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Restaurant review: Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Service makes AA Grill's burger experience less than awesome

Published on January 14th 2010.

Restaurant review: Gourmet Burger Kitchen

IT MAY not occupy the biggest space on the eating block that is the restaurant terrace of Liverpool One, yet Gourmet Burger Kitchen, tucked away in the corner, takes a decent slice of the action.

They were all nice kids but none appeared to have a clue what they ought to be doing, and that is clearly somebody else's fault

One of several joints providing ways to nosh pasta, pizzas and burgers while you take in the view of One Park West, tables are within eavesdropping distance of one another, the décor identikit cream and white, dark wood tables, moulded chairs and banquettes along the walls. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Indeed, it would have been a perfectly pleasant place to eat had we not spent quite so much time surrounded by other people's detritus.

Way before we got to the food, we had to fight our way past service that put us in mind of farmyard chickens freshly divorced from their craniums.

On arrival, we stood around awhile before collaring a member of staff and suggesting to them that we find ourselves a table. She agreed. We did so, then waited, and waited, '”excuse mes” falling on deaf ears like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.

Finally, success, but, “You order at the counter, did nobody mention that?”

Well, no, actually, nobody did. Maybe we are slow on the uptake and if that was all we had to complain about it would go unmentioned. But it also took around 15 minutes for somebody to clear our table of the previous occupants' dishes, not to mention scraps of food strewn bounteously before us.

Then the crockery was cleared but the crumbs were not, and we were required to call across the room to request that someone please come and wipe down.

My coffee had spilled into the saucer en route from the Illy, run-of-the-milly, machine, but, rather than fix it, a waitress – pushed for time, I expect – explained in some detail that another customer had moved their chair back just as she was walking past, causing her to . . . well, you need to know this about as much as we did.

They were all nice kids but none appeared to have a clue what they ought to be doing and that is clearly somebody else's fault.

The menu is mostly made up of “awesome burgers”, nearly 30 varieties including Habanero, Kiwi, organic buffalo, and puy lentil and potato, which, frankly, are two things that should not be allowed near a burger bun.

There is a selection of rather less spectacular “smaller burgers”, plus a junior menu offering a burger, small portion of fries and a drink for £5.95, which is priced at the top end of kids' menus - burger joints or otherwise.

A cajun burger (£7.45), housed in a seeded, lightly toasted bun that won't win any trophies but was perfectly respectable, filled with good quality meat (100 per cent Aberdeen Angus beef), nicely charred on the outside, cooked medium as requested on the inside, with an excellent, not-too-hot cajun relish and smoked chilli mayo. Even an unexciting lettuce leaf and an anorexically-slim slice of under ripe beef tomato could not spoil the effect which was really rather good, if not exactly “awesome”.

A chicken burger from the junior menu comprised a decent piece of fillet – “juicy and easy to chew” was the patron's verdict – with a little mayonnaise but bugger all else. Even our local chippy manages some lettuce; perhaps here they assume children are allergic to salad.

The junior beefburger came with anonymous cheese above, and a bog-standard ketchup below.

Chunky GBK fries (£2.75) were in a jumble of pleasingly odd shapes, with a good texture, but the fat won over the spud in the flavour face-off.

If you are a grown-up, you are likely to find the burgers to your liking, considering that at busy times GBK are knocking them out at similar rates to McDonald's.

The Liverpool branch just needs to borrow that bit of McDonald's' mission statement which promises “outstanding service and cleanliness”. Maybe they were merely having a bad day - you won't find me arguing with that.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind in the area: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes.
Following on from this, the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Don't be daft.

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Dean WeaverSeptember 25th 2009.

I think the review is fair. I've been in there twice and while the food is ok, the service is lacklustre and the staff just don't really give a stuff about the customers. After the first time I went, I wasn't impressed and didn't want to go back. The only reason I went the second time was because three friends really wanted to eat there (and I was out-voted). Again the service was rubbish - the staff weren't interested in any level of customer service, the tables weren't cleaned properly and the meals were served with drinks sloshed all over the place and food nearly falling off the plated carried at a dangerously tilted angle by the waitress. One of my friends ordered a bottle of wine and was asked if she wanted it chilled. When she said yes, it arrived a bucket of tepid water - it was supposed to be ice but it had clearly melted - which was plonked down in the middle of our table with the water liberally splashed across all of us. By the time we emerged, my opinion hadn't changed and my friends vowed never to go there again.Someone really needs to give the staff a course in basic customer service because the things wrong with the place are really easy to fix. At the moment you get the distinct impression that they're only interested in getting your money off you and customers are considered an inconvenience, rather than a potential source of good custom.

