The Ferret, Preston – Burger Of The Week

It’s been over a year since The Ferret started serving food after being taken over by the folk behind The Continental, and over a year since I last visited to blog about the food on offer. In my last blog there were woefully mild “hot” wings, floury mac & cheese and singular sliders. I’m happy to report that since then, I’ve tasted a friend’s hot wings, and the hot sauce now comes on the side, and is genuinely hot! Sliders now also come in trios, which is generally the norm for sliders. As for mac & cheese, I cannot comment.

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I’ve also visited between then and now and had their chicken burger, made from minced chicken meat, not the usual butterflied breast of chicken, and this was moist and delicious, however I didn’t have a camera on me at the time, and my phone back then took awful photos, so there was no blog.

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The Ferret have had a burger of the week for 52 weeks on the trot, and have now taken it on an American Road trip for 50 weeks. Each week featuring a new burger representing each state, and this week it’s the sunshine state, California.

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The “California Dreamin’ ” burger consists of:

“An 8oz Ground Steak Burger. Topped with Citrus Smoked Bacon and Soft Cheese. Served on a Toasted Brioche Bun with Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion and a Handmade Garlic Aioli. Accompanied by Fried Avocado Pieces, Orange Ketchup, and a Mixed Leaf Garnish with Citrus Salad Dressing”

Sara and I had to pop into Preston to a bit of shopping and decided to stop by to give it a go. We got ourselves a booth, had a look at the menu and decided to stick to our guns and have the BOTW, ordered at the bar and waited.

I then remembered I forgot to order an additional side of sweet potato fries, and added that to our order. Oops!

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Food no longer arrives on cool metal trays at The Ferret, which I kinda liked, but I believe weren’t practical for the kitchen staff, and now arrives on HUGE wooden boards!

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Sara began digging in whilst I took photos at varying angles.

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The burger is an absolute monster, honestly, it’s like a giant meatball rather than a burger, I’d rather it was flattened out a bit more. There was no way I could pick it up and take a bite without unhinging my jaw, so I decided to use a knife and fork. I cut through the centre of it…

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It was raw in the middle. Not pink, but raw. The centre of it was cool, it was that undercooked. I’m not adverse to pink burgers, having had them this way at Almost Famous in Manchester and asked for mine to be pink at Solita. I actually like them pink, but this was beyond acceptable. The bit in the dead centre is where it’s raw. Around it, it’s blushed pink and that would be okay with me.

I went to the bar and mentioned to the barman that they are raw, he came over, took a look and said “that’s how we serve them here,” to which I would argue that nowhere on the menu does it say they serve their burgers pink, let alone raw in the middle, and that he would “take it up to the chef to see what he says.” This is not the right response, I felt like he was insinuating that I was at the mercy of the chef, and that he would decide if he would cook it properly for me, and worried that it would be returned to me, even colder and just as undercooked.

Thankfully he returned without a burger, and took Sara’s burger back upstairs and we continued munching on the sweet potato fries whilst we waited.

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The sweet potato fries are SO much better than the last time I had them, and I liked them then! They’re more crisp, more vibrant and a really good portion of them, I’d quite happily buy them on their own as a bar snack to have with a pint of beer.

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Burgers returned shortly after, this time fully cooked. I’m not complaining that they were cooked through, because at least it wasn’t raw, I just wish that mine had been nicely pink in the first place. Something I mocked when I saw they started doing it was the branding with The Ferret’s logo on the top of the bun. I thought this silly and unnecessary but those charred bits created a nice counterpoint flavour.

Something else I particularly liked was the citrus smoked bacon, the combination of fresh bits of citrus fruit and bacon really helped cut through the massive burger’s richness!

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What was a complete masterstroke, was the inspirational side of deep fried avocado pieces. I wasn’t convinced, because I’ve only ever had avocado sliced on a BL(A)T (seriously, try this, thank me later) and as guacamole. I think of avocados having an almost oily texture, but the crispy (panko?) breadcrumb coating and obviously a not-very-long frying made for delicious little bites, made even better when dunked into the citrus ketchup, again, helping cut through any richness. I want to buy a deep fryer just so I can make these myself at home!

I’m definitely going to be returning to The Ferret to try more burgers on this American road trip, I just hope that I don’t have the same problems with undercooked burgers.

As a ukulele player, I feel I’m almost duty bound to try the Hawaiian one, unless of course it has pineapple on it, then I will go nowhere near it because I don’t like pineapple with meat. I’m campaigning for a Spam and Reeses burger*.

With each burger, I’ll post an update to this blog post.

*Anybody get that reference?

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