DINING OUT: Horn and Hoof kicks the humble burger into shape

Horn and Hoof in Thornton
Horn and Hoof in Thornton
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Gone are the days when burgers were reserved for fast food outlets, served with a dollop of red sauce and a slice of plastic-looking cheese to disguise the layers of grease.

Diners are now prepared to pay more and wait longer for a different kind of patty; gourmet burgers.

The New York Veg Stack at the Horn and Hoof in Thornton

The New York Veg Stack at the Horn and Hoof in Thornton

Cooked-to-order, served with a variety of tasty toppings, a brioche bun and sweet potato fries, the traditional burger has undergone a beefy transformation.

So it’s great to see a small, independent restaurant bringing this burger revolution to Thornton.

Situated on Victoria Road East, the eaterie immediately impresses with a modern, stylish bar area.

We were greeted by friendly bar staff who were very knowledgeable on the range of craft beers, spirits, cocktails and wine on offer.

The hubby was delighted by the variety of craft beers and, after gulping down a taster glass, opted for Goose Island Honkers Ale – “a cracking pint”.

I was taken in by the barman’s spiel that Martin Miller’s Gin is currently rated the second best gin in the world... so chose a refreshing glass of that.

After relaxing in the bar for a few minutes (it’s always nice to have that option so you don’t feel like you’re being rushed), we went through to the restaurant which is a fairly small and intimate area at the back of the venue.

As the Horn and Hoof name suggests, there’s plenty of meat on the menu to get your teeth into – but there are some decent vegetarian options too.

For starters, we were intrigued by the Texas Toast (£3.95) – a door stopper slice of bread, smothered in garlic and chive butter, topped with mature cheddar before being grilled.

It was basically posh cheese on toast; tasty and comforting but could have done with a minute extra under the grill to give it a bit more crisp and make it a tad less stodgy.

We also shared the slow smoked chicken wings (£3.95) with JD Honey sauce, which were cooked well but lacked a little in presentation.

Quite often when we eat out, we peak with the starters and the main dishes never seem to live up to the delights of the first courses.

But at Horn and Hoof, the burgers are certainly the showstoppers.

After being served with our burger towers, I wished we’d skipped the starters and gone straight to the huge and delicious main courses.

The hubby chose the Menage a Trois burger (£13.95) – pulled pork piled on a combo of two burger patties and succulent flat iron steak with melted cheddar cheese, served with a brioche bun and sweet potato fries when you upgrade for £1. He was more than happy with his choice.

Despite being a meat eater, I plumped for one of the vegetarian dishes: the New York Veg Stack (£10.95), also with sweet potato fries.

Fresh vegetables – peppers, aubergine, courgette, and flat mushroom – were presented in a colourful, chargrilled tower with halloumi, avocado, and pineapple. Delicious.

With drinks, including a bottle of Malbec, the bill came to £50 for a fun and tasty meal.

There’s no doubt about it, the owners have certainly taken the bull by the horns and given the humble burger a hearty makeover.

Marks out of 10: 8.5