Torquay’s newest burger bar promises honest and tasty food with a ‘Caribbean twist’. But does it deliver? Collette Dyson finds out…
Last week we were kindly invited by The Fat Cow Burger Bar in Torquay to sample a complimentary burger or two from their extensive menu. Summer had very much arrived at the English Riviera and the promise of gourmet burgers with Caribbean flare was too tempting to miss out on. So, intrigued to find out more, we paid them a visit on a sunny Thursday evening.
Where is Fat Cow Burger Bar?
You’ll find The Fat Cow smack-bang in the hustle and bustle of Torquay’s busy harbourside. The building has a real urban vibe to it and there are plenty of alfresco tables, should you wish to soak up the sun outside.
What is it?
It’s a family run independent burger restaurant, serving hand-crafted burgers which range from ‘full-on beef meatiness’ to vegan dishes with a twist.
Who’s it for?
The Fat Cow is for anyone who enjoys gourmet burgers and laidback dining.
Lunch and early evening bookings seem to be popular with families and there were certainly a few little ones enjoying dinner when we arrived on Thursday. With the owners having a young family themselves, their enthusiasm when serving children’s meals was nice to see and we think it would be a great location for anyone uncertain as to where to take the kids out for a meal. Of course, The Fat Cow also specialize in Carribean cocktails, so there’s plenty on offer for adults too.
The Fat Cow treads a careful line between trendy and casual. Reggae music sets the scene as you enter the downstairs restaurant & bar area, where you’re met with high tables and stools set into wood-clad booths as well as a vibrant, generously stocked bar. Upstairs, the restaurant offers a more familiar style of dining, with the walls painted in greys and blues, donning lots of multicoloured artwork.
The Fat Cow prides itself on using locally sourced and sustainable produce from Dartmoor farms, almost exclusively serving Dartmoor beef in its burgers. You can also choose from chicken, smoked mackerel, vegetarian or vegan patties and there’s guaranteed to be something on the burger menu that takes your fancy. It’s great to see Fat Cow catering to the vegetarian/vegan market and having the option of gluten free buns is a nice change.
Caribbean flavours and spices are high on the agenda and you can expect snacks like Jerk’d olives and Cajun halloumi fries with jerk mayo (not forgetting the many rum cocktails on offer to wash it all down).
On the night, my partner chose to have The Fat Cow Burger: A Beef patty with streaky bacon, Swiss cheese, avocado, onion ketchup, Fat Cow relish, mustard, lettuce, tomato, red onion & pickles (£7.95). He also ordered a side of West Indian Onion Bhajis with sour coconut cream (£1.95).
Apparently, the burger was tasty. It did come served in a brioche bun, which may or may not be to your liking. I personally find the sweet bread a nice change but my partner is more ‘team burger bap’. Nevertheless, he ate it without complaint. Meanwhile, the onion bhajis were very generously sized. They were crisp and tasty – if a little dense – and the mild coconut cream made a pleasant change to the usual yoghurt dressings.
Keen to try their veggie options, I chose The Rastaman: Panko fried Jamaican jambalaya patty, Cajun halloumi, avocado, jerk mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion & pickles (£8.95) as well as a side order of Cajun halloumi fries with jerk mayo (£3.95).
I really enjoyed my burger. I’m not a vegetarian but I choose to eat the veggie option quite regularly. The burger had some nice textures and flavours, whilst not being too spicy, and the Cajun halloumi fries were crispy on the outside and soft in the center. Both went well with a softly spiced jerk mayo.
When we visited on a sunny July evening the restaurant was fairly busy and the staff were kept on their toes. Our waitress was helpful, especially when making our choices, and families were made to feel welcome (which makes for a better dining experience for Mums and Dads).
So, does Fat Cow deliver on their promise of tasty food with a Carribean twist? Well, if you’re a diehard jerk chicken fan, you may find their seasonings a little on the mild side and I’m not entirely convinced that the restaurant has captured all of the flavours of the Caribbean just yet. That being said, our meal was delicious and they certainly offer a unique twist on standard burgers. The service was warm and very welcoming, and the atmosphere was really laid back. Like I said, there’s plenty on the menu to take your fancy and if burgers are your thing you really ought to pop in and give this place a try! Overall, we think that The Fat Cow is a great addition to Torquay and well worth a visit next time you’re in the English Riviera and on the lookout for a bite to eat.