Butch Annie's vibe is somewhere between punk speakeasy and hipster-bunkerInstagram/@butchannies

Butch Annie’s is a regular haunt of students and townies alike, and no wonder, it’s the latest in an ever-growing list of fashionable gourmet burger joints, with chains like Byron and Five Guys leading the charge. An independent counterpart to these mainstays of any middle-class high street, Butch Annie’s is nestled underground on Market Street, just off the Market Square in the very centre of Cambridge.

With its subterranean setting, low ceilings, prominent bar and liberally graffiti-ed walls, the vibe is somewhere between punk speakeasy and hipster-bunker. Seating varies from bar stools at long tables and rather comfier cushioned booths to somewhat more utilitarian wooden chairs at shabby-chic tables. I settled for the latter, nestled in a somewhat crowded corner, the only available space on a busy Saturday evening. After all, if you’re not being kept alert by a wooden church pew-like perch, can you really, truly enjoy the food? For all my gripes with the slightly manufactured sense of rough-hewn individuality, I do really rather like the place. There’s something comforting about the atmosphere, in spite of the slightly pumped-up music, and an even dare I say pub-like cosiness to the place.

“For practically the same price as a Byron or Five Guys meal, you can indulge in a little bit more style and panache”

Their menu boasts an impressive number of twists on the classic beef burger – from the quirky ‘Smoky Joe’, with smoked cheese and cranberry jam, to the more decadent ‘Truffle Hunter’, adorned with Gruyère, Date and Walnut jam and honey and truffle mayonnaise. Erring on the conservative side, I chose the ‘Ooh La La’, which comes topped with rocket, mature cheddar, garlic mayo, onion, tomato, and gherkin. Each menu entry proclaims the meat as ‘Prime Beef’, and their suppliers Royal Warrant is shown off too, but the burger has no problem in meeting these lofty expectations.

I’ve sometimes found the patty itself in high-street chains to be the forgotten centrepiece of a burger – often over-cooked and under-seasoned and left trailing behind a long list of auxiliary toppings. However, at Butch Annie’s mine was cooked to a mouth-watering medium-rare, tender and juicy but retaining a satisfying meatiness. It’s accompaniments served only to enhance the experience – making each bite a delightfully moreish sensation of flavour. I opted for the 170g classic size burger, but if you’re breaking a particularly stringent fast then you can ‘Go Butch’ and upgrade to the 255g burger, a colossal and gloriously monumental construction that arrives on it’s own wooden board.


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As I was feeling unseasonably healthy, I chose to skip the skin-on chips and ordered a side of the celeriac and apple slaw and one of pickles. Despite my persistent cynicism about apple on otherwise savoury food, the slaw was a well-balanced and mild medley of vegetables, with the apple providing a semi-sweet crispness to cut through the light yet creamy dressing. The pickles meanwhile, a mix of gherkin, cauliflower, carrot and fennel bulb gave just the sharp bursting hit of vinegar needed to cut through the rich and filling burger.

To drink, Butch Annie’s offers an extensive list of ales, from the UK and further afield. Indulging my sweet tooth though, I ordered a rather different poison – the ‘Dirty Cow’– a frozen vanilla milkshake with a healthy shot of bourbon included. The chilling ice cream shake and the warming bourbon was a pleasant blend, though I’d certainly recommend it more as a dessert than a drink – a tad heavy for me with the rest of the meal.

Overall, Butch Annie’s provides a boutique burger spot with personality – for practically the same price as a Byron or Five Guys meal, you can indulge in a little bit more style and panache – plus you can support an independent restaurant at the same time. If a sit-down meal isn’t your thing and you fancy a treat at home, Butch Annie’s also caters for takeaway, and is available on Deliveroo.

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