By Martin MacDonald, Silvija Daniūnaitė and Silvia Ellena
Welcome to The Scoop’s final installment of our burger hunt. For our last critique, we visited Plat, a short trip down the Astraat in Groningen.
First impressions really do count. Plat seems like an establishment with something of an identity crisis. The walls bear the exposed brickwork that no self-respecting trendy eatery should be without and an array of naked lightbulbs descend from the roof, hanging on cables of varying lengths. So far, so hip.
It is, however, hard to escape the feeling that this is a takeaway restaurant tarted up with some snazzy soft furnishings. High bar stools and the absence of menus suggested that the sit-in experience might leave plenty to be desired. The succession of customers queuing up to collect burgers to take home did nothing to allay fears that we’d stumbled upon Ronald McDonald’s ‘nouveau riche’ cousin.
After several awkward minutes perched atop our bar stools it became apparent that we were required to order at the counter. This is a red flag as far as we are concerned: if you’re paying decent money for a sit-in meal we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect someone to take your order at the table.
Grunneger Burger: Cheese, tomato, onions, bacon, mustard mayonnaise, mixed salad
The burgers arrived in timely fashion and were nicely presented. Despite Silvia E’s protests, a salad with rocket and mozzarella was a welcome addition, considering the limp leaf of iceberg lettuce that usually constitutes a side salad in the UK.
The burger itself was tasty, but hard to get excited about. The patty was on the thin side but was well cooked, moist and well-seasoned. It would take a special effort to render a burger, cheese, onion and bacon anything other than a pleasant experience.
The real surprise was the quality of the chips. Perfectly crisp, fluffy innards and still proudly sporting their skins like a badge of authenticity. These were quite possibly the finest chips I have ever tasted. When it comes to burgers, chips are often a poorly executed afterthought, a mountain of starch to solemnly work through after devouring the meaty main event.
At Plat however, the meal represented something of a role reversal. Perhaps this should come as little surprise given the walls resembled a shrine to potatoes, adorned will artistic photos of the humble spud. In summary, although their burgers are unlikely to win any awards, the meal represented good value and is worth visiting for the chips alone.
Jack Daniels Burger: Sesame bread and a beef burger, with rucola, onions, and Jack Daniels sauce
Going through the menu at the Plat burger bar, the Jack Daniels burger seemed to offer a more interesting eating experience than anything else. Although JD is definitely not a drink I enjoy, trying it as a sauce on a burger seemed exciting, and therefore super appealing for someone who’s always up for trying out new things.
Sitting in probably the darkest corner of the Plat burger bar and eagerly watching how my meal was being prepared, I raised my expectations a little too high and too quickly. The first bite of the burger left me unimpressed—the bun was cold and nowhere close to being crispy, which is something I always expect in a burger. And I do expect a lot from burgers!
By the time I got through half of my burger, most of the sauce soaked into the bun, making it a little too mushy for it to be a pleasant eating experience. The meat, however, was well-cooked, and tasted great when paired with the unique Jack Daniels sauce. Overall, the burger was nothing exceptional, but my tummy was happy, meaning that I was happy as well!
The evening for me was definitely saved by the fries. They were neither too cold nor too hot, crispy and soft enough at the same time, with just the right amount of spices. Having tried fries at a lot of different places, Plat still managed to surprise me.
Italian burger, veggie edition: Rocket, veggie patty (unclear what’s inside), tomato, truffle mayonnaise and Parmesan
As an Italian trying the Italian Burger, I feel I have the right to judge if this burger will live up to the iconic Italian name.
At first, I was skeptical about trying a burger. Not just as an Italian, but because I’m also a vegetarian. Now, some of you may wince and think a burger without meat is not a burger at all. But for the sake of the vegetarian, flexitarian or just curious carnivores in our audience, I decided to give it a try.
After 20 minutes spent chatting over food and trying (and failing) to take pictures of Plat without being noticed, my Italian burger arrives accompanied by a huge portion of fries, a small cup of Brander mayonnaise and a disappointing rocket salad with a handful of tomatoes and mozzarella.
The size of the burger and the fear of making a mess push me to first try the fries – and what a nice surprise! The fries are not only aesthetically pleasing, but this portion has clearly never seen the inside of a freezer and haven’t been buried under kilos of salt. This results in a big thumbs up from me!
After these delicious fries, I am finally ready to attack my Italian burger. The vegetarian patty ties nicely with the sesame bun, but the rest of the burger is a bit of a disappointment. The taste of Parmesan is drowned by the truffle mayonnaise that has not seen that much truffle after all. The tomato (a single slice) is almost invisible, both to the eye and the palate. Sadly, it turns out the only ‘Italian’ in the burger is the name (and this reviewer!)