[Photo by Carl Sukonik, thevain.co.uk]
Part of the monthly ‘Food Reviews’ from Harry Johns
So I’m guessing a couple of years ago, the idea of Reds BBQ was conceived and next thing Leeds knows, we have a worldwide cult restaurant that is turning customers away like latecomers to a Springsteen concert, upsetting The Guardian’s Jay Raynor and starting a (pretty funny) fight with seemingly all vegetarians. And I love it. The fact is that the food is good, it’s all a bit rushed and cool, everyone’s STILL talking about it and it’s a great place.
Then about fifty-three thousand people decided that they could do Reds BBQ, but better or different or more healthy or less healthy or whatever and I’m pretty sure as of September 2014 we will have more burger joints than Starbucks. All of a sudden do I even want to go out for a burger?
Who even decided that ‘going for a burger’ was the same as ‘going out for dinner’? In most of these cases a burger and fries costs more than a main at Chaopraya or Browns and that’s OK, but the food’s got to be really great to deserve to be priced that highly. Plus sitting on a bench with AC/DC on the stereo and being shoved out of the room eight seconds after we’ve finished our food isn’t exactly the experience you want if you’re taking your girlfriend out for a romantic dinner, or a parents’ anniversary – so the restaurant has to be the sum of the parts you need it for, right?
My point is this: it doesn’t matter how much something costs as long as what you get and what you pay equates.
I was invited to the friends and family opening of Almost Famous. Apparently there are a few of them dotted around the country but it doesn’t really matter. If Reds is the dining equivalent of ‘Scarface’: classic, knowingly good quality and respectable, then Almost Famous is ‘Baseketball’. It’s Jordoworskys El Topo. It’s something a nine year old made with the cast of Shooting Stars. Its just total chaos.
Everything has cheese, and baconaisse, and sugared bacon pieces, and hash browns, and extra pulled pork, and fireworks, and exploding dogs. Honestly there was an Oreo on a burger. We had something that had an egg on it, my other friend ate something that had three patties in it… and chicken bits. It was like being nine. Actually, if you asked me to invent the perfect restaurant when I was nine, I would have just made Almost Famous. Just absolutely unhinged madness. But it’s good. It’s really good. And it’s not expensive! It serves normal beer (as well as the usual USA/ IPA suspects) and everyone who works there seems to just want to share the joke.
Everyone knows that Reds does the best burger joint Americany-thing. And you should know that for a fraction of the price and atmosphere, Patty Smiths does the best simple burgers (located in the Belgrave Music Hall). But believe me, there is room for this salivating, drunken buffoon of a restaurant. It’s a different breed of eatery, but it’s a roller coaster ride of a good time: thoroughly recommended.
23-25 Great George St