I was actually informed about Atomic Burger from fellow Geek Power blogger, Darrell, as it is one of his regular haunts. After much hype concerning the theme, his gushing over the quality of the food, and a review he made for our friends at Thoroughly Nice Burgers a while back, I HAD to check it out while I was in town.
Sandwiched in between the rows of unassuming shops along a bustling high street in Bristol is the bombastic-looking Atomic Burger restaurant. With it’s tacky looking colourful sign, and yellow comic-book style lettering in the window, and groups of people entering at a time, it sticks out like a sore thumb, yet smells so heavenly before you’ve even reached the door, so you know that this isn’t your usual burger joint.
Upon entering the place, you are bombarded with tons of 70’s and 80’s memorabilia, various models of characters in cartoons and films from yesteryear are strung high up on the ceiling and on shelving, and the walls adorned with cartoon, video games nostalgia, comic book covers and comic panes etc. It’s all here, from Batman to Star Wars, Space Invaders to Timmy Mallett’s Mallet, He-Man to Gordon The Gopher, and all the while, a large TV in the corner playing songs and small sound bites and trailers from back in the day. It’s all very pleasing to the senses, but I digress, the more important matter of ‘The Burger’ itself is at hand!
Everything on the menu is suitably themed to a pop culture character to fit the way particular burgers are decked out. For example, the most plain regular burger was the ‘Forrest Gump‘, whilst others like the McLovin (from the Superbad movie) were stacked with double burger patties, double cheeses etc. I found that a good middle ground was the Dukes of Hazzard’s Daisy Dukes burger, would come with bacon, American cheese, onions, and some BBQ sauce, and a side of skin-on fries, but sadly no little blue denim shorts.
I have to say that from ordering, the food didn’t come out for about 30 minutes which seemed like a pretty long wait considering the place didn’t feel too busy at the time, however when the food did come out, it was quite the sight, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. The beef in the middle looked satisfyingly thick, although not as big as I would have preferred. It was topped with a dollop of bbq sauce, onions, lettuce, some gooey (presumably Gouda) cheese, a couple rashers of streaky bacon and a lightly toasted white bun. The fries were nicely presented in a little steel bowl to the side of the burger.
Taking my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised with how well seasoned and substantial it tasted and felt in the mouth. The crispiness of the toasted bun, and the crispy and savoury streaky bacon complimented the sharpness of the cheese and tenderness of the beef mince, as it fell apart in the mouth with ease. Speaking of the meat, the texture from biting in felt just right, however it was slightly drier and less pink than I would have liked, where it should be noted that burgers are served medium as standard. The seasoning in the meat is quite strong, where you can immediately taste the ginger and pepper, which complimented the sweet tanginess of the BBQ sauce nicely, and leaves you with a fresh sensation at the very tip of your nasal cavity when drawing breath. The bacon was only very slightly smoked, but cooked to perfection. It has a satisfyingly crispy texture and wasn’t too salty, but just right, and very, very moreish. The skin-on fries were also cooked to perfection, and were scrumptiously crisp on the outside, with a sliver of fluffy potato on the inside. They were unseasoned, medium cut, and didn’t have a hint of oil or grease, but tasted very good.
I also had an opportunity to sample a bit of coleslaw, which my wife had as a side, and was suitably impressed. Two things I usually find overwhelming with ‘slaw, especially of the packaged kind is over powered seasoning, and thick sloppy mayonnaise, both of which are undesirable, and thankfully not the case here. Both respective areas were light, and were not overly sweet or bitter, but was really tasty with the right crunch to the texture. There was a little sweetness mainly from the carrot with just the right balance of savoury which was a joy to consume. The whole thing tasted homemade and I was left wanting more!
Overall I quite enjoyed Atomic Burger, and would love the opportunity to try out the many other zany burger combinations they had on offer. The place does accommodate for groups very well, so I would approve this place as a great ‘meat-up’ location, especially as there are so many combinations to try on the menu, and pubs closeby to continue onto afterwards. As mentioned within the review, I personally would have liked my meat pinker on the inside, and for it to be bigger and more juicier, however it was all seasoned very well, and left me with a memorable, and lasting impression. Noteworthy mentions must be made for the preparation of the bacon, coleslaw and fries, which were prepared and cooked to perfection.
If you are a resident of Bristol, have a love of the geekery of pre-80’s pop culture and especially in the mood for a good burger, then you have a duty to yourself to at least check out Atomic Burger, which not only provides you with a visually pleasing interior, but possibly one of the best burgers you’re likely to try along this unassuming ho-humming high street. Enjoy!
Final Verdict: 7/10 – Great composition of burger, and very well seasoned, however a little drier than I would have liked. Service in general was a little slow, but staff were very friendly and accommodating. Sides were fantastic!