WHAT a year it has been since ToM last tasted Honest Burgers’ cheese-led February special. Little could we imagine when we tucked into The Fondue, ‘next best thing to an alpine skiing trip’, that 12 months later a pandemic-struck globe would be off piste to tourist wannabes and HB on Bridge Street, a welcome addition to the city’s culinary scene, would be limited to takeaways.
Based outside Greater Manchester with no chance of the returning Fondue showing up molten on our doorstep, our only option was the menu kit – £20 for a twin pack of their classic Honest beef patties, two buns and all the accoutrements. Prime among these was a tub of five Alpine cheeses associated with high altitude communal oozefests.
The Comté, Beaufort, Vacherin Fribourgeois, Abondance and Emmental come courtesy of London-based Swiss cheesemonger Herve Mons. You might have chanced upon his enticing outlet at Borough Market.
The rest of the Fondue burger combo consists of garlic and white wine, the cheese dolloped onto the patty with crispy pancetta, white wine onions, rocket and pickles, all neatly packaged. Unlike the £14 a head ready-prepared version it doesn’t come with the brand’s signature rosemary salted chips. We substituted our own sweet potato wedges with the rosemary salt they included as an extra.
Our only other contribution was some rocket topping. The assembly of the dish was swift and easy. Only slight worry was the wine and cheese in the pan for the fondue element would frazzle. Fortunately just a stiff scouring was required afterwards.
Did it replicate the restaurant version? Definitely. A tribute to some cannily sourced ingredients, notably the patties created in Honest’s own butchery from chuck and rib cap (the fatty bit that’s skimmed off a ribeye steak). As it should be, that beef is chopped not minced, allowing this home chef to cook it pinker than normal for extra flavour.
We were hoping the snow would linger as a suitable backdrop to The Fondue. Fat chance. Still there’s a further couple of February weeks to grab this seasonal special in whatever form (a four burger DIY kit (pictured) is just £30, making it a perfect family bargain.
Honest Burgers 36 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BT. 0161 359 4039. Buy The Fondue DIY kit HERE. Nationwide any day delivery via DPD is £6. Deliveroo and Uber Eats will deliver standard burger range plus chips in the Manchester branch catchment area. Plus there’s click and collect.