Friday is finally here and so comes my second instalment of
Face Value Food Blog! So with yesterday being #NationalBurgerDay, it seemed the
obvious thing to go have a beer and a burger, right? Hell yeah!
unashamedly a bit of a London burger aficionado. Whether it’s the humble 99p
puffy, additive filled cheeseburger at McDonalds or the full steak burger
special at Hawksmoor, I’ve had my fair share.
What kind of burger are you about? 2 thin patties a la Five
Guys, or one big pink patty like Byron? I prefer the latter, I like my burgers
pink, juicy and flavoursome so I was really excited to go to Stokey Bears – a fun
bear-themed burger joint in Stoke Newington.
At Stokey Bears, the burgers originated from the humble Burger Bear street market food stall and have now set up residence in a bear disco themed restaurant so yes, for me, the concept is SOLID. The menu’s are adorable and I just love a good bear pun!
Unfortunately for me, that’s where the fun starts to stop. I
don’t know whether Stokey Bears was cracking under the pressure of increased demand
from National Burger Day but the service really wasn’t great.
I had such high
hopes for this place and I think it might have been let down by a couple of
basics – which I’m hoping are a one-off given NBD crowding.
How It Went Down
The night started off well as we managed to get our timing
spot on and grab a table of five, without prior booking. WIN. The décor of Stokey Bears
is great – think bear and burger themed art and you cannot go wrong. Who
thought’d a giant half burger on the wall would look so good?
Drinks wise, Stokey Bears do a GREAT selection of beers and
IPAs – their Bearhug Bruno Pilsner Lager is unBEARlievably delicious and goes down a treat
with the burgers. Unfortunately, we had to ask for our drinks twice, to be
brought the wrong drinks – and our tap water just never materialised at all. Not beary
good so far. (I’m going to try and limit
these, don’t worry)
When the burgers arrived, they looked great. The
brioche bun is fantastically firm, yet fluffy with a hint of a glaze but the burger itself could have
been a touch pinker and with a bit more seasoning.
The burger meat itself is great
quality, sourced from Flock&Herd in Peckham, but it needs more seasoning.
It was good, but it wasn’t GREAT. (Apologies for photos btw, I’m just using my
phone for now as I couldn’t be bothered to lug my DLSR to a burger joint where
it would inevitably end up covered in delicious grease..)
The chicken wings arrived with the burger, they were delicious
orange delights but they need to be jointed darnit. It is great to see use of
the whole wing (so many places discard the bony wing tip – which as a Chinese girl, is my
FAVOURITE bit) – but if you’re going to recreate a buffalo wing, it’s gotta be
done right. The skin could do with more of a crispy coating too – like the ones
at Meat Liquor/Meat Mission etc
We went to towwwwn on the rest of the sides, but unfortunately they
didn’t arrive until we had finished pretty much all of the burgers. The chips
were a bit under-done, that pale anemic straw colour rather than a good ole
bad-for-your-everything golden yellow.
The onion rings started off great – they
were crispy and crunchy and HUGE. However, it was nigh on impossible to bite
into one without taking out the whole of the inner onion, leaving us with big
chunks of batter to deal with. Not sure how/why – is it because the onions are
frozen before? They are MASSIVE though.
There were no Mac and Cheese balls left – which is a shame
because that sounds AMAZING, like some sort of mac and cheesey arancini? But
star performer of the night has to be a surprisingly healthy one – the Stokey
Bears coleslaw is FANTASTIC. For a hardcore carnivore like me, this is hard to
admit, but the coleslaw is of the perfectly crunchy, with less mayo variety– absolutely
delicious, I could have eaten a plate of it as a salad.
After our meal, half of our plates were cleared and we asked
for our bill. After waiting some time, we then went up to the counter and asked
for our bill again. Honestly, what’s
going on Stokey Bears? I saw a table actually WALK OUT before their food
arrived due to the waiting, is it always like this??? Finally, after asking
AGAIN – our bill arrived, complete with some lollies (a nice touch) and a 12.5%
service charge. (not so great)
Let’s not start a service charge debate but as a former
waitress, I pretty much always tip either way so I paid it but I gave feedback to one
of our servers (we had three different servers in the same night)
He seemed surprised that I thought the service was bad. I then explained that we had
asked for drinks twice, got the wrong drinks, had sides arrive late, asked for
the bill a few times, seen some walkouts –it’s more surprising to me that he thought
this was a good day!
All in all, an okay 7/10 for food but for me, it’s still
behind other single-patty burger favourites like Honest Burger and Dirty Burger
and double stackers like Lucky Chip and MeatLiquor. Dare I say it, I
think I’ve had better times at Byron! Obviously involving a bit more booze and hungriness but ouch all the same.
Big bear points for the coleslaw, the drinks menu and the concept
though I really did expect more from Stokey Bears as it’s always got great
reviews – I’m hoping that this little blip was down to the demand for National
Burger Day but really, a restaurant should be able to deal with a full house at
all times. Especially when it’s NATIONAL BURGER DAY!
What do YOU think? Have you been to Stokey Bears? Are you a fan of a one thick burger or a stack?
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