So I was in Oxford last weekend for a friend’s birthday (look out for my soon to be published review of the Oxford United V Rotherham United Match too) and I picked up a chick at some Jamaican bar where everyone was getting stoned – I think it was called HighLow Bar (geddit?) – and the day after we were going for food and she took me to this place called Atomic Burger near her house. She told me it was awesome but I wasn’t so sure. I mean, a good burger joint in Oxford? A good enough burger joint is hard to find anywhere in England, what were the chances of finding one in Oxford? And what do girls know about burgers anyway?
Anyway, I was immediately taken aback by how cool the place was when we walked up there.
Yeah, that’s right. The outside walls were illustrated with comic book covers and characters. Yeah, this is my kind of place. It got even better when we went in, there were action figures hanging off the ceilings, posters of cool people like Dr Who (Tom Baker version) and a big screen that played clips from cool movies like Gremlins and Star Wars while you were eating. At this point I was totally geeking out and talking about how this was the best date I had ever been on to the girl I was with, although I did fail to mention that it was probably the only date I’ve been on recently as well.
Even the menu had the same effort that had obviously been incorporated into the design of the building, with the names of the burgers relating to famous movie characters e.g. the JAKE AND ELWOOD was a burger that had BLUE CHEESE on it because of the BLUES BROTHERS, the BORIS KARLOFF was CREATE YOUR OWN because of FRANKENSTEIN etc. I settled on a DAISY DUKE (BBQ BACON) and my date disappointingly settled on a FORREST GUMP (PLAIN AND SIMPLE). I was buzzing over how cool the place was, but would the burgers live up to the establishment?
The answer was an emphatic YES. So many times I’ve ordered burgers at places like TGI Friday’s, Wetherspoons, O’Neill’s etc etc and have been disappointed by dry burgers, dry buns, badly cooked meat and just about everything that could have gone wrong with a burger to make it crappy, but Atomic Burger did it just right. The burger buns were toasted to just the right level, the burger’s were cooked to perfection and there was just enough topping on the burger that you could pick it up without it all falling out but not too little that you felt short changed/it wasn’t filling enough. Pretty much the perfect burger. I completely loved it. The burger was so good it even has me contemplating coming back to Oxford to see that girl again.
Another aspect of Atomic Burger that I found to be completely cool was the GODZILLA CHALLENGE. This is your typical All You Can Eat Kind of challenge (I say typical but only really cool places like Atomic Burger and Popina’s Leeds have cool challenges like this) where you have to eat a stacked burger with three burgers in it, three american cheeses and then jalapenos and a special hot sauce made out of the two hottest chilis in the world!! The sauce is so hot that you have to sign a legal disclaimer AND wear plastic gloves to eat it! And don’t forget the double portion of fries and milkshake! Here’s a video of some American guy eating the first ever Godzilla Burger. He really goes for it:
The best thing about the GODZILLA CHALLENGE though is that if you succeed you get your name written on the wall in the hall of fame and a free t-shirt saying that you beat the GODZILLA CHALLENGE. However, in a cruel twist of fate, if you fail the challenge then you get your name written on the wall in the hall of shame and a free t shirt saying that the GODZILLA CHALLENGE beat you! Brutal!
To be honest the burger and decor of Atomic Burger was probably enough to deliver a rating of Next Level anyway, but the existence of the GODZILLA CHALLENGE only cements the score and is indicative of the character that this place possesses. If you like burgers and you’re ever in Oxford I suggest you check it out.
I definitely plan on going back and taking part in the GODZILLA CHALLENGE so make sure you stay tuned for that.