After a lovely weekend up North (not that grim apparently!), taking in a birthday party, a VW rally and aiding some cute Yorkshire kids, I decided to make a pitstop in Oxford to check out Atomic Burger on my epic 5 hour drive back to Southsea. It was definitely worth the diversion!
Atomic Burger is a burger bar that virtually bathes in 80’s nostalgia and comic, geek chic offering a panoply of burgers and toppings options. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the outside but the window certainly attracts the eyes, filled with 80’s film memorabilia including a giant Gremlin (and a slightly smaller Gizmo!) among other things. Inside action figures hang from the ceiling and the walls are plastered with stickers of such classic films as Star Wars.
Even without looking at the menu I loved this place and apparently so did a high proportion of Oxford residents, filled with local families and students alike.
As I mentioned the menu offer such a variety (excluding non-burger dishes!) but I eventually decided on a starter Atomic Wings and a Mel Brooks Burger. This was accompanied with a absolutely delicious peanut butter milkshake. This arrived with a stereotypical curly straw!
The wings arrived shortly after and I chickened out (sorry….) I went for hot chilli as I was afraid of what the after affects of the Atomic XXX Fallout sauce might be… I still had a 2 hour drive after all!
As you can see the portion size was more than generous , arriving in a small metal bucket, but the skin was a just too flabby for my liking. I hope most people would agree that a nice crisp skin is essential, whether on a roast chicken on a Sunday or deep fried pieces from KFC. Unfortunately they were the lowlight of the evening due the lack of crispy, savoury skin and the decidedly lack of flavour despite being visibly specked with dry chilli flakes. However this was more than made up for on the arrival of my Mel Brooks burger.
The Mel Brooks is Atomic Burger’s take on the classic Rueben sandwich, the burger topped with salt beef, swiss cheese, pickles and thousand island dressing. The salt beef was more like a quality pastrami rather than a melting, fatty piece of brisket I have had at places such as B&K Salt Beef Bar but held it’s own in the mix. The bun was a neutral white bun, going against the current trend for brioche buns, but was nicely toasted and more than managed to contain it’s plentiful contents. The burger was flavoursome and cooked to a nice medium-well, a sign that the kitchen is confident of the quality of the meat used. It was served with a side of Sci Fries, double cooked skinny fries, liberally covered in chilli and garlic seasoning. They were also great, having more flavour than the wings, so much so I had to eat these after the burger so my taste buds were not overloaded with hot (that’s a flavour right?).
The food was (mostly) brilliant and service was friendly and attentive, and all for the princely sum of £17.50. Though not the best burger I have ever had, this was pretty high up the list and the whole experience certainly makes Atomic Burger a must visit destination, made easier by the opening of a branch in Bristol (my hometown).
So get yourselves down to Atomic Burger, like my (blurry) receipt states “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!”