Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Review
Just before half term, we were invited along to the opening of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Maidstone.
Now, for those of you not familiar with the joys of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (from now one referred to as GBK), let me introduce you.
“Back in 2001, three Kiwi guys including world-renowned chef Peter Gordon set up the first Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Battersea, South London, changing the UK burger scene forever. Now with over 80 restaurants across the UK, we still pride ourselves on serving up a variety of handcrafted burgers, combining 100% prime beef with the freshest ingredients and burger sauces made from scratch, every day, in each GBK kitchen.”
There was no real need for discussion in our home about whether we should accept this invitation. Hubby and I often go to Bluewater and always call in GBK. We know we will get burgers cooked how we want them, we know the service is always friendly and most importantly, we know the food will be good. Also, I have a slight addiction to their Ginger and Lemongrass drink (with the bonus that this is refillable throughout your meal).
The night before the invitation arrived, we had discussed taking the kids to GBK over half term. However, Bluewater can be very busy in half term and as we have children with a variety of special needs, it can be a very challenging day out. My youngest son loves the sensory overload – the noises and the smells – but my eldest son, well’s let’s just say “not so much”. My daughter is like me, she’s happy if there is an Apple shop and stationery shops.
So, of course when the invite landed to go to their new Maidstone branch, we said yes please, we’d love to come.
It was a school night and driving into Maidstone in their rush hour was a challenge, however, once we arrived near the venue, finding a parking space was easy. Finding a disabled parking bay was a huge bonus – normally they’re a bit like gold dust but we had quite a few available to us. Always a good start to an evening out.
On arrival, we were shown to our table. We had spent the day explaining to the kids that just because it was a complimentary meal, it did not mean they could order everything on the menu. Much to our surprise, our waiter explained that they were welcome to have anything – starter, main, dessert, drinks etc. This obviously started the event well for the twins who were totally delighted. It also meant Mum was a bit of a hero for getting the invite and let’s be honest, it’s nice to feel appreciated by your family for your blog.
The menu is great, there is something for everyone. Check it out here.
Once you have selected, you go up to order and can choose how the burger is cooked. This is always great when you have a child who insists on his burger being cremated!
We started with a selection from the “while you wait” section. House onion rings, chilli fried chicken bites (with sriracha hot sauce mayo – one word – delicious) and chargrilled chicken skewers (with smoked chilli mayo). They went down a treat, even our eldest son who usually skips the starters was happy tucking into the chicken skewers.
Then the mains arrived! My kids looked like they had just found heaven.
My eldest son chose the Chicken Burger from the Classics section (choose from chargrilled or panko crumbed & fried). He didn’t want any of the mayo, salad or relish and they got it right. Such an easy thing to do but so many places get it wrong. His burger arrived totally plain. He was happy. This meant we could relax and enjoy our meal.
My hubby ordered The Mighty – Two 6oz patties, mature Cheddar, crispy bacon, garlic mayo, relish, dill pickle. He was not disappointed.
The twins both had the GBK Cheese & Bacon (without the cheese) – Crispy bacon, BBQ sauce, house mayo, dill pickle, salad.
I had my favourite – Avocado Bacon (Avocado, crispy bacon, house mayo, relish).
Along with these, we had a selection of fries. GBK does this part of the menu really well, something for everyone. We had chunky (skin on) fries, skinny fries and sweet potato fries (you get baconnaise with the sweet potato fries – if you haven’t tried this before, then I recommend it). The skinny fries make other burger joint’s fries look podgy, they really are super skinny – the twins were in heaven – although they now want them at home! GBK also offer truffle cheese fries (chunky skin-on fries with truffle cheese sauce and grana padano).
As I indulged my ginger and lemongrass addiction, the twins and hubby indulged their passion for milkshakes. I’m not a milk shake fan but I am told by my son that these were “the best shakes – ever – in the whole wide world and universe and beyond“. They had the Chocolate milkshake and the Oreo shake. As we were leaving J told them how much he enjoyed the shakes and they told us that if you ask, they can mix the shakes up. J is already planning his Chocolate and Oreo shake for our next visit and R is looking at a possible Oreo and Honeycomb combination.
After all the longing for desserts in the run up to our visit, when it came time to order, no one could fit another morsel in.
The portions are very generous at GBK so if you are looking longingly at the dessert menu, take a tip from us and don’t fill up on starters and shakes!
As any parent of a child with SEND will tell you, once the meal is over, it’s time to go. No lingering and maybe considering another drink or waiting to see if you can find space for that dessert. It’s off we go! It was quite sad leaving, there was such a nice atmosphere and even the music got my son’s approval.
What did we think?
We had a really lovely evening with GBK. I know we will definitely be returning to the Maidstone branch. The staff were super friendly and really accommodating to J. Often when you have a child who is blind, you spend your time in restaurants moving things nearer to him or explaining where things are but it was as if the staff had taken a course that day and all the staff were great with him. They also dealt with my other son’s very typical ASD questions – you know the ones I mean, the blunt ones about waiting time, etc – and his constant reminders that he wanted his burger plain. There were no rolling of eyes or sighs, just total acceptance – we even got a grin or two. Considering this was, for many of the staff, their first real day on the job and their nerves were probably in play, we were even more impressed.
I had not pre-warned the PR or the restaurant of my children’s needs. In real life, you just don’t always get the chance and when we do reviews, I like them to be real. So I felt a real glow as I left GBK that evening, because I knew this service was not based on any “heads up” but just because they employed some genuinely nice people.
Thanks to GBK for inviting us to join them at the opening of their Maidstone branch. We will certainly be returning.
Disclosure – we were provided with a complimentary meal for our family but the views expressed reflect our genuine thoughts on the event.