Today myself and the family went to the Fat Hippo restaurant here in Durham for a bite to eat. Fat Hippo sent us a £20.00 gift voucher to dine with them. I have always wanted to go and give it a try, I’ve seen mostly positive reviews and social media posts about the place so my hopes heading into this review are high.
We arrived an hour earlier than our booking due to having company a little later in the day, thankfully it was only 12.10 (they opened at 12) meaning it was not too busy when we got in. Firstly, the staff where very warming and took us straight through to the seating area, they said for us to leave our pushchairs near the front as they got us two highchairs. The highchairs were unlike other places and seemed more comfier unlike the wooden ones you get at many restaurants. I did notice on Lucy’s chair a mark which turned out to be dried tomato ketchup (Check pictures at bottom of blog) a bit of a disappointment in cleanliness due to us turning up rather early in the day which says to me they were not cleaned thoroughly the night before.
Food & Drink
I ordered the Texan Burger with Dirty Fries and also had a pint of Diet Pepsi, Nicky ordered The Fat Hippo Burger with hand cut chips and a Diet Coke, Holly and Lucy both had Cordial in a cup and also a Chicken Burger from the Kids menu. The service was very quick for food from kitchen to table and the portion size was good too. The Dirty Fries had their special fat hippo sauce with bacon on top and although in the picture it does not look like much the sauce was certainly more than enough. The burger itself for me had a tad too much BBQ Sauce which tainted any flavour of the whole burger. One thing I do love is Brioche buns much better than standard burger buns. The kids Burger was massive and could easily feed both our children, the chicken from what I tried was a bit tough especially for a kids meal however it was full of flavour. The hand cut chips I must admit were much tastier and better than the Dirty fries in which I got. Nicky said her burger was lovely especially the Fat Hippo sauce giving it another level flavour, however she did say that the burger reminded her of McDonalds… Not something I feel a restaurant would want to be compared with when it comes to food.
Restaurant and staff overview;
The place itself I was not a fan of, it is certainly more aimed at the massive student community in Durham rather than families. The seating arrangements made you feel very cramped especially having two children in bulky highchairs and would also not be suitable for wheelchair users. When you are dining you expect napkins of some sort not a roll of kitchen roll everyone had on their tables… never seen that in a restaurant before maybe points for being unique. The staff however were very polite especially the young lady who was serving us she was fantastic with our kids too. They do give children colouring in books and crayons which was a very nice touch and also entertains them while we dine. There’s another floor for seating which when I went to the gents also looked very cramped, the place did get extremely busy with students and young adults rather than families or older generation. I was surprised that such a place did not offer Wifi or at least my phone never picked up any wifi signal in the location. The toilets are two flights of stairs up however they were very clean toilets. I was unware if their was any disabled toilets on the ground floor however baby changing was on the second floor in the woman’s toilet.
The location of the restaurant is in Durham City centre as you head to the famous historic Cathedral, with easy access from the Bus station and train station. The very busy area is perfect for students who do have colleges and accommodation just up the road.
For the time we went our meal came up to £26.60. All we had to pay was £6.60 due to being sent a £20.00 gift voucher. The price is broken down below for you.
- 2 Cordial – £1.00
- Diet Pepsi (Pint) – £2.80
- Diet Coke – £2.30
- House Slaw – £2.50
- Chicken Burger KIDS – £5.00
- Little Texas – £6.00 + £1.00 for Dirty Fries
- Little Hippo – £6.00
- Total Inc Tax – £26.60
I thought the price for the meal of the burger and chips and the kids meals was not bad priced, however the cost of £2.50 for House Slaw was a bit steep and £1.00 extra for Dirty Fries not worth it. Kids Burgers were £1.00 cheaper yet just the same size.
After taking everything into consideration on my dining experience at Fat Hippo Durham I must admit I’m very disappointed. The Burger and chips were well priced for Durham however I feel the House Slaw and Dirty Fries were certainly not worth the extra money. The chip on the top of the baby cups was a massive NO and in fact should never be served to customers or even staff for that matter. Cracks / chips such as them could harbour bacteria but also if they are sharp could cut and hurt someone especially children. The poorly cleaned baby seat started the whole dining experience badly however it was quickly made up for with the terrific customer service.
My rating for each area are listed below.
- Customer Service – 8/10 – Good service but let down by one member of staff at the end
- Seating area – 6/10 – Very Cramped
- Cleanliness – 4/10 – Dirty Baby Seats & a chip in baby cup
- Food – 8/10 – Let down by too much bbq sauce in my burger tainting the taste
- Pricing – 8/10 – Good pricing however let down by the sides
- OVERALL – 6/10 – I wont be looking at returning anytime soon however if you’re a student this place is the place to be it seems.