With two teenagers and a seven year-old on a half-term day in Cardiff undecided about where to eat, the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (or gbk) in the Cardiff Library Building seemed a good compromise, being located near to the trendy St David's Centre shops that the girls like to browse.
The first gbk was opened by three New Zealanders in London in 2001. There are now around 55 gbk in the UK, including two in Cardiff (the other is in Mermaid Quay). Since the Hard Rock Cafe in Cardiff suddenly closed in 2010 (there's a story there, but I don't know it), gbk has become the highest-profile high-end (i.e., expensive) burger restaurant in the city.
This was a first gbk trip for me. My previous experience of burger cusine meant that I was not expecting much in the way of culinary delights. However, there was plenty to enjoy here. My avocado bacon beefburger came in a decent toasted bun, with good quality ingredients throughout. I was thinking the avocado wasn't adding much, until a couple of mouthfuls near the end when its creaminess alongside the bacon and beef made it all worthwhile. The teens had cheese and bacon, and a chickenburger, with some additional shared fries and BBQ sauce.
The menu allows for a great deal of flexibility in constructing your burger, and there are two sizes to choose from. There are interesting vegetarian options on offer (ingredients include puy lentils, sweet potatoes and aubergines). Among the novel beefburgers are the Blue Cheese and the Kiwiburger (beetroot, egg, pineapple, cheddar...); the latter raises money to save the Kiwi. New Zealand chef Peter Gordon is a consultant on the menu, so there is some serious thought behind the novelty.
The children's menu defeated the youngest (I ended up eating her lolly - and regretting it). The teens shared a large milkshake that got a big thumbs up. The coffee was good.
So, a good choice on the day. Total cost £38. I am not a big beefburger fan, so probably won't be returning often, especially when I thought about what that money could buy in my favourite Cardiff eateries, but I left with a greater appreciation of burger cuisine.