Risen from the Ashes
Almost Famous is loud, proud and the food’s BIG. Our writer went down fighting……!
Review by Catherine Ferguson
I’ve been living in Manchester for almost five years and I can’t believe I’d never been to Almost Famous before. It’s one of those places that people talk about. Renowned for their oversized burgers and epic fries, long before it was the done thing this side of the Atlantic Ocean, and equally famed for the lunchtime queues snaking through the streets of the Northern Quarter at their original site.
Almost Famous have quite literally risen from the ashes, after a fire in summer 2013 destroyed the High Street venue. Thankfully, nobody was injured and far from taking things lying down, they quickly whipped up a pop up bar at the Great Northern Warehouse, with a Tweet from the restaurant reading, “Sorry anyone trying to come to Almost Famous for food – we accidentally burnt the gaff down.”
Fast forward four years and Almost Famous’ original premises have been restored to their former glory and their Greater Northern site is so much more than a pop up burger bar.
Walking through the doors of Almost Famous at the Great Northern Warehouse, it’s hard to tell whether you’re in a restaurant or a nightclub. These guys are very loud and very proud as the first sign I see proudly declares, “No Fake Sh*t.”
Not only are things loud and proud, they’re also very, very big. The Other (clearly wiser) Half looked dubiously at me as I blithely ordered a burger and not one, but two sides. I can’t lie, it defeated me in the end, but I sure as dammit went down fighting. I’m still not sure of the story behind the nomenclature, but my ‘Everyone’s Got a Gun in Texas’ loaded stack with cheese, bacon, JD maple, BBQ pulled pork, Redneck BBQ, Dynamite sauce and frickles was just as filthy and dirty as it sounds – in the best possible way. Frickles, for the uninitiated, are fried pickles, they’re basically pimped up gherkins.
My companion, on the other hand, made a valiant effort, polishing off the ‘Son of a Nutcracker’ Christmas special, which was a sight to behold. I kid you not, there was a Juicy famous cheeseburger, topped with BBQ spiced sausage stuffing, buttermilk fried turkey, festive creamy slaw, bacon & cranberry jam, JD Cola BBQ sauce, brandy buttered peppercorn mayo and a cheeky little sausage roll and pig in blanket on the top. Oh, and a pot of gravy. Of course. Father Christmas himself would’ve been impressed coming down the chimney to that.
Almost Famous sure as dammit isn’t for the faint hearted. Frankly, those guys need to open a B&B for some serious postprandial napping. It’s something everyone needs to experience at least once – it’s just worth ensuring you pencil in at least 24 hours’ worth of napping to digest in peace…
Enquires: Almost Famous, Unit 2, Great Northern Warehouse, Peter Street, Manchester, M3 4EJ / 0161 2449422 / www.almostfamousburgers.com/greatnorthern.html