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Burgers He Wrote Review: Holifera

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!

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Holifera Signature Burger – Beef Patty, Fried Onion, Bacon, American Cheese, Mushroom, Burger Sauce, Stacked in Thinly Rolled Dough – £12.

(Make it a meal for £3 extra adding Fries & Drink)

After a 3-week hiatus, I’m back in business! Truth be told, I’ve been struggling with time, content, and creativity. Places to visit are becoming scarce, with the possibility of finding anything remotely close to what I’ve already reviewed, slimmer than Loana Spangenberg.

With the news of Stax N Snax closing, whilst also not having the chance to feature them, I tried playing a game of cat and mouse with Holifera (previous owners of Stax N Snax), suggesting they get me in to do a review, by goading them on their socials, alas it was to no avail. I also slapped one of my stickers on their outside menu, which was still there when I turned up unannounced, over a week later. What are you, a man, or a mouse? Turns out I’m a mouse.

Holifera have been responsible for some pretty bold statements over social media, prior to their opening, the first being:

“It has the best and most interesting burger you can eat here”.

It didn’t stop there! They also stated the following:

“Forget all the burgers you’ve ever eaten”.

And lastly…

“Competition is over in Andover”.

This triggered a whole host of creatures, crawling out of the woodwork like someone had tapped on the flawed boreds of Spotted in Andover, and what you end up with is a comments section full of wannabe experts and comedians, providing their six pence of futile, counter-productive, overly opinionated drivel. I know, Hippo-Critical right?!

“Let’s give a big Mumbo Jumbo welcome to the comments section of Spotted in Andover”.

I myself even responded to these wild declarations, suggesting that I could either confirm or deny them, but was placed on hold for the same length of time that people have been waiting for the release of ‘Detox’. Kinda like talking on The Great Call of China. An audible piece of string if you must.

The name “Holifera” is a bit of a mystery, and as I went incognito, the Inspector had to do things the old-fashioned way.

“I’m taking them into battle, and I’m doing my own stapling”.

The closest reference point I could find about their name was for Nilüfer Hatun, a member of the Ottoman Empire who was first wife to Orhan, the second Ottoman Sultan. Nilüfer was a Byzantine Princess, also named Holofira, with sources showing their birth name as Holifere (Holophira). Connecting the dots yet?

The name ‘Nilüfer’ itself is of Turkish, Arabic, and Persian origin, Nilufer being a feminine name that means “water lily,” and I’m pretty certain that’s a Lotus flower above their doors, which is obviously from the Water Lily.

Of course, I could be way off, but what other journalists give you this kind of drama and intrigue?! If you do want a Snorefest, you know exactly who to contact.

“Boring, isn’t it? Just sitting in, writing Burger Reviews with your life. Not for me, I like it.”

To set the scene, I grew tired of waiting for an invite, so wanting to spend a bit of one-on-one time with my son, I thought this would be the perfect venue for a pre-cinema trip. It was early evening and despite newly opening, we were the only diners, which is sadly indicative of this Ghost Town. Time to look at The Specials.

Their menu is quite expansive, and if it was any other day, it would’ve been a tough choice, where I’d potentially opt for their Turkish kebab options, or other signature dishes, but this was judgement day and I’m T-1000 on a mission to find and kill John Connor…Not Doner. Let’s see if this ‘Signature’ burger lives up to all of its own hype then?!

At first glance, you get served what appears to just be a bun, which itself contains more black and white seeds than Madonna’s house. The inner child in you then gets a real treat as you have to open it up like a Kinder Surprise. Some mild disappointment ensues as there’s no toy, but that soon subsides as it’s the next best thing, the burger filling!

What is this Witchcraft?! It’s like Din-ception, layered beneath the bread are a beef patty, bacon, cheese, sauce, onions, and mushrooms, presumably all baked together, inside the bun.

I’ve certainly never seen anything like it in all my years as a food critic, so that ticks off one of their statements, which was, “Forget all the burgers you’ve ever eaten”!

“Imagine a cross between Burger King and Greggs. You’ve just imagined their Signature. A new food offering, devised & hosted by Holifera”.

