Photo of
February 3, 2016
The Byron Classic burger. Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer.
The Byron Classic burger. Pic: Paul Winch-Furness.

On Monday night, the 5pm Dining blog daundered along to the new branch of Byron which has just opened on the corner of North Bridge and the Royal Mile.

It’s the first Edinburgh outlet for the popular group of burger restaurants. There is already one in Aberdeen and two more Scottish branches are in the pipeline. One on Edinburgh’s Lothian Road and one on Glasgow’s West George Street. The Glasgow branch will be just a hop, skip and a jump from the section of St Vincent Street which is home to so many burger restaurants that some have re-christened it Burger Boulevard.

Peak burger?

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow, but particularly the latter, have seen an explosion in the number of burger restaurants over the last few years. A number of people have wondered if we have reached peak burger.

According to Tom Byng, founder of the Byron chain, there is still some way to go. We had a chat with him on Monday night and this was his take on the burger bonanza:

‘I recognise that there has been massive growth in hamburgers done properly, in gourmet hamburgers. That is certainly true. But when you look at the popularity of hamburgers and compare it to the popularity of say pasta or Italian restaurants, then you can see where the market can grow.

Do one thing and do it well

‘I see it as a process whereby more and more people incorporate hamburgers into their eating habits and their repertoire. There are a thousand and one ways to do a hamburger. Our way is to do it simply. Do one thing and do it well.’

It is not hard to see the new Edinburgh Byron booming. It is in a busy location and has a lot of capacity. Housed in a former bank, the split level dining room extends into a large basement area with lots of little booths and semi-private tables.

Individually designed

As with every Byron restaurant, Byron North Bridge has been individually designed. Vintage furniture, shelves decorated with antiques, and plenty of Byron’s trademark leather banquettes are set against modern touches such as exposed workings and an open kitchen.

Made from four cuts of carefully sourced British beef, ground fresh and cooked medium so they’re pink and juicy, the burgers hit the spot. Apparently, they’re designed to be like those Tom enjoyed when he was a college student in the States.

The drinks list features a selection of craft beers and bourbons, thick milkshakes and hard shakes, plus craft sodas.

The serving staff are speedy and perky. The food comes quickly, arrives hot and fits the bill.

It seems that the burger boom ain’t over yet.