During my recent stint in Farringdon, London on a freelance booking (sadly, burger-blogging is not my full-time job) I had the good fortune of coming across a quality boozer called The Slaughtered Lamb. Amongst their fare was a fairly extensive slider menu, and a deal allowing you to pick any three for the paltry sum of £6.50. Scarcely believing my luck, I ordered the cheese burger variant, a beef brisket number and a lamb one to round out the trio. And they were exceptional – all three comprising juicy meat and abundant sauces and being very well-proportioned, considering that amazing price. I regale you with this anecdote (illustrated by this slightly blurry photo) to demonstrate sliders done right. Because a week later, The Hove Bank showed how to do sliders horribly, horribly wrong.
The beauties from The Slaughtered Lamb, Farringdon NOT The Hove Bank, Brighton.
Somewhat prophetically, I’d never even heard of The Hove Bank before and it wasn’t our first choice on a bitterly cold March lunchtime. But Hove Place, which I’ve heard good things about, turned us away because of our lack of a reservation, and Hove Kitchen only had their roast menu on offer. So we plumped for The Hove Bank, thinking a steak restaurant would do a good burger, or in this case, three little ones. Blind optimism, as it turned out.
The restaurant space itself is decent – exposed brick, high ceilings – but it felt soulless from the start. It wasn’t empty, but it was quiet. Perhaps our fellow diners had already been stunned into silence by the quality of the food. The music was turned down low too, making the atmosphere a fraction away from being a little eerie.
I ordered the sliders, even though my eyebrows were floating in the middle of my forehead at the price – £11.40. Plus an extra £1.00 for cheese. The fact that all three sliders were identical – beef patty and salad – was worrying, but I persevered, hoping to add a little variety in the fare I cover on these pages. Our server, a bubbly, nervous lady who confided to us that she was new, couldn’t tell me if chips were included in the price. If they weren’t, I said, I’d share my fiancé’s, already feeling a bit sullen that I was spending almost double for sliders than I had done a week before.
My mood was about to go south further still.
I’ve never experienced this emotion when receiving restaurant food before, and I hopefully never will again. Embarrassment. I felt a little bit ashamed that I’d just ordered these miniscule, pretentious little morsels that appeared on a board in front of me, held together with wholly unnecessary wooden skewers. I felt an overwhelming urge to look at the server in disgust, to see if she shared my embarrassment, to see if there was any guilt etched on her face, to scream ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ I didn’t do any of this, of course, as I’m English. Far too polite for that.
Instead I inspected what was before me. Patties a fraction bigger than a 50 pence piece, incinerated, lightly blushed with a rumour of melted cheese, and accompanied by enormous wedges of tomato. Each housed in a sesame bun that had been quartered. I can only imagine the fourth quarter had perhaps been tossed into a bin, or kept in a bag for the next poor mug who dared to order the same. Each slider, identical to the last, was a mixture of the burnt ashes of the meat and an overwhelming glob of tomato ketchup, undoubtedly from the bottle. The cheese didn’t have a prayer in the face of such overpowering flavours. The crispy onion rings promised on the menu were, in fact, just rings of raw red onion. Two mouthfuls, and each slider was gone, to be replaced by huge buyer’s remorse and an overwhelming urge to twist the knife on The Hove Bank when writing this review.
Still positively starving after the travesty of those three sad little sliders, I attacked the fries with gusto, as they formed the bulk of my meal. Astonishingly, Hove Bank hadn’t managed to fuck them up, and I snaffled them down in angry, confused handfuls, again composing these venomous sentences in my mind as I ate, quietly fuming.
This just won’t do, The Hove Bank (I find it bitterly ironic that, at the time of writing, Hove Bank’s homepage merely shows a ‘bad request’ error screen). Astronomically overpriced, laughably small, horribly burnt and comically put together, these sliders of yours are an insult to your customers. There are far better burgers being served in Brighton at a fraction of the price, prepared with skill and passion, that make a mockery of this half-arsed cash-grabbing effort. These need to be taken off the menu and entirely rethought from the ground up. I have no idea what the steaks are like in Hove Bank, but you can be damned sure I won’t be going back to try them. I’m embarrassed that I parted with £12.40 for such woefully inadequate food. Alongside the sliders on the menu are printed the words ‘unique to us’. All I can say is, thank fuck for that.
Avoid like the plague.
Price: £11.40 (+ £1.00 for cheese)
Rating: 1 out of 5