Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Burger Wednesday: Miller and Carter, The Oracle, Reading

I reviewed Miller and Carter when they first opened, and raved about their juicy, chargrilled steaks and skinny, crisp chips on The Oracle's website. It's been a few months since then, and so when we all fancied a burger one Sunday lunchtime I rolled on up, expecting the quality of their burgers to be just as good.

For those who don't know the restaurant, it's perched on the Oracle's Riverside; an up-market, well-groomed and polished steak house. Bottles of Moet and Dom Perignon line the wall behind the front desk, and there are plush leather banquettes as well as tables dotted around the restaurant. They're big on cocktails (I've yet to try one, as I'm always with the kids) and the manager once told me that their steaks have been voted the best in the world (even my Argentinian husband has to admit they're good).



Miller and Carter's Burger

So, onto the burgers. Navigating the menu is pretty simple; you choose the classic and then add things to it, at about a 50p or £1 extra charge. Things like stilton, bacon, provolone cheese, a fried egg or a flat mushroom. I went for the stilton and bacon, while my husband ordered fried egg and mushroom on his. The girls ordered burgers too.

All our burgers arrived with the trademark Miller and Carter skinny fries in a little paper cone (presumably so your chips don't go soggy on the plate once they mingle with the beef juices) and a little dollop of coleslaw. And as I tucked in, I couldn't help but be disappointed. The children's burgers looked the same size as ours (although cost about £3 less) and my added stilton was really tiny, probably less than a teaspoonful. (Or maybe I'm just a glutton when it comes to cheese - probably true). The bacon was good and crisp though, and gave a salty, smoky kick to the burger, as I'd hoped. There were a couple of thin strips of lettuce, a slice of tomato and a smudge of a mildly garlic-flavoured mayonnaise all packed into a slightly crusty-topped bun.

Miller and Carter, The Oracle
The burger was juicy, firm and cooked until it was a slight pink in the middle (perfect). As you squeeze the burger, you can see the juice flowing out from the coarse meat. It had that distinctly smoky flavour and slightly charred outside. The actual burger was great - hot, full of flavour and juicy. But, about half-way through, the burger and the bun became difficult to eat and dry - it was almost like it needed some pickles or gherkins or a big layer of crunchy lettuce too, to give it more moisture. But the service was really good - the food arrived quickly, the waiters offered top up drinks and also extra sauces like ketchup and mayonnaise for the table. As I ate, a waiter brought another diner a sizzling porterhouse steak. And I have to admit, I was a bit jealous.

If you find yourself near Reading's Oracle and fancy a bite to eat, do go to Miller and Carter. I still love it - the service is fantastic and the decor inside is posh enough to suit a first date or anniversary, while the staff are friendly and accommodating enough for a family lunch with the kids. But if you do go, go there for the steak. You won't be disappointed.

Service: 4/5
Burger: 3/5