Most new places we find, scrolling through picture-upon-picture on the varying social medias, get put on a general catalog of Tolstoyan length, sporadically updated and revised. But a small number of places, those that provoke near constant not-visited-yet anxiety, make a separate 'How The Fuck Do We Get Here As Soon As Possible??' shortlist. There is no rhyme or reason as to how places make the list, maybe an inexplicable criteria roughly comprised of Check That Hype + Looks Legit To Me exists, but OOWEE did. A visit to family in Cardiff provided an absolutely legitimate opportunity to take a brief detour through Bristol and tick one off the hallowed index.
We arrived ten minutes after opening time, uncertain that we'd found the right address until we spotted the lights inside the tiny place spilling out, Hopperesque, onto the skinny dark street packed full of cars. The former kebab shop/cafe was just big enough for four stools along the window and a queue of eager customers along the opposite wall. Some people patiently waited for orders outside. The team of three crammed behind the counter were hard at it, the grill boss cheerily chatting to familiar patrons as the patties cooked away. At the counter we were told the wait was already 40 minutes: 'People tend to order and go, then come back when the order is ready.' Fuck it, we were here now.
The menu is pretty lengthy considering the kitchen is so fucking tiny - burgers, chicken sandwiches, dressed fries and an array of other sides - it seemed like a gargantuan effort in the space allocated for it. But smash out the orders they did, and ours was ready bang on 40 minutes later.
The beauty of the Double C is in the simplicity. Two finely seared patties covered in the familiar American-style cheese slices, chunky slices of pickles underneath paddling in a tomato-based relish and American mustard, encased in a simple brioche style bun and all wrapped up to steam and meld everything together into a sticky, saucy soft unit of burger oneness.
The meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned just enough, the seared edges giving way to a gaping soft, submitting pink middle. The cheese provided that great tacky, gooey mediation between the meat and the sturdy-but-pliant bun, the relish/mustard combination oozed out into mouthfuls giving variations of a tangy and sweet note to every bite. The pickles offered their familiar piquant resistance in every bite. It was in every sense a great example of that classic cheeseburger experience that warms our cockles and gives that prickle of satisfaction. It brought back memories of other great experiences like the Double cheese at Irv's and early incarnations of Yianni's Meatwagon burgers.
The spirit and atmosphere of the place also brought back pangs of our #MEATeasy reminiscences: A bustling joint with a friendly bunch at the helm, slightly overwhelmed by the ever increasing throngs trying to get a piece of the meaty action, yet maintaining a form of organised chaos and getting proper quality burgers out. That a vibe like this is cracking in Bristol shows there is still life in the old burger yet, and it is much welcomed.
It is not difficult to see how this enterprise will move on to bigger things, but it'd be nice if they kept this joint going for a good while yet. We'd come back in the spring or summer; to see customers filling up the dinky street and pissing off the traffic, buying cans from the offy next door while they wait, and taking over the little square around the corner to eat their burgers. It'd be pretty sweet.