Honestly, it’s like a Steak Bake shagged a Whopper, and I’m all for it! This could seriously go t*ts up, but they’ve somehow managed to pull it off here, a bit like extracting semen from a horse.

Firstly, everything is cooked perfectly! The bread is nice and crisp, which may be unusual when you imagine a burger bun, but it works in containing the floodgate of juices stored inside. The danger is not having everything cooked evenly, specifically the meat, but they’ve got the timings, and textures nailed.

As I mentioned, the fillings are juicy, and also soft in comparison to the crisp of the bread, having been part baked / part steamed inside. Given the choice prior, I would never have opted for a burger being cooked this way, but it’s completely changed my perspective, so I’d say well done for flipping the script on me, and for living up to another part of their claims, in it being the “most interesting burger you can eat here”.

I’d personally not put mushrooms in it, as the onions provide enough flavour and texture already, but that’s a minor, and it’s not as if I didn’t still enjoy it. Another slight negative is the bacon was a bit fatty, and this could put some people off where it’s not crispy, or rendered like it would be in a pan first. I didn’t mind it, but it is one drawback where the rest is texturally sound.

The bread is fantastic, a homemade, artisan style bun, that encapsulates everything literally, and figuratively, about Middle Eastern cuisine.

The meat was tender, and whilst not to my normal taste in terms of burgers, it serves to be the most appropriate style of patty in this wonderful creation.

Moving on to Holifera’s other claims of it being the “best burger” or that “Competition is over in Andover”. I think that in some context, you can take the latter statement as being jovial, due to the emojis that followed it, but in terms of it being the best, I can finally confirm that it’s not, but…and it’s a massive but, it is the “best, most interesting burger” you’ll eat in Andover, which again adds some context to the statement. In truth, where Holifera is a fully fledged restaurant, rather than a burger spot like Stax N Snax was, you shouldn’t draw too many comparisons, other than some of the burgers they had on their menu ahave been brought along with them, but there is much more to it than just burgers, and I guess they’d want to remove themselves from that pigeonhole, like Smokey in Friday.

Despite being incognito, I did get spotted by someone, who also knew of my intentions, and made it pretty clear about them to everyone within a 40-mile radius, so I felt I’d been rumbled, but at this point…

“I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen it all”.

The environment in this restaurant is calming, probably helped by it being just us in there, although we did also have a heated discussion about my teenager’s attitude lately, so that probably dipped the mood, but the decor compliments the environment, with open plan dining as opposed to the previous layout used by the last occupiers. The service was good, and the overall experience was one that I would 100% look forward to as a family again, in the not-so-distant future.

In terms of the score, it’s a difficult one to compare, based on stark contrast to what would be perceived as a normal burger. I’m going with an 8.6 for sheer ingenuity and flavour. It’ll split opinions I’m sure of it, and I look forward to seeing what others think about it. Try it for yourself!!!

Score – 8.6

Their Smash Burger – Double Smashed Beef Patty, Fried Onion, American Cheese, Pickles, Truffle Mayo & Chilli Jam – £10.

Another topic of conversation online was about an optional service charge being added to the bill. I get that this is usually a foreign custom, but if it’s optional, then why not. Us Brits are too used to never paying tips for good service, and whilst it’s not customary, hospitality is one area that could use that little extra – providing it goes to any relevant server or gets divvied up between those on shift. Anyway, you have a choice.

Hopefully that answers some of your questions, whilst I also enjoyed getting back in the saddle. For any future potential reviews, feel free to get in touch, I don’t bite, I promise. My final thought is R.I.P. to Ewan Mackintosh.

Sides – Halloumi Fries – £5, Homemade Coleslaw – £2.00, Chipotle Mayo – 70p.

This burger had a mystery about her, she came from the middle east, where she had been a princess. After a while of ignoring me, she eventually opened up to reveal a softer side. She was a bit tight, but enjoyed the tip. Oh, and I got her juices in my beard.

Yours Sincerely,

Freddie, after making himself a drink – “This glass smells like a…”

Me – “A Summers day?”

Freddie – “Nah, a Creme Egg.”