Eating Out: Freight's burgers are Christina Aguilera-level dirrty
BAPS by Freight,
423 Lisburn Road,
IT’S back to takeaways, back to eating in, and for the second review in a row, back to a dirty dinner. It felt entirely appropriate, necessary even.
With hospitality’s lockdown extended, those that can do it continue to offer something to be brought home and, at the fancier end of the scale, cooked or constructed. There’s also something closer to good old fashioned takeaway that can be brought home and simply eaten because, as much as some people might enjoy cooking by numbers, I’d rather leave it in the hands of the professionals because I know they’re doing it way better than I ever could.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be at least a little bit fancy, under the dirty surface. And it definitely doesn’t mean it can’t be good.
Freight, which started off in shipping containers at CS Lewis Square in east Belfast, now also operates from a more traditional space on the Lisburn Road in the south of the city.
As you might expect from somewhere that began its life in shipping containers, it can’t help but feel like a craft (if we stick with gently non-judgmental collective nouns) of hipsters exploded in the place.
Tattoos, facial hair, banging tunes, and did I mention it was in a shipping container?
But all that doesn’t matter because of the food. The best brunch in Belfast? Very possibly? The best dirty brunch in Belfast? Abso-brunching-lutely.
In the middle of lockdown you can still get that brunch to take away – French toast, lemon curd and meringue, a pulled pork eggs Benedict. Sorry, Benny – like the standard issue hats as ubiquitous as the tats – but they’ve branched out too, as everywhere has to to try and survive, with BAPs by Freight, their contribution to Belfast’s seemingly never-ending parade of high brow burgers.
Like the brunch, these are Christina Aguilera-level dirrty burgers. Social media channels are packed with pictures of something or other between two bits of bread, the filling generally indistinguishable as it oozes out through the screen.
Burgers, hot dogs, toasties, chips buried under debris. Plenty of places serve up this kind of thing, but it’s easy for it to be not just dirty, but rotten. Sub-par cooking and ingredients camouflaged by a vat of cheese poured over it and the notion that providing a lot of rubbish passes for generosity just because there’s a lot of it.
What Freight understands, just as Baker Street Kitchen did with their similar offering a couple of weeks ago, is that this stuff only really works if it’s backed by quality and execution.
So the Mac Burger has jalapenos, pickles, and a spiky barbecue sauce to cut through rich macaroni cheese dolloped over a burger that slugs back at every turn – char-edged, juicy, thoroughly beefy. The whole thing takes some eating. It’s massive and filling – and at £11 knows how good it is – but manages to be even more than the sum of its excellent parts.
The halloumi looks like a piece of tuna on the outside, glazed and shimmering, sticky with sweet heat, but then pearly white with that salty squeak inside. Between it, the mashed avocado, the hash brown and shredded chipotle coleslaw there’s a textural overload that’s entirely in keeping with everything else going on.
Chicken wings are solid, crispy with a vinegar tang and chilli spice, but lifted by sesame seeds.
Thin, crisp chips are covered in aioli, bacon and Parmesan, or a smoky chipotle aioli, cheddar and fall-apart beef.
Aioli is a theme and they have other ways with this garlic mayonnaise, one of which is mixing it with chicken gravy. Chicken gravy aioli. I probably should have led off on that one.
Does chicken gravy need the aioli? Or vice versa? Probably not. But we’re dealing with good things. And too much just isn’t on the table.
Sticky chilli halloumi burger £9
Mac burger £11
Buffalo wings £5
Parma fries £4.50
Loaded fries £5
Chicken gravy aioli £1
San Pellegrino lemon £2
San Pellegrino blood orange £2
Delivery fee £3.50
Deliveroo service fee £1.98