First look: Take a bite out of Durham's new gourmet burger restaurant

Durham's new burger restaurant promises to be something to relish.

Tuesday, 19th April 2016, 3:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2016, 4:19 pm
Fat Hippo Durham

Ahead of Fat Hippo’s opening in Saddler Street, we had a sneak peek around the venue which has transformed one of the cobbled street’s historic sites.

Since being established in 2010, the gourmet burger chain has steadily made a name for itself with its quirky take on the classic dish.

Inside the new Saddler Street site

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This latest addition builds upon its two Newcastle restaurants, in Jesmond and the city centre, as well as its mobile burger bar.

Michael Phillips, the founder and one of Fat Hippo’s directors, said: “The idea for Fat Hippo was born from my love of burgers. Gourmet burgers become a bit of a trend at the moment, but back when I started out six years ago there wasn’t really anywhere in Newcastle doing them well.

“We’ve also been committed to the quality of our burgers which is why we use local beef and each of our burgers is ground, weighed, and pressed by hand on a daily basis.”

The Grade II-listed building, previously Saddlers Cafe and Bistro, has undergone a major renovation in time for the restaurant opening to the public on Friday in a move which has created 40 jobs.

Arthur Davey, one of the directors of Fat Hippo, said: “Finding the premises on Saddler Street is what sealed the deal with our expansion into Durham. Each of our restaurants is fairly unique and when we saw this place, it just felt right.”

Michael Phillips added: “The building itself has so much character and we’ve gone to great lengths to try and bring that out. We’ve repaired floorings, restored fixtures and, where we can, have tried to bring its old features back to life.”

Dining will be offered over two floors with a handful of bar tables where people can tuck into burger options, such as the PB&J topped with chunky peanut butter, cheese and bacon jam and the Born Slippy, a double 4oz patty topped with pulled pork ribs, cheese, jalapeños and chilli jam.

Prices for burgers, which use Northumbrian and Durham beef, start from £8.50 with food served daily from 11am until late.

Manager Tom Lowery says the new venue hopes to appeal to the city’s student crowd, as well as families.

“We’re the place to bring a bunch of mates for burgers and few beers before a night out, or to recover from one,” he said. “But then, on the flip side, we’re very much a family-friendly restaurant where people can bring their kids for a quick lunch without having to break the bank.”

Inside the new Saddler Street site