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Ron Mackenna: Jacker De Viande, Glasgow

I know, I know.

The decor leaves a little to be desired but Jacker De Viande's burgers are impeccably judged. Photograph: Mark Mainz
The decor leaves a little to be desired but Jacker De Viande's burgers are impeccably judged. Photograph: Mark Mainz

Is there anything more to be said about the burger wars that have erupted in Glasgow? How many new restaurants this year? Eight? How many new Man v Food joints in this street alone? Three. How many emails have I received on the subject? Not including the one from Mr Mega Death himself - or the Glasgow Chilli Guy - who pointed out that the sauce sharing his name served up by the on-reflection-awful Buddy's on the south side of Glasgow last week wasn't actually his sauce at all? Lots. And lots. Including a few amusingly pithy ones on the quality of the Scottish burger from Mr Alan Thorburn of Las Vegas. And Kilmarnock. Stand up and take a bow.

Anyway, let's concentrate on this afternoon. In hippest, happeningest West Regent Street, where if you look over there you'll see two plumpish, middle-aged men in matching suits and double chins.

Are we incongruous? You betcha. With lots of skater-style dudes tripping in and out of the kitchen? Well, they look like that from our vantage point, with us sitting like two blobs of corporate greyness amid decor that seems like an overripe tomato which just had an alien's baby right in here.

We're the only customers, too. Shriek. In lots of restaurant space apparently nobody can hear you scream. In fact it's more mumping than screaming from Professor Leo who would, frankly, rather have gone somewhere a bit more grown up for his lunch. He has a point.

Or he did have until the food is brought on a silver tray laid out with so much style and panache that for a whole two seconds we stop talking about middle-aged guy stuff - push bikes - and gawp. Yes, even burgers traditionally sneered at by restaurant critics can look good.

We slice them in half and I can see a band of pink right through the middle of both of them. Exactly as we asked for them to be cooked and pretty much the only place in this city to have pulled that trick off.

Good? Oh yes. Firstly, the beef has real flavour. It's tender, it's juicy and it's properly seasoned. It is not overwhelmed by being topped with a ludicrous amount of fillings. There's crisp lettuce, tomato, a flash of gherkin, melted cheese, crisp bacon and a bun that doesn't dominate the whole show. We actually think about this. And agree. The best burger in Glasgow by far.

There's also pulled pork in a bun with black pudding and apple puree. Again, the meat is properly seasoned and again it's very good. In between the waiter wanders over - he doesn't have much else to do - and tells us the meat for both the burgers and the pulled pork is butchered, ground and fully prepared in here.

Obviously we must have the chilli cheese fries just to keep those waistlines from sagging. Crisp fries, slices of fresh chillies and a meaty, rich and textured chilli on top.

Now, I should point out that I was actually in here last week. Today's visit is simply to confirm how good the burgers are. But I should also say we had something called an illegal burger stuffed with gloopy sauce, peas and monkfish. Monkfish, as some readers will remember, was once passed off in restaurants as prawn. It was awful.

There was also something on the menu called burger balls which, and after we quizzed the waitress, sounded so appallingly ill-judged that we didn't order them. Not everything about Jacker is therefore perfect.

This decor, honestly and joking aside, is an acquired taste, with its deathly images and slogans celebrating meat and love. But as for the burger? Faultless and seriously, in my humble opinion, the best in this city. By far.

JACKER DE VIANDE

111 West Regent Street, Glasgow (jackerdeviande.co.uk, 0141 243 2405)

MENU

Burgers for grown-ups, primo cuts butchered, ground and shaped on the premises and it shows in the relatively simple menu. 4/5

ATMOSPHERE

Looks like an explosion in a ketchup factory thanks to the edgy, raw and meat-orientated paint job. It's a big space to fill. 3/5

SERVICE

It's always been as dead as a dodo when I've been in so hard to fault. May change when the customers show up. 5/5

PRICE

Lunchtime burgers £6, not much more in evening. It's £3.50 for the delicious heart attack on a plate that is chilli cheese fries. 4/5

FOOD

The best burger in Glasgow by a mile. Tender, moist, pink in the middle, served on a decent bun and not overwhelmed by the extras. 8/10

TOTAL 24/30

Read Herald Scotland's take on Jacker de Viande in haiku form here

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