Holee Cow Good Burgers in Cool Surroundings
Holee Cow closed at Clarence Street on 21/11/18. It’s expected to move to Winchcombe Street on the 10th December, 2018. The reason given is the expiry of a one year lease. Review is of the old restaurant for now.
Holee Cow in One Paragraph:
Burger restaurant. It’s well-run, burgers are tasty and we like that the menu is shortish. They do a few things well here and, along with Bottle of Sauce and maybe Five Guys, this is a favourite place for burgers in town. Hipstery fittings, doesn’t necessarily feel like a burger joint and Holee Cow’s coleslaw side is good at assuaging the burger guilt.
The Longer Read:
Holee Cow was opened at about the same time as Five Guys. As a result, it was maybe slightly overlooked.
Suits us. Here at Critical Towers, we much prefer to wait for a restaurant to be properly up and running before we take a look. Never trust an opening night Insta, we say.
Holee Cow is run by the people behind Bhoomi. The name is a cheeky reference to the status of the cow in India. Honestly, you guys.
There’s a proper restaurant (as opposed to burger joint) feel here. The fact that Holee Cow opens for lunch and dinner, but closes in between, helps to achieve this. Perhaps also for this reason, when you walk in, it doesn’t smell of burgers. The layout is great, tables not too close together. No Christmas decorations (yay!) in late December and a cheery welcome. Banquette seating along the right hand wall as you walk in, is probably first choice. You can book, but only for 8 or more people.
Based on our visit, I’d say the average punter is typically one of a couple, in their late twenties. A remarkable number of couples were holding hands… Could it be that Holee Cow has pioneered Cheltenham’s first romantic burger restaurant?
The Other Holee Cow USP
The USP, the core offer of the place, is that things are kept simple. The menu certainly achieves that. There are just 16 options.
The Holy Cow Burger (£7) is at the entry level. Cheese, lettuce, pickle relish and sauce are included. There are only five other mains. P.I.T.M (Piggy In The Middle) is a cheeseburger with added smoked pulled pork and streaky bacon. The Lamburghini (£9) is a lamb (see what they did there?) kofte patty. Citrus cured red cabbage, harissa yoghurt, cucumber spaghetti and goat’s cheese are added. There’s an all day breakfast thing with sausage egg and refried beans (£8). The chicken option is called Spicy Clucker. This is a buttermilk marinated breast with hot sauce, blue cheese and coleslaw (£8). Veggies have one burger option. The Bean Bag (£9) is a spicy turtle bean patty, with smoked cheddar, jalapeno & tomato salsa.
Value at Holee Cow
Holee Cow is not pitching for mass takeaway appeal, as you’ll understand from the prices. Mind you with food prices what they are, I’d worry about exactly what was in a much cheaper burger. That said, part of what you pay for is a relaxed, calm restaurant. It was noticeably quiet – no frantic kitchen cheffy shenanigans. A long chef’s pass runs along much of the back wall, so you can keep on eye on things. There’s a pretty sussed music choice here too.
When we arrived a couple had sent something back. Things were dealt with, yes, calmly and efficiently. Back at the pass, the chefs gathered around to look at the returned food like, say, mechanics at a BMW garage. They knew all the components were good, so were curious to see what had gone wrong. You could tell this didn’t happen too often.
The Food at Holee Cow
We ordered a Holee Cow burger which is made from ‘West Gloucestershire Beef’. What their, um, beef with East Gloucestershire beef? I don’t know, but anyway. A strong burger this – and the tasty, brioche bun wasn’t too rich. These days, good-to-excellent burgers are relatively easy to find, but we also ordered some sides. These are what make me likely to go back to Holee Cow. Their slaw (£5; candied walnuts, apple and blue cheese dressing*) was refreshing and, whilst not a low fat thing of itself, acted as a crunchy, fresh point of difference to the burger. Avocado, baby beets and goat’s cheese (£5) came with brioche slices. Again a hit of freshness. Fries (£3) were a little soggy, but not over-salted, which is unusual.
On a second visit the fries were spot on. We tried the The Lamburghini (£9), which was pretty great – the harissa yoghurt element was lovely. The slaw this time had too much dressing, but hey.
Drinks at Holee Cow
Wines are so-so, but fairly priced. Prosecco Labeerti (sic – it’s Prosecco Lamberti) at £16 is a bargain in a restaurant setting. Beers are OK – Camden Hells (£3.50). There are Byronic hardshakes. Diet Coke is £2.
Parents should note the £5 deal which is great value. Holee Cow is open daily 12- 3 and 6 – 9.
As mentioned, I’d go again. I’d carb up at Five Guys if I was off to walk the Cotswold Way or something. On the other hand, I’d choose Holee Cow for a bit of finesse and, er, the romantic atmosphere. The food here is good. One thing though, if you’re going to say “If it’s in our bun, you can rest assured it’s the best you can get.” on your menu, your chicken really should be free range. We checked. Apparently it isn’t.
*We’ve been a few times, the coleslaw recipe changes every time.
Mon-Fri: 12-3 & 5-9pm
49 Winchcombe Street, Cheltenham, GL52 2NE
Tel: 01242 321768 Web: https://www.holeecowburgers.co.uk