29 October 2013
Sunday afternoon, I wanted a burger (hungover) and I wanted to go to Five Guys. But I didn't want to queue an hour outside (hungover, remember) for what looked through the window like a regular Burger King with its counter queuing, bright lighting and plastic seating. So Bill's was Plan B. There was also a queue here but a more manageable 15 minutes and at the end of it was the promise of a seat, table service and unhurried hangover recovery time. OK, Bill's is a chain, so whilst it tries hard to have a homey, rustic vibe it is the same homey, rustic vibe you get in every other Bill's but that homey, rustic vibe works well and feels a bit different to many cookie-cutter chains. Produce lines the walls, ceiling to floor. Do they ever sell any of it or does it all go quietly out-of-date as time passes? It's decoration rather than retail, surely, but it succeeds in giving the place a “we care about ingredients” air. I could pretend I read the menu in detail but I spotted the burger immediately and looked no further. I would be willing to bet there is a chicken ceasar salad, a hummus wrap, and a lasagne on there somewhere. The burger was good: properly cooked, juicy enough, tasty enough, stayed in the bun etc but I've had so many good burgers since the great burger revolution that the only burgers that stand out for me now are crap burgers (and this wasn't one of those). Fries on the side were equally good and the coca-cola came in bottles, hurrah. The Eton mess pudding was a bit too creamy and needed more fruit and meringue so a run-of-the-mill pud like sticky toffee or chocolate brownie might have been a better choice. Service is a bit manic but very friendly and willing and happy to be interrupted mid-rush to another table. Bill's may be a bit predictable but when you're hungover and need a sure-fire thing, there's no shame in Bill's being Plan A.