If you don’t take a trip to Sudbury to eat these burgers you are out of your mind. We’ve eaten at all the London burger joints- you know, the ones that carry on as if they have re-invented the wheel with their self aggrandising statements about their wonderful burgers. Well we have news for Dirty Burger, Shakeshack and Byrons- Shakes ‘n Baps has just blown you out of the water.
Not in the most picturesque of locations with its frontage facing the Sudbury ring road and roundabout, nonetheless, the restaurant is worth a minutes walk from the centre of town and it is conveniently near the car parks, the town play park and the other shops on King St. Furnished with stripped wood tables, chairs set in a simple space; a clean bathroom with room to change babies; plenty of highchairs and a kids menu with a full meal+drink for only £4, this would make a great place to take children, for kids get togethers and post exam celebrations. If my children were at the prom age, I’d be booking them in pre event to line their stomachs. Books, newspapers and games are piled onto the window sill for their customers and on this sunny and warm day, we were happy to linger here.
Shakes ‘n Baps do host regular daytime and evening promotions alongside their regular menu – World Cup Specials with a burger+fried+beer for £6 (they are also licensed); Ben Smith, the talented local guitarist comes and plays and they offer special refunds to anybody who completes one of several eating challenges. Customers are asked to suggest and vote on ideas for burgers- a recent one raised funds for local charity festival ‘Leestock’ held in Long Melford. Steaks and hot dogs are on the menu too in various combinations- with blue cheese, chile, with bacon and regular cheese although I imagine you could ask for an off menu combination of add-ons and they’d do it.
One of the few local places to be found serving their burgers in Brioche buns, we ordered the current special, the ‘Sweet Cheeks’ a 6oz burger topped with BBQ pulled pig cheeks, caramelised onions and beetroot slaw accompanied by giant onion rings and proper fries after seeing it on Twitter and Facebook. The vegetarian had the Halloumi and mushroom burger with fries; both came with pickles, tomato and lettuce.
This burger was eye-rollingly good with the richness of slowly cooked down pork cheeks, mollified by a sharp, Balsamic rich slip of onions served on top of the meat and covered with just the right amount of cheese- We;ve had too many burgers served with too heavy a blanket of it which subsumes the flavour but not here. The beetroot slaw is a genius idea-well as being brilliantly neon, it had a light and sweet taste with the deeper, earthier undertones of the beet -a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the pork and onions, but not overkill. The fries have a fabulous roughed up surface leaving them extra crunchy, even after they had been salted. Usually even the best fries collapse into soft potato sticks when you add the salt but these were still snap-sharp ten minutes after we received them. You can also choose hand cut fat chips but we craved the crunchier skinny versions.
The Halloumi in the Vegetarian burger was very well prepared, salty, crunchy on the outside and with that fabulous squeaky texture it should retain, even after frying. The Vegetarian normally doesn’t like flat mushrooms in burgers because he finds their texture too ‘wodgy’ but this one passed his high standards. He could also have had another option currently being trialled- 2 Quorn fillets fried in a home mixed Cajun breadcrumb coating. Onion rings came in a super crispy batter but retained their softness inside- no bitterness, no greasy coating forming inside as they cooled. They were still good cold because it took us a LONG time to work through our meal as it was huge.
Vegetarian man ordered a Vanilla Malt Shake from the menu of 25 different flavours, many of them inspired by popular candies. Made with fresh milk, it was served in a classic covered sippy pot and seemed a popular take out choice, especially with kids coming from the park and skate park over the road. Some desserts are also offered alongside home made fudge. Other drinks? Lager, cider, wine, all manner of soft drinks plus tea and fresh cafetieres of coffee.
We hope the people of Suffolk support this really really good little place. The prices are affordable (especially the special offers), the people are lovely and we need a place to eat like Shakes n Baps- it prepares fresh food, doesn’t have a ridiculously large menu (which tends to suggest that the food isn’t cooked from scratch) , the chef understands what is fashionable in food and prepares something other than jacket potatoes and sandwiches which every other place in Sudbury seems to serve (boring). We shall be back to try the hot dogs next.