Breakfast was mini ham and cheese croissants. I would love to say that those croissants were homemade :) but they came from the shop in a pack of 12. I stuffed a few with some cheese and ham and put them into a medium hot oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp up the exterior. This is one of those breakfasts that can't really fail. Ham, cheese and buttery croissants.... all good and yummy. Even yummier put together and warmed up. Served with milky, sugary tea for a hearty (and artery clogging :) breakfast.
But fear not, we headed for a nice long gym session in the afternoon to make sure we redeemed ourselves (and our poor tummies) somewhat. Killing some time between our gym session and dinner, we chilled out at Lincoln's Inn Fields where we met this little guy. The squirrels here seemed so incredibly tame, more so than at other London parks. He came bounding up to us hoping for a little handout (of which we had none) but still happily struck a few poses for me ;) He hurried away as soon he caught scent of a Weimaraner, in full hunting mode.
When the squirrels retired for the day, we went on to Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) for a few juicy burgers. We our hearts set on fish and chips from The Rock and Sole Plaice right after the gym session but after walking round and round looking for a cash point, we were a little too lazy to retrace our steps. So off we went to GBK at The Brunswick Centre, off Russell Square. I remember going to The Brunswick Centre for lunch when I was still a student in the area and it was one of the most depressing, run down of places. The only good thing about it then was the cheap noodle bar - the Hare and Tortoise (which is still there). A few years on and it's really cleaned up with lots of new shops, restaurants and a slick coat of paint.
GBK burgers are probably the best amongst the chain-restaurant offerings. And it doesn't break the bank. This was my third visit to a GBK restaurant and found that this branch was probably the most pleasant. The staff were more friendly and probably because it was a little early for the dinner crowd, the atmosphere was more relaxed. In tune with their informal chain-restaurant vibe, the GBK system works on staff greeting and showing you to a table with menus, cutlery, your table number and an explanation of how you have to order at the counter. After you've made your selection from the menu, up you go to counter to order and pay. Back to your table again and your food is brought to the table. Bit of a pain bit it's all generally cool - hopefully the savings they're making on the number of waiting staff shows in the price of my food :)
As usual I went for the Avocado and Bacon beef burger (£7.95). It's described on the menu as "100% Aberdeen-Angus Scotch beef, avocado, streaky bacon, salad, mayonnaise & relish" and yes, it was every bit as good as it sounds. The avocado was mashed up and oozed beautifully out of the burger. The thick cut streaky bacon had been cooked over the grill and had a lovely charred flavour, espacially where the fat had met the fire. The patty was meaty and cooked to 'medium' - as are all their beef burgers, unless otherwise specified.
After a little grumble about there being no cheese and bacon burgers on the menu, Stuart settled for the Garlic Mayo beef burger (£6.90) - 100% Aberdeen-Angus Scotch beef, fresh garlic mayo, salad, mayonnaise & relish. Extra streaky bacon - with extra bacon (£1.60). Yup, a double dose of mayo! He could of course just ordered a plain Cheese burger and added the bacon :) His burger does look a bit smaller than mine - because he squashed it and took a large bit from one end before I could stop him. I didn't try his burger but I did get a little swipe of the garlic mayo that had dripped out and it was good - they certainly ensure you get all the garlic you paid for!
We had a portion of GBK skinny fries (£2.75), freshly out of the fryer. The oil still sizzling off the golden brown spuds. They were not bad fries, they were just not great.
We also had the GBK Homeslaw 'the Antipodean way' (£2.35) with cabbage, spring onions, carrot, celeriac and vinaigrette. Very nice it was too. Unlike the usual coleslaws, this was not bogged down by heavy mayo although it was slightly oily. The vinaigrette was citrus-y (think orange rather than lemon or lime) and despite my dislike for celeriac, I found myself happily digging in until there was no more.
Tired and full we headed back for an evening of silly TV shows and mind numbing games on the X-box :D GBK-wise, I'm no burger connoisseur but I think the stuff from GBK is pretty good. I've read reviews where the burgers have been compared to the stuff in the States, but having never tried a Stateside burger, I'm quite happy in my oblivion. Hopefully the next time I'll be able to tear myself away from the Avocado and Bacon burger... and maybe the next time I won't be so greedy ... I was disgustingly full after all that food!
Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK)
44/46 The Brunswick Centre, London WC1N 1AE