The Hoop & Grapes is a classic city boozer that sits at 80 Farringdon Street, just off Holborn Viaduct, towards Fleet Street. Unassuming apart from the overflowing hanging baskets that adorn the entrance, the pub is actually a multi-level bar and restaurant.
Plain burger with chips £7.50.
Overall not bad, if a little uninspired. The burger came out with a pile of mixed leaves, diced mixed peppers and salad dressing, as well as standard looking chips. There was also a worryingly orange-looking 'burger sauce' on the side, glowing radioactively.
|A Smithfield Sizzler burger, and some radioactive sauce...|
Nada. This was a beef patty on a bed of chopped iceburg lettuce. Job done. Or so you'd think, however with addition of the radio-active orange sauce, the salad turned out to be surprisingly good! The sauce was similar to the McDonalds Big Mac thousand island dressing, and when I asked at the bar afterwards what it contained I was surprised to hear it was an HP sauce - the barman didn't know its name, but I'll be on the look out as it is not too shabby as bottled sauces go.
Terrible. This was a beef patty at it's worst. Labelled The Smithfield Sizzler, this was an (allegedy) hand-made beef patty, but the burger was the grey, dull, rubbery consistency of an over-seasoned, frozen supermarket patty. In fact, this meat was so bad my camera refused to take a picture of the cut through, and crashed mid-pic so you're stuck with the image below. Believe me, you're not missing anything.
Actually quite good. As it was delivered I realised it was ciabatta. "Ciabatta", I said to myself, "why spoil a burger with shit bread?", however, this seemed to be a clever mixture of ciabatta and sour dough (not to mention it was fresh), which meant the bread was dense, yet soft and yeilding. A nice surprise.
Chips were your bog standard pub chips, not offensive, but instantly forgettable. Salad was ok, a bit dry and the dressing was welcome. The burger sauce tasted much better than it looked, in spite being from a bottle.
Overall rating: 4.5/10
A disappointing show from the alliteratively named Smithfield Sizzler, this was more like the Smithfield Shocker. Points gained only for sauce (bottled), bun (a surprise win), and chips (not offensive). Use this place to booze, as they have Asahi on tap, but avoid the burger like dubiously-origined ladies of the night.