As my time living in Jesmond, and my last ever student flat, comes to an end it was about time I tried The Fat Hippo, a small quirky restaurant well-known in the area for its burgers.
I have been past this place countless times, and it’s usually brimming with students. I have always wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I jumped at the opportunity when my boyfriend announced we were going out for tea.
We arrived around 6.30pm and it was surprisingly quiet, with just a few tables filled, but I put that down to the time of year. All the students have packed up and gone home.
Other than it being quite I was pleasantly surprised inside, the mismatched decor was very pleasing. The snowflake lampshade, hanging bird’s cage and array of mis-matched car boot chairs all gave the place some real personality, it made me feel relaxed.
The menu is small, but the range of burgers is excellent and rather interesting from the Danger Mouse (a burger filled with melted cheddar cheese, grilled hallomi and mozzarella) to a Lamb Kofta burger (handmade from Northumbria lamb and topped with tzatziki) and everything in between, it is hard to be fussy here.
But burgers aren’t the only thing on the menu they also offers salads, club sandwiches and sharing platters.
We were also happy to find that they also had a ‘hippo hour’, a great play on words in my opinion, which offers one course for £6.95, two courses for £9.50 and three for £10.95 on selected dishes, so always wanting to save money we went for the two courses.
There wasn’t much choice for starters when choosing the deal but I went for potato skins anyway (no surprise there!) whilst my partner went for garlicky ciabatta.
The skins were sweet-wrapper-thin, perfectly crunchy and stacked high, the garlic sauce accompanying it was creamy with a hint of garlic, what you expect from this sort of starter.
The bread on the cibatta was soft, and had a good taste of garlic throughout. However, the actual garlic butter (5% butter 95% garlic, give or take) was terribly overpowering to the point where I questioned whether it had been cooked at all, and for the first time in a long time my partner did not have an empty plate on his first course.
Next came the burgers, mine a Texas BBQ (a burger with bacon, melted cheddar cheese, onion rings and barbeque sauce), my partners a Sloppy Joe (a burger topped with chilli con carne and melted cheese). Both of these were served in floury cibattas.
They were both beautifully presented on odd-shaped dark wooden boards, with a bucket full of homemade chips and a delicately placed side salad; I couldn’t wait to dig in.
The first bite was amazing, I was instantly hit with peppery beef, and then the tangy barbeque sauce slowly shone through. After a few bites I discovered an onion ring, with a soft centre and crispy outside, salty bacon and cheese, stringy with a delicate flavour.
However, I couldn’t finish the meat as it was very overpowering, and quite dry, not a drip of juice came out of the burger, which was a shame.
The meat in the other burger was a lot more juicy and tender, the chilli wasn’t very spicy, it just brought a new beefy dimension to the burger.
The chips were perfect, the chucks of potato had a satisfying dark brown colour and a white fluffy centre, The Fat Hippo definitely won me over with those.
I can see the reason why students love the place, go in, grab a tasty burger accompanied with perfect chips, a beer and just chill in a relaxing atmosphere, miss-match chairs and all.
The bill with an Appetiser and orange water came to £22.70. They also have a deli shop five minutes away, which could be the reason I go back to Jesmond in the future.