In the horseshoe shaped section of Trinity Centre by the Everyman cinema is Burgamoré an Italian Street Food restaurant, and a first venture into the business by the Leeds company. Still basking in the glory of being asked to be a judge in the Northern Heat of the 2021 British Street Food Awards, I thought it appropriate that I give it the once over.
From the outside it could be part of a national, or even multi-national, chain much like its neighbours, than the stand-alone independent restaurant it actually is. I thought that it would be interesting to see how serving food in a permanent static venue would differ from doing so out of the back of a van at a food festival or other outdoor event. We all know how much better fish and chips taste when eaten out of the paper whilst walking along the seafront at Scarborough than being served on a bone china plate in a posh gaff, would the same be true here.
The interior designer has decided to go for the full blown restaurant vibe rather than opt shabby chic to make the feeling more basic. The tiles on the walls and exposed extractor ducts scream Industrial but the floor tiles are more opulent but offset by the adjoining bare varnished floorboards. The tables are uniform wood as are the dining chairs although the latter are painted in different colours and mismatched. This is contradicted by a deep buttoned bench seat along one wall. Very odd but it works. There are also tables outside if you enjoy watching the world go by or instilling food envy into those who have opted for the corporate, accountant-controlled menus of the competition.
Anyway, I am not here to look at the fixtures and fittings but to taste the grub, which, should it be between 11.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday, is on offer at 2 courses for £13.95 or 3 courses for £16.95. I opted for the former made up of a main course and a dessert. The bulk of the menu comprises various riffs on Italian classics, pizza, pasta, risotto and salads, along with a selection of burgers – obviously.
My choice was the USP of the restaurant, which sounds more like an episode of Friends than a meal, The One In The Black Bun. It is a classic burger in a black brioche bun with Nduja sausage, salami, Buffalo Mozzarella, rocket, tomato salsa and spicy mayonnaise. I did have to smile whilst making my choice as it seems that the Italian theme has embraced Yorkshire culture in that their Fish Burger is Goujons of battered cod on a bed of minted mushy peas, baby gem, watercress and chunky tartar sauce, although I would have thought that haddock would have been more authentic.
As always, my first job was to slake my thirst and the beverage of choice was an Italian brew which was new to me, Menabrea, at £5.45, which I must say was excellent.
Before long the star of the show appeared in all its splendour. I had cranked the bill up by £1.50 (rather than the usual £2.95) by adding a portion of fries to the dish, just in case the burger proved to be of a less than filling size. Sod’s law prevailed and it turned out to be more than adequate in its own right but, hey, any excuse for some fries.
The bun gets its colour from charcoal which is added to the dough making it look as though it has been burned in the toaster, when you think about it, burning the bun would have the same effect except that it would have ruined the taste. Charcoal powder has no flavour, odour or aftertaste and so its only purpose is to colour the food, which it does spectacularly well. OK, so it is a gimmick but nowadays you have to separate your offerings from everyone else’s and this is as good a way as any to do that. I did find, however, that it seemed to make the bun a little lighter tasting than a normal brioche. Another bonus is that charcoal, unlike the squid ink in black pasta, doesn’t make your mouth look like the the entrance to a coal mine.
The combination of flavours in the filling was very well balanced. The thick meat patty given a spicy kick by the nduja, salami and mayo with the salad ingredients and salsa adding a fresheness to the whole thing so that it didn’t become cloying.
The fries were done just right, thin and crispy but not so much so that they shattered when you tried to stick your fork into them.
There were no less than fourteen desserts on the menu although a couple were off when I called but a dozen isn’t bad. Still, it’s quality rather than quantity we are interested in and the Amaretto Cake was sublime. It was a large oblong of two layers of sponge soaked with Amaretto liqueur and filled with cream. The sides were decorated with crushed macaroons and the whole shebang topped with rosettes of Chantilly cream and more macaroons, this time whole. It was artistically placed upon a plate decorated with chocolate sauce and powder, this time not charcoal, and was worth the intake of every single calorie.
It was a tad lighter than it looked but you still knew that you had had a dessert. My black Americano at £2.55 was a good complimentary accompaniment.
What I liked about Burgamoré was that they have gone wholeheartedly into the restaurant business and not tried to turn a street food cart into a static premises. The number and variety of dishes on offer could not have been served from a trailer so they are now catering – literally – to a different market. I wish them well as it is good to see a local independent establishment competing cheek by jowl with the big boys. I wish them every success, they deserve it.
Finally, I was pleased to see that the well deserved 10% Service Charge added to the bill was mentioned on the menu, so it wasn’t slipped in sneakily at the end, as seems to be the practice with an increasing number of food outlets nowadays. Well done for being upfront and honest.
Opening hours are Sunday-Thursday 11.30am to 8.00pm and Friday and Saturday 11.30am until 10.00pm.
All photographs by Stan Graham