This restaurant may be small, but its burgers pack a punch, writes Sammy Milton
Alex Hayes has been making a name for himself since Squeezed was just a tiny glint in his eye. Formerly of the famous Rebel Roll – known for their immense, dirty burgers – he has since closed up shop and re-opened in the food hotspot that is Wapping Wharf.
We’ve been following the build-up to Squeezed’s opening closely on social media, and it seemed burger addicts simply couldn’t wait until it opened. There was a slight hitch just before opening day (the name was originally meant to be Lemonade, but was changed last minute to avoid a far-off legal problem), but this hasn’t stopped Alex. Occupying possibly the smallest space in Cargo, he’s back doing what he does best – bashing out fantastic, top-quality burgers that practically everyone enjoys.
We popped along on a Wednesday evening to pay him a visit and to sample the goods. Located on the lower level of Cargo 2, there’s a bright and cheerful sign pointing hungry people to his pint-sized restaurant, where he is, quite literally, squeezed in. It’s such a bright and cheery space. Tiled with sunshine yellow throughout, he welcomes us in with a happy grin and tells us to take a seat to have a look over the menu.
Featuring six burgers, fries, slaw and a selection of six delectable lemonades, it is a short and sweet menu. The burgers incorporate a lot of interesting additions, but the main focus here is the sauces – there’s peanut chipotle BBQ sauce, chipotle tomato relish and smoked oyster and tarragon aioli to name but a few. Don’t hang around too long though – Alex has been known to sell-out quick!
With that in mind, we moved on with our own choices. Being a bit of a burger traditionalist, I went with The Mucker, a beef patty topped with Montery Jack cheese, caper aioli and confit shallots (£6.75). My dining companion chose the popular Reverse Cowgirl – a beef patty with smoked bacon, Montery Jack cheese and salad, all smothered with peanut chipotle BBQ sauce and charred scallion sour cream (£8.25). To accompany these, we shared a side of fries (£2.95) and had a Yard Sale (classic sweet and sour) lemonade apiece (£2.50).
We chatted to Alex whilst he worked, and before we knew it, our burgers were ready. We peeled them out of their wrappers and carefully – these are seriously messy burgers, in the best way possible – tucked in. The Mucker was godly. So juicy and tender, the beef was perfectly cooked, the cheese gooey and the shallots added a bite and depth that was most welcome. I’ve read about the Reverse Cowgirl on many Bristol food blogs, and it didn’t disappoint. Beef with the added bonus of the crispy bacon. Perfect. The sauces were amazing and were perfect for dipping the crispy fries in.
All in all, it’s obvious that Alex Hayes takes so much care and consideration with his food. He’s regularly sold out by the afternoon, and whilst being busy in this one-man show, he is an absolute delight to chat with. And he makes some of the best burgers around. But don’t take our word for it, ‘squeeze’ yourself in and see what it’s all about.