Get ready for a mouth-watering adventure as we team up with the passionate and discerning palate of “Burgers He Wrote” on a quest to find the perfect burger! But that’s not all, this journey is about celebrating more than just the delicious bites; it’s about shining a spotlight on the incredible businesses we have right here in Andover.
If you’re a food lover and a supporter of local establishments, you won’t want to miss this thrilling blend of culinary exploration and community appreciation. Get ready to savour the flavours of Andover and fall in love with food all over again – because at Love Andover, we’re all about celebrating the best in food and our amazing community!
The Hound’s Burger – 2 x 6oz 100% Pure Beef Burgers in a Brioche Bun, topped with Cheese, Bacon & Caramelised Onion Chutney, served with Chunky Chips & Homemade Coleslaw – £14.
The Hare’s Burger – Panko Breaded Chicken Breast Burger, in a Brioche Bun, with Bacon, Caesar Dressing Tossed Iceberg Lettuce, served with Chunky Chips & Coleslaw – £12.
Time for a Jolly Boys Outing then, my chaperone today being my old chum ‘Panko’, who I’ve brought along for the proceedings, partly due to the ‘Hare’ Burger being coated in his namesake, but mostly because he’s my mate.
2 burgers you say, surely that’s cheating?! Guilty! Get a new rule book. I couldn’t have one without the other now, could I?
Why’s his nickname ‘Panko’ you ask? Well, it’s a long story, but one I’ll condense for you. It’s an evolution of nicknames. It began as one thing then ended up far removed from the original. In this case it developed as follows, from Bucks, Buckles, Paolo, Pablo, Raffles, Paxo, Paco, then to Panko, although we still call him all of these on any given occasion, so he’s probably not sure on who he is anymore. One thing’s for certain, he’s a top bloke, and if you need your carpets or upholstery cleaned locally, then he’s your man. You can expect a friendly, reliable, and thorough service, and you can find his business on Facebook at Zodiac valeting carpet and upholstery cleaning | Andover | Facebook
“I’m not gonna call you Panko”
“Well that’s my name-“
“No it’s not, what’s your real name?”
“It’s a good name.”
“Yes. I’ll call you Paul.”
“I didn’t call you fatty, so-”
“What is….what’s the matter with him?”
Anyway, I digress, there’s been a Murrrrderrrrr, and The Inspector is on hand to find out the Truth!
Located on a Chicane in Charlton Down, smack bang in the middle of Enham, Hatherden, and Charlton, this hidden gem is nestled within a copse, out of plain sight.
We pulled up in the car park to what can only be described as a scene out of Breaking Bad, with the landlords RV in situ. Unfortunately, no one was standing outside in just their pants with a gas mask and gun. Being 7pm in Autumn, there was no ‘Blue Sky’ in sight either. Right then, off to see what they’re cooking up in their lab!
H&H have been through more Changes recently than Ozzy Osbourne, and like any fairytale, you have to kiss a few Frogs to find your Prince. There’s a Vision in place, and I’m here to taste it, said an enthusiastic Wanda Maximoff.
The new steward, Ron French, greeted us like we were long lost family who’d been missing for 16 years, a welcome only matched by the return of Madeleine McCann I’d imagine, although there was no Tapas on the menu tonight.
With the surname French and having run a successful hotel bar in France for a few years, Ron knows a thing or ‘deux,’ about classic cuisine, he’s also not adverse to shaking things up, or gaining feedback, to provide a great offering for their customers.
Ron’s whole philosophy is, “A decent plate of food for a decent price”, and who can argue with that?! I’ll tell you who, moaners, they’ll find anything to moan about. Don’t get Ron started on French Fries though, or should I say ‘Belgian Fries’. A Pint of Stella please, my good man.
Ron doesn’t necessarily want H&H to just be known for their burgers, and I don’t blame him, I’ve also tried out the bar menu (available on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, and priced at only £8.50 per meal), which is great value for homemade food in this current climate, but the real pièce de resistance is ‘Chef Ryan’s Sunday Special’, a 6 Hour, Slow Cooked, Marinated Lamb Shoulder dish. Just call me Drake because if you’re reading this, then it’s too late, so please, do me a favour and try this dish. Ron asked me what I thought of it, and I had to admit that I was lost for words for once. Quick as a flash, he commented “Yeah, so I’ve heard!”. I was going to say something about it having a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’, but I think I’ll say nothing now.
Bredrin’s the burgers! Both come impaled with a knife, like Sword in the Stone, but first off the bat was the reliable old ‘Hound’. My spider sense was tingling as I could see 2 rather large beef patties on display here, which, if you’ve read my previous reviews, isn’t particularly my preference. I find the larger the Patty, the more likely it is to be overcooked and tough, but boy was I wrong, and I’m glad too.
This beef was juicy, dare I say it…moist (shudders exponentially) …and flavoursome. This was seasoned to perfection and packed a punch like Charlie Guest did in his last fight. You’ve got a standard brioche bun here, which is nothing new, but the combination of sauce / chutney, proper cheddar, bacon, and salad brought balance to the Force. An extra rasher of Bacon and a splash more sauce would improve this, in my humble opinion. Homemade buns elevate a burger also, so with this in consideration, and it not being my preference in style of patty, I’m going off the taste and cookery alone, which easily stands up against the big players locally, I’m sure of it.
Next up, ‘The Hare’. This only continued the theme of being well seasoned, with the Panko coating, being mixed with herbs, and crispier than the pages of that Jazz Mag under your son’s bed, if he’s still ‘stuck’ in the nineties that is…Vulgarity aside, the Caesar rules, but much the same as The Hound, it could do with a bit more sauce, along with another rasher of Bacon too. The addition of Parmesan would add another dimension too, so it has the potential of being even better. Everything’s well-cooked here, the Chicken was succulent, and taste wise, no complaints.
Can I choose between the two? Not really. We enjoyed both equally, although Panko lent toward the Chicken, as we walked across the road, both satisfied with the food and experience. If you put a gun to my head, and I had to Snatch one up, my predatory instinct would be ‘The Hound’. Looks like I’ll be buying a new Caravan then.
As a sidenote, their homemade coleslaw was lovely and rustic, with a flavour that me and Panko sat perplexed about, trying to guess. We asked Ron, who declined to tell us as it would then no longer be a secret, but it’s honestly not a big Dill really. ‘The secret ingredient is crime’. Lastly, the chips were also nice and rustic too, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and perfect for scooping up that coleslaw.
The real beauty from these burgers, is that the crux of their food is homemade. There are no Vac packs in sight, it’s not cooked from frozen, there’s no bottles of sauce, it’s all fresh, and that’s what separates the weak from the chaff, only further elevated with the cookery.
I’ve spent a while mulling over the score here. I asked Panko for his opinion, which has been taken into account, and then I started justifying the reasoning for my score, but having had more time to reflect on it, considering the cookery and overall taste being the overarching factors, on this basis, I’m giving the burgers an 8.3. This could easily be higher with some minor tweaks. That’s the review. Ron says, “I don’t care as I’m not going to read it”.
These burgers liked the thrill of the chase, but only one could be the winner. Trouble is they were identical twins, so me and Panko couldn’t figure out who was who, until I marked one of their arms with a Sharpie. We had a lovely evening, just the four of us, until some French fella came over and stole one of them. I’ll be back later Ron, to get her back.
Freddie’s Funny Story:
Kelly: “Basically, me working extra shifts this month is gonna pay for my hair”.
Freddo: “You have to pay for hair?”.