Great Gourmet Burgers – Welsh Style.
The Gourmet Burger seems to have had somewhat of a renaissance in Britain over the last couple of years. From your local gastropub (read Wetherspoons) to chains like Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) and Byron’s burgers, everyone seems to be offering up their take on the gourmet burger. So how does local independant competition The Grazing Shed face up to these?
Grazing shed is located on Barrak lane (outside the food court in St. David’s 2), and offers up a range of freshly cooked burgers using locally sourced Welsh Beef, served on freshly baked artisan bread (also welsh) and skin on crispy chips. Their menu is reasonably extensive, ranging from the John Wayne (bbq, cheddar fondue and crispy bacon) to the spicy Uncle Pedro (chorizo, avocado mash, and jalapeno infused sour cream), as well as chicken burgers and vegetarian options. You have the option of just buying the burger, or getting the meal for a couple of pounds extra – this includes the chips and a drink provided by the lovely drinks company. They are slightly different to the usual coke/lemonade offered everywhere else, and include fresh ginger beer, root beer, proper lemonade and elderflower.
I LOVE a good burger, and having deliberated over the menu for quite a while I opted for the John Wayne meal. We took our seats, and in less than 5 minutes our burgers arrived. This speed is not unusual – every time I have visited our food has been out in less than 10 minutes, which is impressive considering they cook the burgers fresh. The burgers are cooked medium as standard, so be warned – if you don’t like pink meat then ask for them to cook it a bit more. The first bite of your first grazing shed burger is always the best. Still hot, juicy and always perfectly seasoned, it easily beats GBK for the taste of the meat itself. In my John Wayne the BBQ cajun dressing worked perfectly with the cheddar fondue to cut through the creaminess of the cheese, and this set off the smokiness of the bacon well. I devoured my burger, and washed it down with a couple of glasses of their ginger beer.
This is unpretentious dining. Don’t expect anything over the top or unneccesary – the food is served in baskets with a basket of napkins on each bench. The small size of the restaurant means rather than tables they have long low benches for people to sit communally at, and this compliments the whole “grazing shed” idea of it – people sat down together, grazing on brilliant burgers together. the one thing I will say is that apart from one wall being covered with old barn doors – a neat little touch – the place itself is very minimally decorated, which makes the whole place seem a bit cold and uninviting. I get that they’re going for minimalism, but white walls and grey floor can be a bit uninspiring to look at. Other than that, I can’t really fault The Grazing Shed. The staff are always chatty, the manager very personable and the whole place runs like clockwork. My only other gripe is with the price. I understand that for a good quality burger you expect to pay significantly more than for the puk of grissle you get in McDonald’s, however for one of the pricier burgers, a meal will set you back nearly £11. Yes, this does include a drink and chips, and yes they do have cheaper options including a student meal for £7.95, but even this isn’t hugely cheap.
Overall, the burger itself is one the best I’ve eaten, they have a pretty good range of options and specials (although GBK probably has a couple more interesting ones), and the staff are always friendly. Can Cardiff support another burger joint? When it’s as good as this one, definitely.
To find out more about the grazing shed and to see a menu, go to http://www.thegrazingshed.com/