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Food review: Elephant at the Market



The burger revolution started about five years ago with the arrival of Byron, Five Guys and Dirty Burger all heralding the UK as the new hub of the beef patty.

This remarkable transformation from when burgers were nothing more than slab of processed meat, maybe some plastic cheese in a limp and grease sponging bun are long gone.

Instead the list of combinations that burger lovers can sample is pretty much endless. Even in Newbury the choice of where people can get their mouths round a piece minced beef in brioche is slowing growing with the opening of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen teasingly close.

The Elephant at the Market next to the Corn Exchange with its bedrooms sits where the Queen's Head once occupied. It's billed as a home-from-home experience with simple but excellent in everything that they do.

Such was the excitement about getting my hands on a beef and pulled pork burger that I even offered to write down my order in shorthand on the waiter’s notepad to speed up the cooking process. In my mind a succulent beef and pulled pork topped affair were just yards away from me in the kitchen waiting to be sizzled and bbq sauced, all ready to be brought together for a carb-loading feast.

Given the fact that pulled pork was pretty much the ‘gin’ of 2015, being the fashionable item to have on the dining table that year, I was pretty confident that the Elephant at the Market team could succeed.

Unfortunately, the burger ended up being a bit too similar to 2015 for my liking in that it could have been cooked then and brought as much as upset as the death of Cilla Black, which also happened in that year.

Within seconds of the dish arriving it had transformed itself from a beacon of fusion and the bringing together of two opposing meat families akin to Romeo and Juliette, to that same questioning you go through when your Tinder date doesn’t show any likeness at all to their profile picture. Do you just smash open the vodka bottle and make the most of it? Or say something and hope that it doesn’t kick off with the vodka being smashed towards you in a fit of one-way lustful fury? Oh the drama!!

Instead of that love and abandonment that I was hoping to experience; I was greeted by the abandonment of the pulled pork. Its absence was highlighted by the small and overcooked beef patty that was staring back at me akin to when you cook for your friend and their plus one, but only the friend turns up, leaving that spare chair and plate sitting awkwardly empty.

Being an Elephant at the Market first-timer I was desperate to try and enjoy what was left for me. The fries were a good few minutes away from that fast-food crispy perfection, and instead it felt like the chips you get that have been delivered in the polystyrene carton, just that little bit wet.

Despite those initial first impressions, I have been back there for drinks. Enjoying chilling in the booths while listening to the over-excited work party chanting Christmas anthems.


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