Smashburger, Glasgow – Pre-launch Event

Glasgow is a city that likes to think it’s a little bit different. Simultaneously gruff and friendly, brutal and beautiful and with an attitude that prompted Anthony Bourdain to describe it as “one of my favourite cities on earth“. But we’re not, it seems, immune to the cyclical mania of the food business. Five years ago the city went nuts for burgers. With more than a little nudge from American TV imports like “Man v Food” and “Diners Drive Ins and Dives”, new burger joints seemed to pop up every other week as canny restaurateurs rushed to capitalise on this newly discovered demand for brioche buns and exotic toppings.

Smashburger, Glasgow
Smashburger, Glasgow

Five years and a few more fads later, things have normalised somewhat. We still have a bunch of great burger places in the city but they sit cheek by jowl with national and global competitors. Bread Meats Bread continues to knock it out of the park despite the close proximity of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Handmade Burger Co and Five Guys, while Byron has set up on West George Street. So is there room for one more? That, as ever, depends on the food.

Smashburger, Glasgow
Smashburger, Glasgow

Smashburger has come to town, promising us something a little different. The name comes from their cooking process whereby a ball of meat is pressed (or smashed) into the hot plate, resulting in an intense Maillard reaction that makes the outside of their burger crispy while the inside remains juicy and soft. They’re unashamedly a chain but there’s a nod to regional culinary quirks in the form of their local specials. For their first Scottish outing that, inexplicably, means a “Stilton stack”. Something haggis-related was hinted at on their Facebook page so this may change.

BBQ, bacon & cheddar burger - Smashburger, Glasgow
BBQ, bacon & cheddar burger – Smashburger, Glasgow

I went for the BBQ, bacon and cheddar burger with an order of SMASHFries ™ while my plus one went for the grilled chicken avocado club with the non-SMASH variety of sweet potato fries. This being 2017, you place your order at the till and retire to your seat with a weighty electronic gizmo. I was expecting this to bleep and flash when the food was ready but a server somehow tracked us to our booth upstairs.

Grilled chicken avocado club- Smashburger, Glasgow
Grilled chicken avocado club- Smashburger, Glasgow

The burgers were served “taps aff”, proving, if necessary, the presence of bacon and cheese. That crisp bite we were promised was there and the patty was well seasoned. The  bacon was nicely crispy and not too salty, but the barbecue sauce seemed a bit lost. Those SMASHFries were rendered SMASH by their post-fryer toss in some olive oil, garlic and rosemary. The flavour was great but tossing anything in oil tends to make it, well, oily. Still, I scoffed the lot.

BBQ, bacon & cheddar burger - Smashburger, Glasgow
BBQ, bacon & cheddar burger – Smashburger, Glasgow

The avocado chicken club was, I’m told, succulent and full of flavour. The bacon was sweet and crispy while the avocado provided a bit of richness. The verdict was a head nod combined with a thumbs up. The sweet potato fries, some of which I pinched, were great: crisp, fluffy and well seasoned. Our drinks were soft, although beer is available. I wasn’t sure what our server meant when she said “Coca Cola freestyle” drinks were included, but what a glorious thing it is. Previously unknown flavours await you in this magic self-service box. Who even knew that Raspberry Sprite existed? Not me but I want more.

SMASHFries - Smashburger, Glasgow
SMASHFries – Smashburger, Glasgow

The restaurant is situated on the pedestrianised section of Sauchiehall Street in a new unit bolted onto the side of an existing building. The space is modern and fresh with an industrial vibe that suits the millennial crowd they’re obviously trying to woo. Think something along the lines of Paesano Pizza and you won’t be far off.

Milkshake sample - Smashburger, Glasgow
Milkshake sample – Smashburger, Glasgow

All in all it was a satisfying lunch. Were I to go back I’d definitely order the larger burger and go for SMASH-free fries. For two burgers, two sides and two drinks you’re looking at nearly £28. Not the most phenomenal value you’ll find in the city but a better option than, say, Byron.

Smashburger officially opens tomorrow (19th October 2017). Today’s visit was part of a pre-launch event and, in the interests of disclosure, our meals were complimentary.

165 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3EW

  • Food
  • Value
  • Service
The Good

Great service

Coca Cola freestyle

Perfect sweet potato fries

The Bad

SMASH fries tasted good but were oily

1 Comment
  1. Well I got stopped nicely to try out the new smash burger in Glasgow. Now I was greeted by Emma at the door who was polite. Now she seated me and went through the menu, I did find it overwhelming but that’s my issue not the menu.

    Now I thought hey ho free side but decided to try the limited edition triple burger called the smash burger. When I went to the till again we have a competent polite guy on the tills. I was given a disc with a number to find me.

    Now a runner came over with the food asking if I needed anything. Now another good point is the expediter is really good and checks every order and picks up on things wrong and even bins little things not right. So you have confidence that the last line defense between kitchen and customer is done right.

    Now others like Frankie and bennies, 5 guys, byron make similar burgers so heavy. Not here the food is totally delicious, it’s not heavy or make you feel bloated in any way which is good. As I said I got some chips but was not oily just a great flavor from the free side and again delicious.

    There is no alcohol for the first 2 weeks; Managers don’t sit on there buts instead muck in. The staff are all really really helpful, competent and more so you wouldn’t think it opened a day. And if they continue in the same manner this could be the best thing to come to Glasgow in the food industry in years.

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