Some of the best burgers in town are coming out of a hole in the wall in Salford


In the rankings of sentences you didn’t think you’d ever write, the headline above has to be up there with ‘I had a superb meal sitting in my car on an industrial estate the other day’.

But here I am, for a second consecutive day, neon orange buffalo wing sauce in my beard and hoping that I can still find that voucher for a free valet in the glove box.

A man in a van pulls up next to me to pick up his order, sees the state of what’s inside my car, and nods at me like we’re in a special club together.

“If you know, you know, mate,” he says. I can’t really reply, so I mutter something probably stupid through a mouthful of chicken, and notice the rat traps running the length of the factory unit in front of me for the first time.

I remember once seeing a giant raven pecking at the corpse of a dead rat on the hot tarmac of a Burger King drive-thru in Croydon. It was strangely apocalyptic, and I still think of it sometimes.

Not the most glamorous location, granted

Though this is a fair few runs above that troubling experience, my point is that this is not a particularly lovely spot, and perhaps not where the people behind Burgerism would choose that you consume their very hard work. So I apologize for that.

This slick operation runs out of what’s commonly known as a ‘dark kitchen’ on the Willan Industrial Estate in Salford.

It’s sandwiched between an electrical wholesalers and Schiedt & Bachmann, a company head quartered in Mönchengladbach which makes mass transport fare collection systems.

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A dark kitchen is a place with no sitting capacity and where food is made primarily by taking it elsewhere, and though there is a single afterthought of a garden bench outside, it was cold and Storm Dudley was just starting to throw his weight about.

I’ll enjoy the al fresco experience in the summer, but the likelihood is I’ll be returning much, much sooner than that.

bag it up

Because Burgerism’s output is some of the very best in the city right now.

After ordering and paying on its browser app before I left the house, I chose a time slot and hoped the roadworks-based insanity in Salford Quays would be kind to me.

It was, and 20 minutes later, I arrived at the hole in the wall, with little more than a small neon burger sign to let me know I was in the right place.

At the window, a handful of delivery drivers and riders, and there is a relentless stream of them for the 20 minutes or so that I’m in the vicinity.

As I mentioned in a recent article on the Manchester eating spots least likely to gain a Michelin star any time soon, Burgerism’s menu is pared down, and so much better for it.

Perhaps not best enjoyed in the car, but still

The choices are cheese, turkey bacon, veggie, normal size or enormous (that’s four patties).

There is no pulled pork. There are no Frazzles. There is no replacing the buns with donuts.

I go for the ‘Baconed’ (£7.45), which comes with cheese, and add some fries (obviously), chipped on-site, double fried and seasoned. Scurrying back to my car, it’s all gone – every scrap – in an unseemly amount of time.

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The bun is brioche and sesame seeded, but not sweet, the mistake often made when using the brioche as a burger delivery system.

The turkey bacon is crisp and has smoke, the patties are crushed to oblivion and heavily seasoned, the cheese oozes and the Burgerism sauce brings the whole thing together in harmony.

It’s all about the wings

Every bite tastes the same, which to my mind, is a good burger’s job. Perhaps its only job.

Truth be told, the fries felt like they needed a bit of work – they were a little overdone and gnarled, like they’d been fried to just the right point, but then left to sit and refrigerated again. An off day, perhaps.

The homemade ‘turbo ketchup’ has a whiff of the Bloody Mary about it. For my money, just stick to Heinz.

Other than that, this place is 10 out of 10, so good in fact, that I’m back the next day too to immerse myself in poultry.

I’m concerned about the FreeBird burger (£8.45) being breast and not thigh, but such reservations prove entirely unfounded.

Perhaps it’s brined before being fried. But whatever, it’s superb; playfully crispy and I uttered a muffled expletive on the first bite.

The Free Bird Burger

It’s served on a golden potato bun that is light as air, with a very decent fresh slaw, spicy oil and ‘comeback sauce’.

Oh, I’ll be coming back. It might even be better than its bovine counterpart, which I have to say I did not expect.

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The buffalo wings. Good god. Some of the best examples of the style, and for £6.95 you get a tray full, scattered with black and white sesame, bathing in day-glo orange sauce – sharp with vinegar as it should be – and best devoured after being dragged through the homemade blue cheese sauce.

It’s a 17 napkin situation.

So there it is. One of the very best burgers in town, slung out of a hatch in forlorn wailing distance from Salford Lads’ Club.

Perhaps had Burgerism existed in Morrissey’s day, he’d have reconsidered the whole ‘meat is murder’ business. If not some of the other guff he comes out with.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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