RESTAURANT REVIEW | Office | Northern Quarter

August 14, 2012

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News Manc’s Elliot Delton checks out Manchester’s latest ‘pop-up’ burger offering.

Office, Tib Street

In case you somehow haven’t noticed, Manchester is experiencing something of a burger epiphany.

Each month seems to mark the opening of another meat-loving venue offering American-styled, in your face, juices down your arm, carnivorous delights.

The new kid on the burger scene is Office. Located on Tib Street in the heart of the Northern Quarter the venue offers something I don’t think I’ve come across before in 6 years of reviewing restaurants: sharing your dining experience with actual office workers.

Office head honcho and former accountant Rylan Norwood had always dreamt of setting up a burger restaurant after numerous trips to California to experience the famous SoCal ‘meat scene’. In 2011 the struggling Tib Street accountancy firm for which he worked was forced to lay off nearly 50% of its staff, resulting in a half-empty office space. Norwood seized his opportunity, rented the dead space from his former employers and the result is a strange hybrid of steak juice, staplers, cocktails and spreadsheets.

“It’s odd, yeah, but it somehow it seems to f**king work” muses Norwood, who came over for a quick chat between flipping patties.

“Lunch service can feel quite strange as you’re sharing your dining experience with suited professionals, but for dinner we can roll away all the office equipment and it feels like any other restaurant. Albeit with a few filing cabinets and flip-charts dotted around the place”, he says with a cheeky grin.

Wanting to avoid the queues that snake down the office stairs and out on to the street during the packed dinner service, my companion and I come for lunch.

Being seated practically on top of a guy who is clearly typing on to a spreadsheet is a very odd experience at first, but you soon get used to it and we were quickly absorbed in the abrasive menu.

Despite the early hour we opt for a couple of cocktails to kick things off.

Riding The Cotton Pony is a new twist on the classic Bloody Mary with  Jagermeister replacing the vodka. It’s not until the drink arrives at my table with a fake tampon hanging over the side of the glass that I realise the significance of the drink’s name. I’m sure the accountant next to me is giggling.

My companion orders a Manchester: a surprisingly sophisticated Vimto and vodka-based cocktail supposedly with an addition of a millilitre of Manchester drizzle collected in a shot glass once used in the Hacienda. Of course, it’s amusingly served in an old Vimto bottle.

Food time.

I opt for the wonderfully monikered Triple F*cked Pig Burger. Destined to be a pulled pork classic, the burger is created from pork that is slowly cooked for over 48 hours before being pulled in three different directions and teased in to a burger shape.

Norwood informs me that one of the accountants in the office always does the final vertical pork pull, but the glint in his eye makes me wonder.

What sets my burger apart is the soon to be famous Office ‘bitchtits brioche bun’ (lovingly nicknamed by the staff) which embraces each meat patty. Made from 70% classic brioche dough and 30% doughnut mixture it adds a massive sweetness to the burger that just manages to stay the right side of sickly.

Triple F*cking Pig Burger with ‘Slut Slaw’

I accompany my burger with Winehouse Fries. Served in a kitsch, plastic upside-down beehive hair basket is a mound of quadruple cooked American-style fries smothered in vodka-based chilli sauce. Offensive? Possibly. Delicious? Certainly.

My dining partner goes for the house classic: Motherf*cking Winning Burger. The menu describes this meal far better than I could ever dream of doing: “We fist a portion of bone marrow in to 1lb of dirty cow goodness and wank the entire lot on to a GHETTO retro-50s grill plate before climaxing it on to classic paper wrapping.”

She informs me that it’s good, but the sheer size of the burger makes it incredibly difficult to eat. I try and tell her that that’s half the point, but at this stage she’s had too much Manchester cocktail to seemingly care.

Office’s house classic: the Motherf*cking Winning Burger

We also get some Slut Slaw (delicious Asian-style slaw apparently made by the ‘kitchen slut’) and the rather mysterious Man Mayo (we didn’t ask) to share.

The entire dining experience is punctuated with a variety of on the house pulled pork amuse-bouches which are thrown down unannounced to the table. My favourite was undoubtedly the pulled pork skittles: tiny globules of pulled pork somehow branded with a minute ‘PP’ and served in actual Skittles wrapper, although it has been defaced with a picture of two pigs having sex (natch).

On the way out an accountant high-fives me before reaching over for some of my left-over fries. Manchester has a new burger king contender. Have it their way.

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Office, Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1LG

Twitter enquiries only: @OfficeBurger

Rating: 8.3/10
Food: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Decor: 10/10

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