Usually when a new place opens, I give it a couple of months to find its feet. There are always the initial teething issues (slow service, cold food, understaffed and usually too busy with people anxious to try the place first) so I avoid going until I feel that the place has well and truly settled and the initial crowds have died down. Please note this establishment is fully HMC Certified and is child friendly (with a prayer room located within the shopping centre).
On a wet and windy Thursday evening, I decided a trip to IceBurg was overdue (mostly because my husband had visited a few days prior WITHOUT me!). By chance, it coincided with a really overdue meeting with old school friends (seriously it had been years since I had seen them last). Seizing an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, I made plans to go out the night before. As the time to leave approached, I was filled with paralysing dread. What if we had nothing to talk about? What if we had nothing in common anymore? What if there were awkward silences in between people trying to make conversation? What if (the most painful one according to me) the food was bad? I was glad I didn’t have much time to dwell on these fears because I probably would have talked myself out of going. I mean I don’t mind being out of my comfort zone once in a while, but as I /get older, I tend to be less and less experimental and like to stick to familiar and comforting situations (and friends).
Luckily, my foray into the unknown (okay slight exaggeration/ I had known these people for 17/18 years) paid off. Have you ever had those types of friends who you don’t talk to forever but then when you see each other you pick up exactly where you left off? Well these friends are exactly like those. I had no idea what I was worrying about!
IceBurg, on the other hand left me bewildered to say in the least. I walked in, appreciating the layout and decor, modern (with all the concrete/ almost as if we weren’t in Preston/ which is definitely a compliment) simple, but clean. Downstairs was slightly more American Diner style, and nowhere near as beautiful as Heavenly Desserts (which I presume is owned by the same person as the waiters/waitresses were dressed in the same uniform), but it was okay (slightly darker than usual so difficult to take a good picture). (Update: I got to sit upstairs second time round and I have to say the ambience is a LOT better upstairs.)
The place was quite empty when we walked in so I was disappointed that we were seated downstairs (in the dungeon) instantly abolishing any hope I had of taking a decent picture. We were handed fairly standard looking Diner Menus (think Boondocks style menu/simple and efficient) and quickly browsed through the selections. I did ask the waitress a few questions, but unfortunately she seemed quite new and did not have extensive knowledge of the options available.
Instantly sussing out that the Ghostburg (yes, it is actually called that) probably contained some form of 28 day Dry Aged Beef, I opted for a chicken item instead. Wagyu and Angus were dancing in front of my eyes (screaming ‘pick me’, ‘pick me’), as was the Ghostburg (which came highly recommended from my husband/more about that later) but I could not muster up the courage to order a non-chicken item and decided it was time to see if there would ever be a decent premium chicken burger produced in Preston (the Blazing Crumb in Marco and Carl is good but I do find it a bit of a hit and miss). I instantly regretted going for the safe option as soon as I uttered the words ‘Classy Chick’ to the waitress (name of the item I ordered/this was not a compliment/insult however you would see it, to the waitress). There was no going back. My indecisiveness would probably come to haunt me later on. Reasoning that I could go again eased my self-doubts.
Everyone else aside from one friend opted for a Grillionaire (grilled chicken so dieting perhaps?) claiming it was a decent burger and well worth the £5.50 for a single grilled chicken. Personally, I have had enough grilled chicken burgers to last me a lifetime and would probably never order this if eating in. Sure the flavour is nice, but there are too many other exciting options available!
