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!
‘Cheesey’ Burger- Fresh Hand Pressed Aged Beef Patty, American Cheese, Sauce, Romaine Lettuce, Brioche Bun. £13.95. (Add an extra patty for £2.95, bacon for £1.50)
The ‘Cheesey’ Burger…
“Ok, hello everyone. For those of you who don’t know me, my name’s Burgers He Wrote. For those of you that do know me, keep schtum.”
This week l reviewed Original Fry Up Material, what a name by the way, and I even managed to get in a quick chat with Jon at OFM, to firstly introduce himself, and his business to you…
“OFM was hatched in a pub in Camberwell in 2012, we just thought it was a funny name for a caff so we decided we would start one, but that caff turned out to be a truck. We did brekkie’s in London for a bit – sold nothing – then switched to festival mode which worked out good (back then).
Funnily enough the first beefburgers we ever did were in Hampshire actually – Blissfields festival in 2013. Loved that place. We were only breakfast before then, but we knew what would make a good burger, so we also did them because of evening trade.
I was gonna pack it in for a bit but moved to Hampshire in 2019, got cancer (I don’t anymore), got the festival-led business killed by COVID and, one week after starting chemo (the week before lockdown one) I saw lockdown coming and went hobbling up to local community centres and church carparks asking if i could park up the truck and do take outs from it. Some said no, some said yes, and the rest is Hampshire patty-fan’s history.”
Mike Skinner (The Streets), pictured alongside local celebrity Jon (on the right).
I’d like to thank Jon for that open, and interesting look back on the last 11 years, and how the world has shaped his business up until now.
It took me an absolute age to think how I should start this review. I guess firstly, it’s with a declaration of indePUNdence, so it’s worth noting that I’ve previously reviewed OFM a couple of times, and I’ve got to the stage where I’ve built up a lot of love, respect, and admiration for the owner Jon, his staff who help, and of course, their Burgers.
Favouritism, blackmail, and complete bias aside, it’s just how things work isn’t it. You do Food Reviews for a long time locally, “and you’re labelled a prat, and that’s the game”. No, in all seriousness, you end up forming relationships with people beyond food, not that it’s even the case here, but it could be, so I guess what I’m saying is, ‘Jon, will you be my best friend?’. It’s got nothing to do with the burgers, I promise.
I bet my partner’s reading this, thinking, “He hasn’t even proposed to me yet, and he’s declaring his undying love to a Geezer he hardly knows!”.
“If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it” – Ghandi.
I once proposed to my significant other, using a Giant Beef Hula Hoop, our favourite crisps may I add! Alas, she turned me down, so I don’t know what else to say really, and if you can’t say it without spending 3 months of your ages on it, then I can’t afford it. I might put out one of those messages out in the Andover Advertiser, if that’s even still a thing…
“Gary love Kelly, Marriage?”
That brings me on to my next point. There was a time when we almost broke up a few years ago, and, very unlike me, I took it upon myself to paraphrase a quote from the UK TV show, ‘The Office’, and summarise the situation.
“So that’s it then, the old relationship on the scrapheap”.
With the reference being so niche, she obviously didn’t pick up on it, and it wasn’t until a couple of years later, that I explained what I’d done, which is when Word War 3 kicked off. I’m kidding, fortunately she saw the funny side of it, and I was only trying to make light of the situation, probably as a self-defence / coping mechanism for something that I refused to believe was actually happening.
Normal relationships are tough going, and even more so these days. We spend our time trying to convey absolute perfection to others, whilst forgetting about ourselves in the process, but also with that, there’s more of an ideal as to what perfect is, coming under pressure from unrealistic expectations, and if it doesn’t match those standards, we tend to give up far too easily, and whilst you should never accept certain behaviours, I think there’s less understanding for what we are, and that is imperfect. Perfection is imperfection, “I’ve always said that”. I just cannot help myself.
OFM’s ‘Brekkie Bap’, at Second Sundays Market…
Every time I see OFM are popping up locally, either at the Second Sundays Market in Andover itself, or at the Black Chalk Winery in Fullerton, or even outside the Greyhound on the Test in Stockbridge, I can’t help but…SIGH…*Unzips*.
“Feel a bit sick really, not nerves umm, excitement really. Not sexual ya know…She said she’d be wearing a white chiffon scarf to help me spot her so um…Oh FFS.”
This review was brought to you from the dining area of The Second Sunday’s Market, which, if you haven’t been to yet, you need to, and support what’s being organised and put on for you, the people.
There’s several local, independent, street food vendors, cake bakers, cocktail makers, artists, vintage clobber sellers, amongst a whole host of other uniquely talented people who bring something different to the town, other than “hot dogs, burgers, bacon rolls for a pound, cheap now look.” That, or Wolf fleeces.
The ‘Cheesey’ Burger, outside their Van, at Second Sundays Market…
That’s not a dig at any stalls on the weekly markets, far from it, I ruddy love a fleece that’s got a pod of Dolphins on it, and there’s always time for cheap fodder, please see previous reviews for reference. It’s merely observational, and it’s just nice to celebrate something a little bit different for a change.
The best part for me is obviously the food, coz I’m fat, but it’s also the atmosphere that you just don’t get in the town centre normally. They’ve got a DJ spinning some absolute bangers from the golden age of Hip-Hop, in amongst an eclectic choice from other genres, but it’s a great vibe to be part of. In the summer, I was sat there, chilling, listening to A Tribe Called Quest, supping on a pint of “sommat”, whilst dining on a Chopped Cheese, so if anything, make sure you check it out when they start next year, and see for yourselves!
