Gourmet burger and chips - at a price

BURGER and chips can be found the world over – from fast-food chains, independent takeaways to pubs and American-themed restaurants.But a Southwold pub has decided to give the humble dish the gourmet treatment – with an £11.

BURGER and chips can be found the world over – from fast-food chains, independent takeaways to pubs and American-themed restaurants.

But a Southwold pub has decided to give the humble dish the gourmet treatment – with an £11.50 price tag to match.

The daytime menu at the King's Head in the town's High Street describes its take on the old favourite as a handmade burger in a homemade bap with hand-cut chips, homemade relishes and salad.

And landlord Graham Dungey believes the price tag can be justified – with it being his most asked-after dish, ordered 50 times a week by beef-loving customers.

“People's purchases are not just based on price. The quality of the ingredients and service plays a big part of where they want to go to eat.”

The dish is put together by one of the pub's five chefs, including Chris Fairs, who trained at City College, Norwich.

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He said: “We take half-a-pound of lean mince and two eggs, mix it all through and add a finely chopped red onion, chopped flat parsley, salt and pepper and a spoonful of relish before chargrilling it.”

According to Mr Dungey, 36, the secret of the success of the dish lies in its relishes, which give it “a little kick” but was not prepared go public with the recipe.

But it is not the only traditional meal to be given a high price – cod or haddock plus chips, salad, peas and homemade tartar sauce on the premises also cost an eyebrow-raising £11.50.

“We buy line-caught fish from Southwold Harbour and Lowestoft fish market which is three-times the price of factory shop frozen fish,” said Mr Dungey, who had already sold out of plaice, lobster and cod yesterday lunchtime.

But across the High Street is Mark's Fish and Chip shop where the hungry can order two battered burgers, made by a local butcher, and chips, also hand-cut on the premises, for £3.40 to eat-in or £2.70 to takeaway, or choose fish and chips in their restaurant for around £6 or around £4 to takeaway.

In comparison with other restaurants and pubs in the upmarket seaside resort, the pub's prices are slightly above Sutherland House restaurant's haddock and cod dishes and The Crown's roast cod and stir-fry vegetables, all at £10.50, while the Red Lion, The Nelson and the Sole Bay Inn pubs all charge around £6.75 for fish and chips.

But none of these establishments served beef burgers apart from the Pier restaurant, which charges £6.25 for a half-pound burger in a bun with chips and salad.

For Richard and Rowena Overton, who visited the genteel town and ate their own lunch on the promenade yesterday, £11.50 for burger and chips seemed a little steep.

He said: “We usually eat in Southwold as we don't find the food that expensive but today we've run out of money!

“It does seem very expensive but perhaps a lot of people here are used to London prices.”

But if it is fine wine and not food you're after, the Kings Head can also offer you a glass of the 1997 Chateau Lafite Rothschild – at £45 a glass.

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