Friday 15 August 2014

Burgers on the Northside: Jo'Burger Smithfield

Update: Jo'Burger is permanently closed

Mr. FFID likes movies with talking raccoons (Guardians of the Galaxy) and apes that shoot humans (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) whereas I prefer foreign movies about tormented individuals with difficult relationships and sad endings. Choosing a movie sometimes leads to animated arguments civilised debates, but I guess I have to make compromises sometimes. So the other day Mr. FFID’s date idea was: Jo’Burger and Guardian of the Galaxies... Oh dear...

So there is a new Jo’ Burger in town and this time it’s on the Northside. Located just opposite the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield and probably packed with tourists during the day but surprisingly quiet when we visited on a weekday evening.

The restaurant has many outdoor seats (a one hour limit applies when it's busy) and is rather spacious and bright inside. Apart from some giant graffiti on the wall and flowery wallpaper, it’s quite minimalist and doesn’t feel too 'hipster'. There is a large open kitchen and lots of long communal tables, cutlery is served in empty Harissa cans and the drinks menu can be found in children’s comic books.

In Jo’Burger you chose your burger (beef, lamb, chicken, fish, veggie), your bread (Breton bun or tortilla wrap) and your style of toppings. All the burgers are served with mayo, lettuce, slices of tomato and red onions, you just can pimp it as you wish. Prices range from €8.95 to €12.75 and you can add extra toppings (€1.50-€2.50). There is also a choice of salads for a tenner and sides (€3.95-€4.95) and sauces are extra.

I’m not a big burger eater and tend to make them at home, so I didn’t have high expectations I have to say. However they only buy from Irish owned companies, list them on the menu and hurray, it includes some of my favourites (e.g  Sheridans, Le Levain Bakery, Clement and Pekoe…).

Mr. FFID went for a sunburnt red from 8 Degrees to quench his thirst while I went for a rather massive jar of refreshing hibiscus and ginger lemonade. The lemonade was the type of drink you want to enjoy in your garden on a scorching Irish summer day (that's anything above 20C for those not living in Ireland).

The service was pretty quick and we got our burger towers in no time. Warning! This is not the type of burgers you can hold comfortably in your hands but there is a big skewer to kind of hold it together.

Mr. FFID went for a Moroka (2 slices of bacon, brie and relish) with some extra avocado. It was cooked medium rare as per request, oozed with creamy melted brie and included thick slices of bacon. He loved it despite great difficulties at eating it, he even tried using a knife and fork at some stage. 

My Phiri burger (red onion marmalade, rocket) was tasty, especially the fourme d’Ambert cheese I requested (a hefty €2.50 extra). 

Unlike Mr. FFID I held my burger firmly in my two hands and pressing it tight to reduce its size without making too much of a mess. That said, it’s kind of impossible to have a bite that includes all the toppings: the cheese was on one side and the marmalade on another…

The burger was bang on though, generous in size and nicely juicy but what I liked the most was the bun. It isn’t brioche but a lovely big fresh bun with a light crumb and golden crust, real bread it is.

We also shared a portion of sweet potato fries between the two of us, they were cubes more than fries but fluffy, slightly spiced and perfectly cooked.

Verdict? I was nicely surprised and enjoyed it. The bill came to €41 for two and we were full to the brim, it ain’t cheap but this is not the golden arches and the food was tasty. Jo’Burger is probably not for those looking for an American style burger but perfect if you want alternative toppings, the setting is also pretty cool for a casual meal. 

After all, I survived watching Guardians of the Galaxy and had a great date night.

Duck Lane
Dublin 7

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.