the Smoke & Glaze team serve up their signature burgers and sides from Tuesday to Saturday in BS3, every single week.
We love the pub itself, with its laid-back feel, its small decked outdoor area and its family room – complete with highchairs and a chest full of toys and books to keep small people like this one entertained.
But what about the food? Well, the menu certainly enticed us: a range of six burgers (including one veggie and one vegan option), plus a few sides, sauces, specials and kids’ options. I’m a fan of shorter menus rather than those that stretch to ten pages – it’s generally a sign that a place wants to focus on doing a few things really well.
Burgers range from £9.50 to £12 (including fries), but with a Wriggle deal, you can bag your choice of burger and fries for £7.95, which seemed like a bargain…
Which meant, obviously, that Chris went for the most expensive option: The Tribute (£12), topped with streaky bacon, blue cheese mayo, American cheese, onion rings, a dill pickle and Cajun ketchup, and served with truffled parmesan fries rather than the standard offering.
It was the Moulin Rouge (£11) that caught my eye…a free-range beef patty topped with smoked bacon lardons, café de Paris butter, camembert, red onion marmalade and mayo – served with the standard Smoke & Glaze fries.
The skin-on fries were nicely cooked and seasoned – and while Chris’ special ones had plenty of parmesan, he couldn’t really taste the truffle. I’d ordered an extra pot of blue cheese mayo (£1.50) for mine after spotting it on the menu, and it didn’t disappoint, with a tart and tangy – plus slightly peppery and smokey – flavour, and discernible chunks of blue cheese.
And the burgers? Both good points and bad points. The patties were thick and juicy, cooked pink and the toasted, glazed buns soaking up some of the juices and the sauces within. Both patties could have done with a little more seasoning, though – they were a bit bland. And while I know some enjoy theirs served pink, I’d rather have known this would be the case in advance – especially when I’d planned on sharing mine with a toddler…
I loved some of the toppings on mine: tons of melting camembert, and a thick, sweet red onion marmalade with a pickled flavour. Sadly I couldn’t really taste the café de Paris butter, and the bacon lardons were disappointing: just five of them in total, quite fatty, and they would have been better with more crispness.
And the Tribute? Onion and streaky bacon: beautiful. Lots of cheese, again melted well and oozing over the side of the patty. If the patty had been better seasoned and there had been more blue cheese mayo, he’d have been pretty happy.
I’m not sure if pink beef patties is the norm at Smoke & Glaze, or if ours were just undercooked – if the former, it would be good if they said so on the menu, or if the bar staff mentioned it at the time of ordering. While our meal was ok, I don’t think we’d rush back – with the likes of Squeezed, Asado and Burger Joint around, we’re spoilt for choice for great burger places, and for me, a place would have to do a lot to knock those three off the top spot…