One Job, Meat In A Bap. You Had One Job
The most difficult thing about simplicity is sticking to your guns.
Restaurants might love the idea of taking a minimalist approach – focusing on just one thing, and doing it really, really well – but there's something in the human mind that causes us to gravitate towards bells, whistles and add-ons we don't really need.
On the face of it, Meat in a Bap – located in the heart of Belfast's student-heavy Botanic region – looks as if it may avoid falling down this trap. After all, even the restaurant's very name is built around the sheer simplicity of putting a bit of a dead animal between two pieces of bread, and letting the flavours do the work from there.
And in a world where the humble burger is all too often complicated, this laser-guided focus – as we know from the excellent fare at Bunsen – is a hugely enticing prospect.
Step inside, however, and the charming simplicity of this place begins to unravel very quickly – where Bunsen provides its menu on a business card, Meat in a Bap provides pages upon pages of sauces, sides, meats, cuts, breads and more.
Even the salad comes with a fist-sized portion of grated cheddar, a fairly bizarre addition to the menu's token healthy option.
Of course, all would be forgiven if the central offering was up to scratch; if the meat was up to a standard that cast all the complications to one side and allowed the punter to revel in its beautiful simplicity.
Alas, while it's certainly a cut above your average fast food offering, it's a far cry from premium – and certainly goes some way to explaining the myriad of distractions in a place that was only ever supposed to perform one single task.
Sure, the sweet potato fries are delicious, the smoky sauce lifts the meal with a much-needed kick, the prices are befitting of a student locale and the staff are friendly and polite amid the silence of a quiet Thursday afternoon. But ultimately, I come out of the joint thinking one thing.
One job, Meat In A Bap. You had one job.
We asked the people of Belfast to choose their favourite burger, and Meat in a Bap got a few shouts. Check out the other recommendations in the video above.