Review: Charlie Rocks, Byres Road

Ever since Charlie Rocks opened on Byres Road I’ve wanted to head over and see what it’s all about. Last week I finally made it to this American-style bar/restaurant and was met by a bit of a mixed bag. Read on to see what we thought.

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First impressions when you walk into this small place on Byres Road, in the heart of the West End, are great. When we turned up there were no tables free, but we were immediately approached by a friendly waitress, who invited us to take a seat at the bar and grab a beer. By the time our beers were pulled we were ushered upstairs to our table and handed the menus. The atmosphere of this place is really nice. Laid back staff, a good variety of not-too-loud music playing and a very rustic, but chic, decorative style throughout. You immediately feel comfortable and happy to be spend a couple of hours there.

The beer selection was small, but quality, with just 2 beers available on draft; Budweiser and Staropramen. Two of my personal favourites when it comes to lager so this was no disappointment. Besides this, the usual selection of affordable wines and soft drinks were also available.

A glance at the menu reveals relatively usual fare as well. I had pretty much decided in advance that I would be having a burger, so was thrilled to find a “burger of the day” option (see top for a picture). To start with I went for chicken goujons which came served with barbecue sauce, my co-diner opting for a fairly basic vegetable soup. The perfectly cooked, crispy, succulent goujons, in hindsight, were the highlight of the meal. The BBQ sauce a tad basic (probably straight out of a bottle) but a tasty enough addition.

Charlie Rocks chicken goujons.

The Chicken Goujons

Perhaps that BBQ sauce would have been put to better use on the star of the show, my burger of the day – a beef and black pudding monster served with fries and coleslaw. The reason I say this is that the darn thing was just so dry. It came with literally no embellishments, and when you’re eating a slab of meat the size of your fist, with an equally large patty of black pudding on top, embellishments really are what you need. The burger patty itself was a tad overcooked (or perfect if you like your meat well-done) but even if it had been slightly rarer the whole thing would still have been pretty cloying. Lashings of ketchup from the table helped things a little, and flavour wise I enjoyed it well enough, but it all just felt like a bit of a let down.

Disappointed by our main courses, we skipped dessert, instead enjoying another beer in the wonderful ambiance of the place.

Charlie Rocks is an average restaurant with a great atmosphere. If you grab the set menu you won’t pay a lot for it, but if you’re looking for a truly great burger you’re best to steer clear.

Please let us know in the comments, have you eaten in Charlie Rocks? If so, what did you think? Or do you prefer any other restaurants that serve similar fare?

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