Who are they?
The Pippin is an attractive chain gastropub on the main road into and out of Maidstone, Kent. I wasn't journeying into Kent for the sole purpose of finding burgers; far from it! The only reason I was in town was for a wedding at a weekend and after driving down a day early, the missus and I had clocked the place on the way to the hotel and as we were in need of sustenance, we both thought it better than risking the hotel's bar for a bite to eat and looked more appealing than other pubs we had passed along the way.
Located in a fairly quiet part of town, aside from the line of slow moving traffic, when we parked up and entered there were only about a dozen tables inside and outside taken by other customers and I expect that most of the trade comes at the weekend. As a result, service was swift and friendly, with bar staff positively raring to do anything other than play on their phones.
The burgers on offer looked pretty good, with a big selection of choices and large enough to satisfy a fairly large sized hunger without breaking the bank balance. Add a beer on top to cool down after a hot day stuck in the car and I wasn't going to say no to an attractive offering! After mulling over the various offerings, I opted for the beef shortrib burger and some additional fried pickles to join the fries and coleslaw that the burger came with. These are dutifully served on an attractive white platter, with plenty of space to pick it apart at your leisure, and at first glance seems like a pretty solid choice with plenty to get through - especially with the additional onion rings on top (did I mention I hadn't eaten since 5am and this was a late lunch?)
However, appearances can be deceiving and as when we started to pick apart the burger certain things became obvious. For one, the burger pulls the old trick of looking large but this is because of the overly large brioche bun that encases the rather lackluster patty, both in size and taste. As expected of a burger from a chain pub, this is nothing special, a catering grade example of a patty that could have probably done with a bit more seasoning.
The sides were equally a disappointing affair The rather expensive £2 pickles are woefully inadequate in stature; mine came with a half dozen small breaded pickles so overcooked to leave the innards nearly bone dry. The pair of battered onion rings came with so little onion and so much soggy batter as to be non-existent. Admittedly it's quite a lot of food and a beer to boot, but this is quite clearly a case of more filler than killer.
It's a beer and a burger for £10, dressed up to look better than it tastes. Granted, I shouldn't expect much from a chain pub but at least here what it lacks in quality it tries to make up in quantity
Where can I find them?