Dogma LoverSeptember 25th 2009.

Oh, burger off, pedant! Sorry, that should read, hamburger off, pedant!

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2009.

possible the worst/most expensive for what you actually get for your money place to eat in liverpool city centre? we certainly left the place less than impressed on our visit. we complained to GBK and got offered a free return trip... even that couldnt persuade us to go back.

Mike HomfraySeptember 25th 2009.

The best burger place by a long way is Eddie Rocket's in Bold Street. Dinomat, next door to GBK, is similarly mediocre

Burger off the lot of ya!September 25th 2009.

Oh for god's sake what do people expect? All these places are just feeding troughs. Go to any place with the name Burger in it and 9 times out of ten it will be unsatisfying crap. Its a bit of flattened minced meat in a bap and some chips. It is always going to be overpriced for what it is or it is the reclaimed rubbish from the big chains. Go to any burger place and you are asking to be ripped off. You may as well just get one off the street stalls. Bring back a Matts Pure on every corner. I miss the smell along church street.

KatieSeptember 25th 2009.

a little unfair, ive been loads and im a member of their 'crave gbk gang' and always get nice service i like their laidbackness not stuffy like some other joints. got an email today 2 burgers and a fries for a tenner, i am majorly happy. ye theres a lot of kids, my cousin works as a waitress since they opened but there supposedly dead nice and that

always hungry...September 25th 2009.

Overpriced. I ended up paying around 40 odd quid for 2 'burgers' and 2 drinks.....nothing spectacular...you want an'awsome' buger don't go here!!

jeanettedavSeptember 25th 2009.

This was exactly the same thing that happened to us. How are you supposed to know you order at the counter if they don't tell you! I went not long after it first opened and I'm not in a rush to go back....

Greasy HansSeptember 25th 2009.

They're not "burgers", they're hamburgers, named after the city credited with their invention.

In your dreamsSeptember 25th 2009.

There's always an excuse, like they were short staffed that day or something. It's totally managements fault for not training them properly. Why don't they say: "No one has turned up today for work, and it's going to be slow and messy. So we'll charge you less." Can you imagine?

Burger OffSeptember 25th 2009.

Oh nursey, what would I do without you? Let's forget about burgers and play hot dog in the bun before matron walks in.

PaulSeptember 25th 2009.

We went soon after they opened, at a time when they had more staff than customers, still had dirty tables, slow service. Okay food but not good enough to get me there again while they have minimum wage untrained staff.

Sandra PSeptember 25th 2009.

Why is it unfair if the service was crap?

DigSeptember 25th 2009.

The food in the pictures looks quite simple and pathetic. I think Trading Standards should be called in to investigate whether having 'Gourmet' in the name of the restaurant is illegal.

LongLiveMcDsSeptember 25th 2009.

We went here after a film at the Odeon. It ruined what had been a pleasant evening. We vowed never to return to this badly run over-priced excuse of an eaterie. Sorry, but that's our verdict. Wish it wasn't as the hype and the name generated Great Expectations. Instead we got Great disappointment. We could have saved money and grabbed a predictable McD

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2009.

Dinomat is actually dreadful. Went there a few weeks ago. Nice looking place but I felt utterly ripped off when I ordered a pork stew and they'd tipped a tin of baked beans in it. and it was £10. I will not be going back.

Ya can still burger offSeptember 25th 2009.

I'm back, look at the pictures and then look at the prices keep doing it...just look at what is actually on those plates for that price...LOOK! You want to pay that amount of money for that? Go on have another look. Ok I'll stop, I am in danger of hyperventilating.

Sandra PSeptember 25th 2009.

£5.95 I think is outrageous for a bland burger and fries on a kids menu.

Len TillsSeptember 25th 2009.

Dig, you are looking at the models in the pictures from fashion week. It's probably the pic of Soapy Dahl that confused you, i know you like a little dip.

NurseSeptember 25th 2009.

I know, it's an absolute cheek. There, lie down and take some big breaths

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