Holee Cow Good Burgers on the edge of Studentland
Holee Cow moved to Winchcombe Street at the end of 2018, having built up a reputation for good, if slightly pricey burgers. The restaurant is slightly less restauranty in the new location, but it’s a stretch to say the atmosphere is fast food. Incidentally the once mighty Real Burger occupied this building, until it went a bit pants. The Winchcombe Street location makes for a more studenty clientele, often with parents-taking-their-kids-out-whilst-visiting-the-Uni. The student Hoovers up a burger or two, whilst looking at the door in case any of their mates spot them.
There was talk of a chicken operation run by the same team (the owners also run Bhoomi) although that idea, called Holee Clucker, has yet to happen.
Anyway, Holee Cow is 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 Cheltenham.
The Other Holee Cow USP
The USP, the core offer of the place, is that things are kept simple. The menu shortish certainly achieves that.
The Holy Cow Burger (£8 single/£11 double) 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) (£10/£13) is a cheeseburger with added smoked pulled pork and streaky bacon. The Lamburghini (£10-£13) 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). Veggies have one burger option. The Bean Bag (£8/£10) is a spicy turtle bean patty, with smoked cheddar, jalapeno & tomato salsa – again, liked by our vegetarian correspondent.
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, calmer restaurant. It was noticeably quiet – no frantic kitchen cheffy shenanigans.
The Food at Holee Cow
We ordered a Holee Cow burger which is made from ‘West Gloucestershire Beef’. What’s 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 had disappeared of the menu, hope it returns (£5; candied walnuts, apple and blue cheese dressing). It’s refreshing and, whilst not a low fat thing of itself, we missed it as a crunchy, fresh point of difference to the burger. 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 (£10), 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 £16.50 is a bargain in a restaurant setting. Beers are OK – Camden Hells (£3.50). There are Byronic hardshakes. Diet Coke is £2.50.
Parents should note the £5 deal which is great value. Holee Cow is open daily 12-3 and 5.30-9. (Saturday: 12-9.30, Sunday: 12-8).
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.
Mon-Fri: 12-3 & 5-9pm
49 Winchcombe Street, Cheltenham, GL52 2NE
Tel: 01242 321768 Web: https://www.holeecowburgers.co.uk