so, I’m not necessarily saying that everyone from Weston-super-Mare is witty and intelligent with a stand-up personality, but Bob Hope, John Cleese, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and yours truly do all have roots there. Other topics closely associated with the Victorian seaside resort, in case you’re intrigued, are donkeys (they’ve been ridden by bemused children since the 1800s on these sands), mud (Weston has the second largest tidal range in the world, leaving up to a mile of mud on the beach when its’ out) and fish and chips.
Indeed, fish and chips were probably the Carter family’s most-eaten meal out, back in the day. That’s if you can call scoffing a bag of chips on the seafront while pretending it wasn’t drizzling and keeping a nervous eye on those ballsy seagulls ‘a meal out’. But thanks to the regeneration the town has seen and the development that stands on the site of Dolphin Square and its former indoor market (gone but not forgotten – ditto the Tropicana and Sands nightclub), space has been made for some alternative culinary options.
Burger joint 7 Bone is one of them. Created by Matt Mollicone and Rich Zammit in 2013, the first site opened in Southampton and starred in BBC2’s The Restaurant Man with Russell Norman. There are now nine restaurants across the south, with Weston’s having opened just over a year ago.
Inside, it’s all edgy bare brick, steel and neon lights. L and I slide into one of the booths (all of which are handily free – it is 6pm on a Wednesday, after all), and I order some lubrication in the form of a Lervig House Party – a light and fruity IPA – along with snacks of chicken nuggets (£3.95) and tater tots (£3.50). The former have surprisingly tender, juicy meat hiding beneath the dark golden crust.
There are about 15 burgers (including chicken and veggie versions – hot dogs are additional), ranging from the Donnie J Trump (a cheese-stuffed patty topped with Wotsits), to the One Big Chicken, with buttermilkfried meat, hash browns and chipotle ketchup. You can swap the standard chunky beef patty for two thin ‘smashed’ ones or a veggie number. And, of course, you can add extra ones too. (Good luck with that.)
Sides are separate, but coupled up with the mains they form ‘red basket deals’, for either £10.95 or £12.45, depending on what you choose. I go all predictable with the W-s-M special burger (£9.25) and get that patty smashed. The meat is lean and flavoursome with a bit of a crust, and comes sandwiched in a light and fluffy bun along with ketchup, mustard, minced onion and a Cheddar cheese skirt (a large disc of crispy melted cheese, whose frilly edges poke out all around the bun). I do find myself adding more ketchup and mustard as I can’t taste them quite enough, but it’s otherwise a good burger with a decent while not excessive amount of filling – it’s easily handled and stays together well. On the side? Truffled mac and cheese (£4.95). Everything about that rich and carby dish makes it a terrible accompaniment to an already sortof- intimidating burger – but I have no regrets. The pasta is in a loose and super-cheesy sauce, spiked with just the right amount of truffle. It’s been grilled to give a nice crisp topping too, over which oil pools – giving away its unashamed decadence before I’ve even dug out the first forkful.
Across the table was another special – this one a limited edition. The PB BJ (£9.95) involved a juicy 6oz burger with miso peanut butter, chilli jam, bacon and crispy onion, the sweetness of the jam working nicely with the savoury peanut butter and salty bacon. Sharing a basket with it is chilli cheese fries (£5.25): this saw straw-thin chips topped with hunks of meat, cheese and jalapeños.
There are no desserts as such, but the shakes fill in rather well – coming super thick with ice cream. We go at a malty Maltoreo (£4.50), first with straws and then spoons.
This is my second visit, and the food’s been decent on both. While the team are nice enough, though, the service can be a tad wanting. Bottom line? This is a burger restaurant that’s got a bit of character, doesn’t take itself too seriously and offers good-value meal deals. One for the to-eat list when you’re down on the coast this summer.
7 Bone, Dolphin Square, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1TF; 01934 644488