The ‘Classy Chick’ consisted of deep fried chicken (really can’t go wrong with deep fried chicken right?), cheese sauce, ‘magic seasoning’ (which seems to be in every burger) and a classic brioche bun (because you can’t have a premium burger without a brioche bun) seemed to tick all the boxes of a deep fried chicken burger. The brioche bun was slightly sweet and buttery and melted in my mouth. It complimented the fried chicken with its crispy coating and soft well fried chicken. I really wasn’t that hungry when I went (possibly nerves) but I managed to polish off the burger, refusing to stop eating (even when my stomach was crying out ‘nomore’), only because the chicken was so flavourful and well cooked. Every mouthful was a joy. The cost of this burger was merely starting from £6.50. I say starting from because (and this is where all the problems start) although my burger claimed to have ‘IceBurg sauce’ inside, I could find no evidence of any sauce inside the burger when it arrived. This lead me to compensate by purchasing additional sauces (I used two tubs costing £0.75 each) making the total cost of my burger £8.00. In Preston, £8.00 for a fried chicken burger is quite steep. If you’re going to charge that much (considering Marco & Carl’s Blazing Crumb is £8.90 and looks fabulous presented in a PROPER plate/ the taste is subjective) then I would expect it to look the part and not like a shabby takeaway burger available on every street corner. In terms of presentation and layout, I would expect a huge step up from what was currently being served, because all the burgers, bar the Ghostburg, looked pretty much like a takeaway burger.
I also opted for grilled chicken tenders (wishing there was a fried option) and promptly forgot about them as I was so enamoured with the ‘Classy Chick’ burger I was eating. By the time I realised I had ordered them, they were quite cold so I would find it unfair to review them properly. I could taste the tenderness of the grilled chicken and a decent flavour, but cold chicken, is well, just that.
The Chicken Wings and Cheese Sauce Fries were both extremely moreish. The succulent chicken wings with a crispy, spicy batter, alongside the crispy cheese sauce fries (with bits of chicken of course) were both a delight and definitely recommended.
We all chose mocktails and were quite surprised to see they were served in takeaway/slush style plastic cups with lids. The burgers came on very thin Mcdonalds/KFC style trays and the cutlery (Available on request as the tables were bare devoid of any type of sauce or cutlery) were plastic and the type available in every local kebab shop (not that there’s anything wrong with that but we were expecting some level of ‘premium’). The Mocktails in themselves were sweet and hit the spot especially when paired with the burger. But drinking from a plastic slush style cup made it feel more unappealing then it was.
The Ghostburg (kindly reviewed by my husband, who, I must mention once again, went first without me) was phenomenal. The chicken and beef patty with the generous lashings of sauce (which unfortunately wasn’t present in my chicken burger) could easily stand with the best burgers available in London (his words not mine). The burger is quite tall, so difficult to eat but he found that by removing the tomatoes (I mean, no need for fruit on a meat burger) he could easily bite into the burger. They did claim on the menu that they use ‘the best beef in the world’. This is quite a statement to make, although my husband did say his beef was, in his exact words, ‘on point’. The cows the Wagyu comes from are grass fed, free range and hormone free, which is definitely premium especially in terms of halal meat (where it is quite difficult to get premium cuts of meat).
IceBurg is also fully HMC certified making it appealing to the halal diners who are concerned about the source of the meat and chicken.
Overall, we had a fabulous meal and a fantastic catch-up. The conversation was great and the food. It was everything in between that let IceBurg down. Nobody minds paying for premium food (I mean where else would you get Wagyu and Angus that is HMC certified in Preston) but I do feel the concept has been somewhat confused and although I would order a takeaway from here, dining in the building did not leave a great impression due to the extremely odd (almost cost cutting/why can’t you take a leaf out of Heavenly’s book?) service and presentation of food. If this improved I would happily visit weekly as the lack of halal places to eat a good burger locally, are quite sparse!
For the food, I would say the place most certainly deserves a 4.5/5. For the service and ambience a 2/5 is probably closer to how we felt on the day. An improvement in speed of service (lucky we love to talk or it would have been annoying/ my husband would have probably walked away) would be excellent and we probably would have even ordered dessert had the service not been so slow. I may update this review when I visit again, but for now I would recommend trying the food without having much expectation of anything else (because if the food is great everything else can kind of be overlooked…)
Have you been here? What did you think? Comment below.