The first impression of Head of Steam is that it is full of life. Unbeknown to me and my plus one Josh, we had booked to visit on live music night. Large open windows across the bar entrance overlooked the street allowing the music to be heard down the road, speaking an inviting and confident vibe.
The ground floor where the music was playing was exclusively for the bar, we were here to try the food so the manager escorted us upstairs to the quieter dining room.
It’s impossible not to notice the attention to detail that has gone into the design of this bar. The decor resembles an antique brewery with rustic wooden furniture and grande iron chandeliers. the walls are papped with pictures of old-fashioned scenes such as black and white steam locomotives and classic brands of beer/ale. However, it is not all antique, each room has a twist. In the seating area of the ground floor, you are greeted with a neon lighted brewery banner, a hippy van ornament and high back seating pods that gave hints of a wooden 1960s American diner. The design gives the bar character which adds to the excitement of your visit.
‘Head of Steam’ prides itself for their knowledge of beer and Ales. Each dish has a recommended beer/ale pairing and the staff is knowledgeable so they can also recommend their own pairing if you’re wanting to try something new. For a starter we went for the ‘Besler’ taster platter to share, you get to choose three starters plus there recommended beer pairing. We had the Korean – inspired squid with Indian Pale Ale; chicken churrasco brochette skewers with Belgian blonde ale and yuzu, ginger and shiso smoked salmon with Belgian blonde ale also. All were delicious, the beer complimented the food perfectly and the customer service was friendly and informative.
For the main course, Josh went for the ‘Head of Steam Burger’ which had the twist of chilli jam as a sauce, whilst I went for the chilli dog with sweet potato fries. As well as these options there were pizzas, pies and a world flavours section, all with at least one vegetarian option. For drinks, the waiter recommended the delirium red and the LA Trappe Dauble, a fruity Ale that they have on tap – don’t be fooled by the sweet piquancy as it is still eight percent. Josh compared it to a Strongbow “but fifty times better”.
When the food came no one was doubting the value for money, the hot dog was poking out both ends of the bun and the burger was the size of Josh’s face. All that was left was to check if there was quality as well as quantity. The sweet potato fries looked slightly overcooked at first sight, however, upon tasting they had a crispy texture and the flavor was flawless. The real winner though was Josh’s burger, he had gambled with the jam as was originally going to opt for the classic burger. The gamble paid off, jam gave a perfectly balanced mix of sweet and savory. The patties were juicy and tender which furthered the synergy, allowing flavors to easily combine on each mouthful. Josh had been to many burger joints around town and this was “the best he’s had” and from the few bites I got, I agree.
Neither I nor Josh could manage dessert at this point if we were to choose one though the strawberry and rhubarb cheesecake would be top of the list. To sum up ‘Head of Steam’ is a must for any beer/ale lover, the knowledge, and quality of customer service is flawless and to top it off they serve some of the best burgers in town. Not often do you get to dine like this as a student but with reasonable pricing and great value for money, it will definitely be worth budgeting in.
Visit their website here to find out more information about them and to make a booking enquiry.
By Harvey Clitheroe