Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bill's Cardiff, Review - Searching for Cardiff's Best Burger

Bill’s is an 11 strong chain owned by restaurant mogul Richard Caring. Caring also owns the celeb friendly Caprice Holdings (The Ivy, J Sheekey, Le Caprice), the uber trendy Soho House private members clubs and has a sizeable stake in Cote and Carluccio’s. The Cardiff branch of Bill’s in the Wyndham arcade is the latest addition to the family.

You can tell the owner of Bill’s knows the restaurant industry inside and out. The menu is crammed full of crowd pleasing comfort food, service is on the ball and the décor (eclectic furniture, exposed metal work, and shelves full of stylishly branded groceries) is very well conceived. Lastly, I’ve never been to another restaurant where you can purchase groceries from a tick list whilst eating your meal. Bill’s knows how to make money.

The Burger – Bill’s hamburger

1. How was the patty? I was asked how I wanted the patty to be cooked and requested medium .I was pleased to see it served a proper medium pink. Light char marks on the outside, juicy, flavoursome and seasoned correctly, this was an excellent patty.

2. How was the bun? A supremely soft, buttery and delicately sweet seeded brioche roll. The best burger bun so far in Cardiff.

3. How was the other stuff in the bun?
 A subtle ooze of Monterey Jack, gentle horseradish mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce and red onion. Just the right quantity and balance in relation to the bun.  

 4. How were the fries? Disappointingly generic, lukewarm sub McDonald’s style French fries.

5. What was the price? £9.95 + £1.20 for cheese.

6. How was the service? Efficient, warm and chatty.

7. How was the other stuff?

Mini Cumberland sausages (£4.25) coated in a delicious glaze of sticky honey and subtle mustard were as addictive as Breaking Bad season 4.

The mother in law ordered Bill fish pie (£12.95). It contained a generous amount of fish (queen scallops, smoked haddock, salmon, tiger prawns) and just the right amount of cheese in the mash.

Mrs G’s mezze board (£9.95) was enjoyable but unremarkable. The tomato salsa, extra virgin olive oil hummus, olives and halloumi skewers were all good but the babaganouj achieved the impressive feat of not tasting of aubergines.

A large chocolate brownie milkshake (£3.65) was chocolatey and creamy without being overly sweet. However, as it didn’t seem to have been made with ice cream it was a bit thin and not ice cold.

8. So what's the verdict? Bill’s burger really is top notch. I think I managed to inhale the whole thing in a couple of minutes. The bun is ace, the juicy patty is on the nail and the salad and cheese complete the picture. The only issues for me are the poor fries and the price - £11.15 for a burger and fries is a bit steep. For these reasons it's going in at joint first in the search for Cardiff's best burger. Taking into account the value of the North Star burger and their amazing chips, it's hard to separate the two of them. 

The Details:
Address - 27-39 Wyndham Arcade, Mill Lane, Cardiff,  CF10 1FH
Telephone - 02920 231524


  1. I'd put the cost down to the quality of the meat. I have no evidence to back that, but it makes me feel better about the whole situation. Agree with you about the fries. The temperature of mine was okay the first time, but when I went back, my mum got the burger and they were lukewarm and somewhat chewy.

    1. Yeah a real shame about the fries. They must treat them as an afterthought when they can really make or break the burger experience!

  2. We ate there on the 1st weekend it opened and the waitress advised us to go for the fat chips (I forget the name they had been given on the menu) rather than the standard offering - they were rather fab. We shared a chicken kebab flatbread main and a beef kebab flatbread starter along with some bread and hummous - it was plenty for two and very tasty, well cooked and presented. The food was horribly slow arriving but they realised this, apologised and gave us complimentary drinks which left everyone happy so all in all a very good experience for us

    1. I'll keep an eye out for the other type of chips next next time. Wonder whether they can do them with the burger? The offer of complimentary drinks would go a long way towards making up for the slow service.

  3. Really disappointed with the mains in Bill's. Nice, but 'owt special, thought the menu was a bit dull, and the burger was OK but not earth shattering. Moules frites good, but I didn't even know they made mussel pots that small....
    The puds on the other hand were fantastic, so more of a coffee and cake place for me.

  4. Had the burger tonight. Nice chargrill, but overall quite dry. I didn't order tomato salsa thinking that might make it too wet, and also, bit of a cheek to charge a quid plus for a spoon of posh ketchup innit? Bun was good though. Unfair to say chips are sub-Maccy D. I thought they were identical. Choccy milkshake very good. Desserts generic, overly cold takes on ice-cream. Kids meal burger is the same size burger and chips but without salad and mayo - so kids get same volume but it's even drier. Overall I thought pretty mediocre, but I don't know anywhere markedly better I could take kids to in the city centre. I sooner go to Casanova but it feels a bit 'adult' for young families.

    1. @fforchwen_too - Definitely a cheek to charge a quid for salsa. Fortunately the ketchup and mayo were free and a far better accompaniment for the burger in my opinion. When I revisited Bill's, the chips were on a par with McDs. However, the first time round they were tepid and limp - something that never seems to happen at the Golden Arches.