HoH Food Hall has been going from strength to strength since opening in early December. We had a chat with Chris McWatt of Grilla Burger to get a flavour of what his chefs are cooking up in their new kitchen.
“I joined HoH Food Hall a few weeks after its official opening,” said Chris. I was running Your Creation near Queen’s Gardens at the time and decided it was an unmissable opportunity, so after having a chat on the Monday I opened up Grilla Burger on the Wednesday. It was a mad rush but we made it and we’ve been constantly busy ever since.”
Whilst Chris and his team had enjoyed success at Your Creation, the move to HoH Food Hall came with multiple benefits:
“I was working to a strict budget at the old premises but now I have amazing gas-powered grills. They add that incredible flame-grilled flavour that really makes a burger stand out. Being based inside HoH Food Hall also means we’re part of the community and we absolutely love it. Everyone is really supportive and it’s a vibrant social space where live music and events take place. If you haven’t visited yet, make sure to pop down as soon as you can.”
The last few years have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Chris. Having originally trained as a chef at college, he had multiple jobs in the industry before starting a role at Mecca Bingo as a team leader in the Food & Beverage department. After a few years he fancied a change and worked his way up to Product Manager for Mecca’s owner, the Rank Group. This came with the huge responsibility of growing a multimillion-pound business and travelling all around the UK.
“Then the pandemic kicked in,” said Chris. “I was made redundant and had to get a job stacking shelves in a supermarket. This gave me breathing room to properly think about what I really wanted to do, which was running my own kitchen. This led to Your Creation being born, which in turn resulted in Jack getting in touch about moving into HoH Food Hall and setting up Grilla Burger. It’s been a turbulent two years of very long hours and at one point I worked 106 days straight, but it all paid off.”
Now that word is spreading about Grilla Burger, Chris and his seven team members are busy welcoming visitors to the food hall and presenting a top-quality “build your own burger” experience.
Chris explains how it all works: “We have three burger types, which are Angus beef, grilled chicken breast, and a Quorn buttermilk chicken fillet as the vegan option. You can then choose as many toppings as you like, which include cheeses, hash browns, chilli jam, bacon, sauces and much more. You can double or even triple stack the burgers if you like, as we make sure you never go hungry.”
Grilla Burger also launched its breakfast offering today (Monday 17January), which includes brioche buns with bacon, sausage, mushrooms, poached and scrambled egg, and vegan options.
“It won’t be long until we add avocado on toast and a Full English to the breakfast menu,” said Chris. “Plus we’re planning to serve up pulled pork and beef brisket in the near future alongside our burgers. We’re starting off with a few specials and our menu will evolve according to what our customers fancy most.”
When you enter HoH Food Hall from the main entrance opposite Paragon Station, you’ll find Grilla Burger in the second pod on the left. They’re open 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 6pm on Sundays.
HoH Food Hall is organising an official launch party on Friday 21 January at 6pm, which invites everyone to pop down for some free samples, live music and good vibes.