Never a man to let the grass grow under his feet, Colin Barr, a veteran of Glasgow’s night time economy, is at the helm of Cocktail & Burger, a new venture at the rock ‘n’ roll end of Sauchiehall Street.
The basement bar and diner replaces his Bier Halle bar and the pizzas of the former venture have been swapped for a menu listing burgers, rotisserie chicken and hot dogs.
It will be fascinating to see how it gets on. All sorts of factors make a bar successful or not – the food is just one element. However, the burgers, dogs and chicken line-up chimes with the fashion for dude food which has swept London over the last year or so.
Places like Meatliquor, Dirty Burger and Chicken Shop have had metropolitan diners queuing out the door to buy pimped-up fast food staples.
Down & dirty
It’s the sort of food that doesn’t need cutlery and should leave customers licking their fingers. Crucially, there has to be some artisan or gourmet factor at play to lift it above the fast food category. Dude food may be down and dirty but it is not undiscerning.
Cocktail & Burger’s menu follows the format. Their rotisserie chicken is organic and corn fed. Their 100% pork Big Frank hot dog is oak smoked and seasoned with nutmeg and black pepper. The burgers are served in a toasted brioche with stealth fries.
I’m not entirely sure what stealth fries are. It doesn’t matter. What’s important at a dude food diner is that they don’t serve just any old chip – they serve hip and cool stealth fries.
The Burgher Burger series of guerrilla dining experiences (in which restaurant chefs take over a greasy spoon for the night and serve their perfect burger) has been wildly successful in Edinburgh.
It’s a little surprising that no-one has yet tried to open a permanent dude food joint in the capital. It’s less surprising that Colin Barr seems to be the first person to do it in Glasgow.