Byron Hamburgers, Princesshay, Exeter.

It was now a few months ago that I saw a tweet somewhere in the twitter-sphere that said Byron Hamburgers were arriving in Exeter.  And what was the first thought I had?  BYRON ARE COMING TO EXETER!   So I was quite happy about this, but I had a few reservations given we already have a number of very nice burger restaurants in Exeter already.

First impressions of the restaurant was one that it had been styled by someone who really liked tiles, but the allusion to ‘vintage’ comes out in the design of the signage and other small tweaks throughout the restaurant.  The other thing I notice is that the staff are very youthful.  Young attractive things (I felt quite old!) moving around the vast space caring for a vast amount of covers, all within the eye-line of the open plan kitchen where the meaty symphony is conducted by the three grill chefs, masters of their corner of this well designed interior.  Throughout our visit we were served by Sam and Luke who made us feel nothing but comfortable.  The service throughout was friendly, chatty and very prompt and I had to mention these guys by name as one of the things that I can take away from the whole experience was that the service was something else.

Byron became synonymous with the Dirty Gourmet revolution that took off in the early noughties.  Gourmet Burger Kitchen started in 2001 and from there Byron was one of the London based spawns which have gradually spread across the country. They’ve been doing this for a while, and now they’re in Exeter with a prime spot in Princesshay and a chance to bring in the punters that La Tasca didn’t. Sorry La Tasca, but corporate tapas has had its day.  The restaurant chain has quite a following in London, so it will be interesting to see if they can repeat this in Exeter.

Byron Hamburgers today is quite different from the Byron Hamburgers that was founded by Tom Byng back in 2007, but they are strongly tied to their original ethos which is presented in this rather smooth video  and in little glossy pamphlets on each table in the restaurant.  Small menu, proper hamburgers, no frills and simplicity seem to be the way Byron roll.  As Tom Byng writes “We source good beef from Scotland. We mince it fresh and cook it medium so it’s pink, juicy and succulent. We place it in a soft, squishy bun with minimum fuss and fanfare. We serve it with a smile in a comfortable environment.”
So we arrived, we were greeted, we were seated, standard stuff.  The craft beer menu was good, I managed to persuade myself to have a can of Brew Dog Pale Ale which had taken up to this point as the whole concept of ‘Ale In A Can’ was one concept that has, up to now, taken me a while to get my head around.  Ignore the fact it is in a can, and you have a very good Ale which I savoured and am now preparing to source on-line because it was very drinkable.

There was a certain amount of umming, humming, eenying and mineying when it came to choosing the burger even though the menu isn’t expansive, but because my appetite hasn’t really recovered since last week’s visit from Mr Stomach Virus, I stuck to The Byron.  Cheese, Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, Red Onion in a soft bun (no brioche here…) and a side of Double Fried Chips.  The other side of the table had the same thing, except with French fries which I ate most of.

The Byron is a simple burger, and it was cooked well.  With a similar taste to a burger you could pick up at The Hub Box for instance, the soft bun was lighter than I had imagined it to be with a good taste.  Using Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef, it is ground and made on site in to 6oz patties.  Then cooked to medium, whacked in a bun with the garnish and off it goes.  It took about 10 minutes from order to arrival so there wasn’t much waiting around, but just enough that we were able to start to count the cows.  If you do visit, you will see what I mean.  We managed to squeeze in a pudding in the form of a warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream, which was simply lovely and rounded off with coffee.

Exeter now has four burger restaurants, but each one has its very own distinct personality.  Byron brings a polished hip image with an ethos that states that it brings good beef from Scotland (Agree. Beef tasted very nice) minced fresh and cooked medium so its pink, juicy and succulent (Agree.  Both burgers were pink and juicey) in a squishy bun (Agree. Bun was particularly squishy) and served in a comfortable environment (Agree. The seats were very comfortable).  Whether you choose from one of the independent restaurants, or decide to do a Byron, you won’t be disappointed.

Eating Exeter were guests of Byron Hamburgers.


26 Bedford Street
EX1 1GJ 

Telephone: 01392 433340
Twitter: @byronhamburgers

Byron Burgers on Urbanspoon

3 thoughts on “Byron Hamburgers, Princesshay, Exeter.

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