Despite being the first person to defend the honor of Stoke on Trent to ‘outsiders’ I must admit, the one thing the city has always lacked in is quality, quick eats. Granted, the addition of The Hive to Intu Potteries has helped a little with the quick hangover lunch, and we do now have the coffee spot tsp. and new pizza place Klay in the mix… But when you compare Hanley to the likes of The Northern Quarter in Manchester, we are still lagging behind quite a bit with independent places with a touch of local character. But never fear! The future is bright for the food lovers of Stoke and there are some hidden treasures if you’re after a sneaky burger the lunch time after the night before.
The Exchange, Stoke on Trent
The Exchange in Hanley used to be home to Fat Cats, which during its time did do some pretty nice cocktails and some pretty good food. When that closed down some local folk decided that the building was just too frigging beautiful to leave empty. So they clubbed together and re-opened as independent bar and kitchen – The Exchange.
Browsing through the menu, I was pretty surprised at the selection they had on offer. With Sandwiches, burgers and classic meals galore, it was kind of hard to choose, but in the spirit of getting the full experience, I went for the Build That Burger menu and chose a classic beef burger on a brioche bun, complete with bacon, goats cheese and hot sauce. Hangover cure, ahoy. Alongside this, I also went for the Rock n Roll fries, which was a delicious mix of skin-on fries with cheese, bacon and seasoning throughout. The generous bowl full of these bad boys kept me full well in to the evening and I could eat them again ad again. In fact, I’m craving some right now. This is the exact reason why Stoke needs Deliveroo. Immediately.
The burger itself was pretty much exactly what it said on the tin. A soft brioche bap with creamy goats cheese, complimented by bacon and a super hot sauce. I’m no Cilla Black, but this bad boy with the Rock n Roll fries was a match made in absolute heaven. The concept of building your own burger was simple. You choose you ‘base’ from the menu, with your choice of bun for £5.95 and then you add as many toppings as you like for £1 each. My only slight criticism of the burger was the beef burger itself. Don’t get me wrong, it was by no means bad, but I would just love it to be a lovely juicy, medium rare burger which didn’t even need a lick of sauce because it was so melt-in-your-mouth already. But hey, that’s just me and my penchant for juicy burgers talking. Despite that, the entire thing was a total win and I would go back again and again.
If you’re ever in Stoke on Trent and fancy supporting independent businesses in the best way possible, then head straight to The Exchange for friendly service and lovely food at a purse friendly price.