I keep seeing burger places popping up all over the Midlands – Hanbao, Burgerboi, Burger and Sauce – the list goes on. Since the pandemic we have become even more obsessed with skyscraper burgers that require a chainsaw to get through. Fat Hippo at first look on Instagram seemed to be another joint serving up these monster burgers stacked up high and sharpened to death, they look pretty darn good but, do they taste as good as they look?
Fat Hippo opened in Birmingham city centre around three months ago and has received mixed reviews. I visited in its second week of opening. I never wrote a review about my experience as I was quite pissed at the time but all I can remember is that it was ok, but I did receive a soggy bun, sometimes we settle for anything when we have gone a bit mad on the pop! One thing I remember is feeling completely confused, as the burger I ordered didn’t look like the one that was advertised on their Instagram….
So, come one Tuesday I asked you guys where you wanted me to review next and Fat Hippo was the number 1 answer so off I trotted.
I arrived around lunchtime on a weekday. The restaurant was heaving and there was a queue outside. I waited for around three minutes then one of the waitresses saw me and took me to my table. My first thought? God I must of shrunk or something in the last two months because I don’t remember the table coming up to my neck last time…the tables are well high or maybe its because I am a shortarse.
The restaurant is loud and a little bit on the crowded side. The lady serving me was quick to serve me and patient when I was looking through the menu and was questioning some of the options. I wasn’t in the mood to fanny around with my food, so I avoided the monster burgers that total up to £13-£16 with 2 x pattys, I moved over to the “Fast hippos” that just include one patty and decided to go for the Little American for £7.50 that comes with seasoned fries. I also eyed up the trash browns and thought what the heck, let’s do it.
You can see how high up the table is to my camera aha
Diet coke costing £2.50 came first followed by the trash browns that are deep fried tater tots with liquid cheese and Cajun onion strings. Now I thought the strings were bacon, not sure where the taste of bacon came from….and they were also a little bit on the chewy side but other than that the tater tots were really nice. Plenty of cheese and didn’t come completely soaked in it, which I liked as I can’t stand soggy food.
It was a ten-minute wait for the burger after I finished half of my trash browns, my belly was starting to bubble already from that liquid cheese – thank god I was close to the toilet. The burger came and I had to laugh because when you look at Fat Hippos Instagram it is full of these monstrous piled high burgers or they just look pretty presentable, like the Vogue of all burgers however this was far from that, it looked a bit of a mess to be honest, however, when I started tucking in I actually enjoyed it.
Fat Hippo promotional image for Little America (left) and what I got (right)
Single beef patty, cheese, pickles, ketchup + American mustard. The beef patty was nice and juicy, plenty of cheese and gherkins and they got that ketchup and mustard Maccy-Ds combo going on. The chips were well seasoned, and I sat back and couldn’t really pick at anything really for £7.50 – I used to pay around £6 for a Burger King meal and was 9 times out of 10 disappointed with what turned up. The only thing I had a problem with was presentation and obviously you can see why.
A lot of people complain about the service being slow or the staff not knowing what’s going on most of the time, but I didn’t experience that. The lady who served me was an absolute delight, really friendly and always checked up on me – I was a lone ranger eating on my own and sometimes surrounded in a packed-out restaurant you can easily be forgotten about, but not here.
I certainly can’t say my experience with Fat Hippo was as bad that some people make out. I enjoyed my meal, I may have wobbled home and had a good sesh on the bog after it, but I was happily full. The problem with Fat Hippo is that it is completely over-shadowed by burger joints that don’t offer just “okay” burgers, they offer incredible burgers such as Meat Shack, Bonehead and OPM. Fat Hippo can’t compete with these big boys and so, I feel they can easily be forgotten. Many people have high expectations of Fat Hippo as well with their fast expansion and faithful following on social channels, I certainly was one of them. So, I can totally understand people being a bit miffed off that they are not getting the burger that is advertised and leave feeling they were expecting a bit more.
Would I go back again? Maybe not for a while, there are better options in the City but that doesn’t mean it should be totally struck off. Looking around in the restaurant people were enjoying it, they are willing to pay the prices and I feel Fat Hippo will follow in the footsteps of Five Guys. It’s fast food that doesn’t exactly break the bank and provides a pleasant enough dining experience, and for that you can’t grumble.