I hit the streets of Belfast and asked the fine people there where is the best place for a burger. Build a Burger was a name I heard a few times. So during our review meeting, I gladly stood up and told everyone that I had this one - after all I had a the inside track.
I headed out to Botanic and arrived on a road that seemed full of interesting food spots, with a number of names that I had heard during my research. The facade of Build a Burger very much had a takeaway vibe and I got a little nervous. I expected it to be like Counter Burger, Bunsen or similar to our Top 10 list from Dublin. On first look it was like was a cross between Subway and Supermac's, I would have loved table service but it was counter ordering.
It was busy and the burger list threw me off, all names, no descriptions. The Big Lad, the Ladder, Speciality, Venison (self explanatory). The Big Lad a 36oz burger with 10-12oz bun, tempting but I need to pre-book. Next of the list - The Ladder this felt like the burger for me. Let me describe it.
- Onion ring
- Chicken Breast
- Chicken Breast
I wasn't allowed any salads on the Ladder burger, and jeez a salad would have really helped with this. No one else was ordering this burger so I began to realise my folly. Other peeps in the restaurant seemed to be going for the pulled pork sandwich or venison. I did ask the lady working what was most popular and the answer was vague, so I admittedly panicked. I am not sure if it was a combination of bad timing, as in it was 2pm not 1am, and a bad order but I wasn't falling in love with Build a Burger.
While waiting I had a look at the Big Lad leader board. Randy Santel, pro-eater downed one in 8mins 52secs with the fastest amateur finishing it in 11mins 33secs. The Big Lad had taken more challengers than finishers, so it must have been properly huge.
I watched my Ladder come together and really got scared. It was massive, and was going to call for some kind of snake styled jaw where I could detach the bones and open my mouth as wide as required, or a knife and fork. Knife and fork it was, I guess. Salad wasn't allowed as it would have caused structure issues.
On the positive side the chicken breast was good. The beef patty was thick but a little greasier due to the fat content in the meat, more like a Rick's Burger than a Bunsen burger and I am a Bunsen styled guy. And there was too much cheese for this man. I was also given an onion ring and bacon on top, all served in a floury bap. I avoided the bun to save on calories. I did give most of the meat a good go and just kept thinking about Adam Richman from Man v Food and his move from competitive eating to slim man. I was living for my after photo, I'd been working hard in the gym to look like this. I didn't want to be that grey looking professional competitive eater, I was an amateur!
I'd estimate the burger was 1400 cals, next time I'd order a regular burger and potentially wander in after a rake of pints to the full taste experience.
The Ladder is not for the meek, so choose wisely if you decide to Build a Burger. People of Belfast I urge you to try our Top 10 list and let me know if you think Build a Burger would make the list.