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So gooey, so good, it's almost illegal; TASTE TESTJAMIE MCLOUGHLIN visits Almost Famous.


IS IT a 'thing' these days? Is it just way too square to have a sign outside your restaurant? A neon logo of a dribbling cheeseburger on angelic wings is the only clue to Parr Street passers-by on a drizzly November evening that you've found Almost Famous, one of the city's newest urban burger bars. Perhaps when it's fully famous that patty and bun in full flight will be as iconic as a certain part of golden arches, but in this fledgling phase, the name of the place alongside it wouldn't go amiss as my partner and I had to double-back when we realised we'd walked straight past the place. Then again, maybe I'm the one who's just way too square.

To be fair, the owners really needn't worry as Almost Famous was doing brisk business when we entered. So brisk that I wasn't sure they had room for the two of us.

Our friendly host had no such worries and sat us down in a comfy corner, telling us the only thing we had to leave our seats for was the call of nature and they would look after everything else.

The urban appeal of the menu (it resembles a chatline ad from a 1987 edition of Just Seventeen, lots of Dymo tape headings and American Typewriter fonts - it's almost worth framing, so much thought has gone into it) is reflected in the bare grey walls broken up with graffiti art and ironic neon signs. For all its coolness, it's also surprisingly cosy. There's also a roll of kitchen towel in the middle of each table, suggesting things were about to get messy.

Burgers and booze are the selling point here and there's no slack in the choice either. A playful array of cocktails (mostly PS7.50), range from the Mallow Dip (includes vodka, lemon, pineapple and toasted marshmallow stock, among other ingredients) and the Pisco Kid (includes bubblegum syrup) to the Breakast in Tennessee (inludes banana pancake liqueur), certainly stamps some individuality on the place.

Since I had to be in a fit state to remember our dining experience in order to write about it afterwards, I opted for the Famous Cherryade mocktail (simply cherry, apple, lemon and lemonade but sharply good) at PS3.50, while my partner, who had no such scribing concerns, decided on the Cold Turkey. A mix of Wild Turkey 81, cranberry, pineapple, lime, sarsparilla cordial and Pepsi, it resembled a Christmas pudding in a glass when it arrived and tasted good in its syrupy stickiness, if a little too pricey for what it was.

Much like the cocktails, the burgers themselves are a mixture of the traditional patties with a leftfield filling or two chucked in for curiosity value.

The other half went for the Down & Out (in Beverley Hills) burger (PS9), with two different cheeses, mustard, ketchup, onions and a hotdog melt, a sauce consisting of diced sausage.

The Ballpark Fries (PS4.50) which came with them were covered in the same hotdog melt. It was tasty - and messy - so the kitchen roll came in handy, but by the end of it he was rather full and incredibly thirsty.

I'll admit, it was the addition of Frazzles which drew me to the River Phoenix burger (PS9) which also included cheese, streaky bacon, shredded fried onion, red chillies and a mixture of sauces. The maize-based snack gave the whole affair a pleasing crunch as I sank my teeth into it and although I was worried the chillies would overwhelm every other flavour, they were more of a background sensation while every ingredient got its chance to stand out. All burgers are served on brioche buns which look deceivingly small when they arrive but are so packed with savoury treats, anything bigger would be sheer gluttony.

Fries aren't served as standard alongside the burgers and have to be ordered separately from a selection of seven different kinds (one type, Magic Waffle fries, come with popping candy).

I decided on the Bacon Bacon with its double whammy of bacon mayonnaise and bacon bits which were gooey but uncommonly good.

The dessert menu is limited to a choice of three. The online menu says they're PS6 each, there was no price given on our table menu but our receipt had them at PS5 each - so it could be worth checking the price with the waiter if you're on a set budget.

I went for the deservedly named Wowbun. It's a sugar dusted cinnamon bun slathered in whipped cream and salted caramel sauce. Nestling beneath is a slab of choclate truffle shot through with cereal pieces.

My partner had the Chronicles of Banarnia, a cheesecake in a jar which included caramelised banana, salted caramel ice cream, salted caramel drizzle, then more banana.

The presence of fresh fruit made it feel almost light and healthy after the excesses that went before and was a great way to end the meal.

This is fabulous, filthy food and ideal for a spur-of-the-moment treat while you're out and about. With a final bill of PS50 for the two of us, it's not a bank breaker but do be aware it's definitely one for the carnivore who enjoys a rich diet.

And, oh yes, just so we're sure on this. Almost Famous is right next to The Brink - which does have a sign.

Food facts ? Where shall we meet: Almost .Famous, 11-13 Parr Street, city centre (next to the Brink and opposite Santa Chupitos). Please be aware you can't book tables in advance What's the offer: An imagi-.native mix of burgers and booze, including cocktails with candy and alcoholic milkshakes How's the service: Excellent. .Host shows you to your table and our waiter Christian took brilliant care of us without being intrusive On the pull? As well as the .imaginative stuff, you can also enjoy a wine or lager Powder rooms: Fine for .purpose


FAB, FILTHY FOOD: Almost Famous, above, its Down & Out (in Beverley Hills) burger, above left, and the Wowbun dessert, right | |
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 15, 2015
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