Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Almost Famous

    For weeks now there has been a lot of buzz around Manchester. A certain pop up bar/food establishment by the name of Almost Famous has seen all kinds of Manchester folk queuing on Fridays and Saturdays outside a plain wooden door, much to the curiosity of passers by.
What could possibly lie behind that wooden door? a new club night perhaps? a bar?

It is in fact a burger joint and cocktail bar. Tucked away up an old Victorian tiled staircase, some more stairs, and then through what looks like you're about to enter a disused office space, you suddenly come upon a door and step into a wonderfully vibrant bar. The exposed brick walls are full of gorgeous artwork - from pin up illustrations, to Bansky and other street stuff, as well as the psychotic ramblings of Charlie Sheen during his infamous meltdown, which have been scrawled on the walls.

 The bar is impressive for a pop up joint - row upon row of shelves are lined with ever possible liquor you could require. You really do forget that you have travelled through the disused spaces to get inside once you get in there. Two rooms lead off, one with a mismatch of tables, chairs and more great artwork, the other similar but with some sofas and bigger tables.

 One thing that has to be stressed is the popularity this place has seen since its opening a couple of months back. With no sign or advertising apart from on Twitter, Almost Famous' reputation has been earnt purely from word of mouth and people spreading the word virally. As word rapidly spread, each week the queue for entrance became bigger, stretching around the corner and down the street.

A security guard lets you in once you finally reach the privileged front of the queue.
Once inside though, you are met by more queues - first for the bar, and then the get a table. After thinking the waiting part was over once let into the building, this was particularly frustrating. We split up like a lot of the others waiting. One at the bar, the other in between the two doorways to the other rooms, eyeballing anyone and everyone to hurry up and leave.
Rather torturously, the staff paraded the burgers past every few seconds to the tables, giving a teaser of the filthy delight that was so close, yet still so far away from my tastebuds.

 Finally, after much waiting, I nabbed a table. It was still quite a while before my friend arrived with the drinks though, but because of all the hype I'd been hearing about this place for weeks it was kind of to be expected, and I knew that when I finally got one of their burgers in my paws it would all be all worthwhile.

I sat browsing the impressive cocktail list in more detail after having made a quick choice on our arrival whilst waiting for a table...


Eventually my friend returned from the bar, cocktails in hand. They were beautifully presented in glass jars - nice quirky touch I felt - with these two glow sticks and fresh fruit inside. We both got the Bitch Juice - a delicious mix of gin and various fruit flavours.

We  also had a larger one to share - a bigger jar priced at £12 that had a very distinctive taste. It took me back to this old Victorian sweet shop we visited when I was a child. It contained Violet Falernum and gave it a wonderful spiced edge.

But the best was yet to come....Burger Heaven was awaiting me. I opted for one of the naughtiest options on the menu, the Triple Nom Burger (although to be fair none of the options were for those counting calories - this place is for the carnivourous meat junkies, veggies needn't bother queuing up outside...)
It arrived in a red basket with a shiny bun and was stacked high with all kinds of juicy meaty goodness. The Triple Nom consisted of a two burgers,  BBQ pulled pork, cheese and homemade coleslaw.

What happened next when I took a bite is a bit of a blur. It was incredible. The burger medium rare, juices dripping all over my fingers, the BBQ pork mixing with the melted cheese....It was quite honestly the best burger I have ever eaten. It was pure filth.
As it neared its end, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of sadness. I didn't want it to be over, and I'm not afraid to say that I half considered purchasing another one.

But waiting to comfort me were the Trailer Trash Fries, which somewhat eased the pain. Loaded with cheese and BBQ sauce they were an extra calorie load of carby delight - and a perfect accompaniment to my burger friend.

And that was it. My Almost Famous experience was over. Despite all the queuing and waiting around, it seemed to end far too soon - the burger devoured too quickly, only to leave me with a food coma and impending meat hangover.

It was a bittersweet moment - for my first taste of Burger Heaven was to be my last. That night was the end of Almost Famous. It was apparently their final night of being open, as despite it passing as a convincing regular establishment once you were up those stairs, I was reminded it was a pop up venue and a temporary one.
One can only hope that they are just saying this to leave us all gagging for more, and shall return again soon with their filthy juicy burgers and kick ass cocktails.

No comments:

Post a Comment