An attraction of eating in GBK if you have young children is that you order your food at the counter and tend to be served quickly. Some branches (such as Lakeside) give out crayons and pictures to colour but generally the kids menu package here is sloppy compared to other chains. There are no free packs of pencils or activity packs here.
Some branches, like Cambridge or St Pauls in the City of London, do give out proper kids’ menus. Others, like Canary Wharf deny the existence of a kids menu across the whole chain. If you are offered the kids’ menu, the deal is £4.95 for a small burger, lentil burger or chicken goujons with small portion of chips, a drink and a Fab ice lolly. The portions are generous and I never order my own chips as I know I can have some of Ted’s instead.
However, GBK have a bizarre practice of offering the kids’ menu yet from my experience (at least six occasions over 2 years), NEVER having any of the Fab lollies available. They seem to hope you will leave without asking for the lolly but if ask for it they apologise it’s not avaiable that day and produce sloppy “ice cream” which is actually from their milk shakes or on one surreal occasion, some polo mints. I take issue that they are offer a set menu yet don’t have all items available. This has happened to me so many times I don’t believe they ever stock the lollies. Goodness knows where the polo mints came from.
The menu is less varied than Tootsies (sadly defunct chain previously owned by the same parent company) used to be. Apart from a couple of bulgar salads and felafel, there are only burgers to choose from although these do range from various combos of beef, chicken, lentil and lamb to more expensive wild boar and buffalo from the organic Laverstoke Farm.
If it’s a branch that skips the kids’ menu, you can order one of several burgers that comes in a smaller size but you won’t get the small portion of chips and it will work out more expensive even for the small burger and drink alone.
Before Ted would chew meat, I used to order him the spicy lentil burger (available in the smaller size). It’s not that spicy and we both liked it a lot. He also likes the retro ketchup bottles found on each table.
Another bone of contention for me with GBK is that unless you count milkshake they don’t really do desserts. Some branches have had small tubs of ice cream in the past (Ben and Jerry’s even) but this practice seems to have been phased out.
So apart from my reasonable lamb burger, today’s offering at GBK was disappointing. As I’m casting my mind back to previous visits, I’m starting to notice a bit of a pattern of mediochre burgers salvaged only by the fact I’m paying half price for them with vouchers. One meal I have enjoyed at GBK was the bulgar salad with chicken and coleslaw on the side but given the hit and miss nature of their branches I am left wondering whether it would be as good if I ordered it elsewhere.
My gosh…that's real horrible guacamole! It's the worse I've seen so far. It looks spoilt to me. Yes, you should have asked. But the scenery pictures look beautiful and Ted, as usual, is sooooo adorable.
Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet says
Yuck. That's the nastiest guacamole I have ever seen. I would have given it one look (and asked them what's this shit?) and sent it back in a heartbeat. If people don't start complaining the restaurants will never improve in this country, especially outside London.
Looks like Ted had a fab time though!
An Open Book says
I have been to a few branches in London and except for the one in St Pauls, I was thoroughly disappointed…like u mentioned, it was dry most of the time and service is pathetic…
deer baby says
Gosh Ted is adorable. And your pictures bring back memories of university days. I used to cycle over Parker's Piece most days. We used to eat in a place near there that was like a corridor (selling baked potatoes) so maybe it's there.
I like GBK as a rule but I've only ever eaten in the Brighton branch which has a great wall that changes colours. I always order the same thing. But Sonny doesn't like any of the burgers – even the plainest of the plain – so I hardly ever go. And I'd be most p-off if I didn't get the pudding (for them, that is). Be interesting to see where else you choose that's kid friendly.
Heavenly Housewife says
Hmmm… I actually really like GBK, but there is no doubt about it, that guacamole looks horrid. Its obviously sat around a long time. Sorry about your bad experience. Life is too short to eat bad food.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
I know… I should have said something about the guacamole. I find the service varies from branch to branch. Lakeside, Brunswick Centre and St Pauls have been pretty good whereas Canary Wharf and Westfield White City were terrible (poor English at Canary Wharf, being ignored for AGES waiting for a table at Westfield). There's not necessarily a problem with service at Cambridge but it's not the first time I've been disappointed by the food. And the fab lolly thing is very irritating.
I heart cupcakes says
That guacamole looks vile – I'd have definately taken it back (I'm a complainer!)
I've been to a few GBK's – St Pauls and Brighton are the best of the one's I've been to. The one at the Brunswick is ok but very cramped and the one at St Pauls, which is near my office is ok but the service is a bit hit and miss! I do love their milkshakes though. if you're after a good burger Byron is the best I've been to in the UK -till they bring Shake Shack here that'll always be my first choice!
WOw, sorry your burger bash fizzled. The bright side is Ted and the husband still look like they're having a great time together! Great Series you're starting!
Wishing you and 'the boys' and fabulous Sunday!
It's funny how the type of place you go to and the service and quality you will cope with changes when you have a kid. The amount of eating out we did reduced SO drastically when we had George and we are only now starting to go out a bit more again.
Then it is still tempered with it being somewhere that he will find something to eat and serves quite quickly. So I am looking forward to your reviews to give us new ideas. Our current kid friendly fave is still Wagamama.
Oh dear… Is it bad that I can't stop laughing when I look at that ridiculous guacamole? I love this post, so funny: the mental image of being presented with Polos for pudding and there being a Mafia conspiracy ref. witholding of Fabs, is also cracking me up. I remember how excited I was when GBK first started up. The chips, bun and service are a let-down nowadays, but GBK did introduce me to breaded chicken, camembert & cranberry.