Jon at OFM’s take on the Second Sundays Market, and current trading situation, is as follows:
“Second Sundays? I like that. And I got time for Andover, TVBC and what they’re trying to do with this and any other events in the town.
People in the comments sections literally have no idea that ALL high streets are SCREWED if we go by the traditional ‘shopping-led’ model. Shops are not enough to bring people in anymore, because they can get it online. That’s cool. It is the way it is. I’ve been banging on for years that the high street needs to become more experiential – If you can buy it online, assume you will.
But, you cannot buy the same experience of meeting a mate for a coffee, pint, or a burger online. Hence why hospitality, music and culture generally need SUPPORT AND PROMOTION! Otherwise, towns will just die. I’ve worked with a few councils over the years and in my experience, I really think there is a progressive mindset certainly in all my interactions in Andover.”
So, there you have it, it’s quite an honest outlook on how trading is for a lot of businesses currently, and I completely echo what he’s saying, and as always, the key word is SUPPORT, your town needs you!
Staff member Hayd’n, and what appears to be Santa, working hard before the big day…
The unquestionable star of the show for me, are their burgers. I mean, that’s what these reviews are all about after all, isn’t it?
Having waxed lyrical about OFM myself on plenty of occasions that I previously reviewed them, I’m going to hand it over to Jon, and he can tell you all about the burgers himself…
“Absolutely always had the view that if the patty itself is not the best thing about the burger, then it cannot, by definition, be a great burger. Hence why our burgers are how they are – no ‘loaded’, toppings or extra stuff, just good simple one-fist face-smash ground meat in bread. But hey, we’re libertarian sorts, and that’s not to say you can’t make ’em any other way, that’s cool. That’s just what we do. Hence the smallest possible menu. One fist savoury sandwiches. Lovely.”
The beef is from Hogget & Boar butchery. If I told you any more than that and I’d need Last Crusade levels of booby traps and security guards to protect this particular holy grail!
‘Cheesey’ is exactly as it should be – American cheese, burger sauce (for tang in place of actual pickles although actual pickles work sure. People ask for them to be taken out though and off menu deviations really slow service down hahahaha). Actually, it tastes better without salad, but salad adds colour, crunch and height. When we have a shop, we’ll do them all no salad – purist, like. Can’t wait for that.
The Bacon is also top secret, but what I can say is that it’s rendered out for crunch and a salty hit!
‘Smokey’ burger has honey mustard, smoked cheese and some smokey pap on the bacon. This burger actually came from a burger I had in Athens, once years and years ago. It was great and the honey mustard thing was new then. It’s not now. But it was then haha”.
The ‘Smokey’ burger, taken at Black Chalk Winery…
Job done, and it saves me saying it, although my word count is already pretty high. I just thought it would be an interesting take to involve Jon and give you some different topics to chew on myself, rather than just burgers. I will summarise my thoughts, but first I want to give you this metaphorical piece I wrote…
“Sometimes in life, things can appear effortlessly beautiful, and that’s because every single element, works harmoniously together, to become the finished article you bear witness to.
Each step it took to get there, in perfecting it, is a single stitch in the tapestry of a patchwork quilt, that is pieced together with the fabric of time and space, and it represents a journey that tells you many, significant stories along the way.
Behind this beauty is an idea, a dream for it to be fulfilled, a vision of what it is, and how much it will take to get there. You won’t see the highs and lows, the ups and downs, years of training, support it was given, or hurdles it had to jump over, in order to get over the finish line. You will just see the photo finish and decide if it’s a winner based off that alone.”
This burger is the beauty that I speak of. Your first bite is one of those moments that stops time, and makes you forget what you were doing, allowing you to truly appreciate every single step in the process it took to reach you. From its inception to years of experience, life altering circumstances, and tweaking of recipes / methods etc. From Farm to Market, and into your hands, this is one of the best burgers, not only in Andover, but in the UK. I don’t often put my reputation on the line, but I’ve said it now, so I can’t go back on it. Smash Burgers are my preference, although this verges somewhere in between, and lastly, despite my earlier comments, this is not favouritism, I do not know Jon outside of this platform, but he seems like a great guy, and I encourage everyone reading this to try out his food, and make sure you support, not only his business, but all the businesses that both deserve and need your support. We’re living in a tough time, and whilst not everyone can afford to indulge, just maybe when you can. Your presence alone at events such as the Second Sundays Market, and many more laid on throughout the year locally, is enough to help the local community! 9.8, that’s the score, because there’s always room for improvement.
An aerial view of the burger, which resembles a cold, shrivelled, ballbag in the winter months.
Jon’s final thought…
“OFM. Great burgers, questionable chat. It’s never your last.
Cult classic not bestseller”
With Christmas fast approaching, and instead of my usual crass ending, I’d like to share a thought for anyone reading this out there, who might be struggling at the moment. Please reach out on my socials should you ever need to talk to someone.
Obviously, we still need some light-heartedness, so Freddie is always on hand to deliver. I thought I’d share an all-time favourite of mine, and one I used for my first ever review for OFM…
“Did you know, a ball is always standing up?”
Genius or imbecile, you decide.