“ Address: 10 S Tay St / Dundee / Dundee City DD1 1PA / United Kingdom „
===Brothers with arms===
Last month was June (at least it was at the time of writing this) which means a few things of varying importance. At the top of the July List for me is my littlest brother's birthday which I am told turned him 22. This of course is a spurious lie because I couldn't possibly have a little brother that age. He is in fact (at least in my mind) still 16 years old, completely innocent and busy cooling butter in his mouth. Where this delusion came from I'm not entirely sure since my little brother was never even close to being angelic at that age. Oh well. Either way, I'm not old, ok? Good. Being that it was his birthday, he'd asked my Dad to arrange a meal. Due to everywhere else being too busy, we ended up booking a little place in Dundee called Ketchup which specialises in burgers.
Ketchup is situated on South Tay Street (10 South Tay Street, Dundee, DD1 1PA), which is pretty much slap bang in Dundee City Centre. As such you have a bunch of options available to you to get there. There are pay-and-display car parks very close by and the whole street is able to be parked on for free after 6pm at night. The street, however, is usually quite full. If you're going on a night out, you'll probably not want to be driving anyway, so a taxi or a bus is always an option with the nearest clusters of bus stations being about a five minute walk away.
Disabled access is available in a round about way by entering via the side doors on the pub next to Ketchup called The Social. There are no disabled toilets that I've ever seen on the level that you come in at though, so I'd be dubious about your evening if you are in a wheelchair as the only toilets I've seen are down two flights of stairs.
If you prefer not to sit in, you can order your food in advance and pick it up by calling 0845 659 5902. How handy.
As I mentioned, Ketchup is joined to the pub "next door" called The Social. In fact, it's more than joined. It's the same place. The Social used to have one giant square bar. There were two entrances on the front and one on the side and everything that wasn't the bar was comfy seating. A good few years back they decided to decorate a small section of it differently and call it "Ketchup". There are no dividers to close the place off to the pub. It really is just an area with different seating and different menus to The Social's pub grub(ish) menu. As such that means that you can hear all the noise and commotion of The Social without any hindrance while you sit down to eat your meal. This is not something I have ever liked about the layout as it leaves your meal open to some drunken lout screaming about his bodily functions. Not exactly a great ambience. Throw in that the music in the place is terrible and it's positively uncomfortable on the ears. They tend not to play anything recognisable, instead opting for what sounds like a Casio keyboard backing track of drums and snare on constant repeat. Dull, boring and pointless.
Talking of being uncomfortable, The Ketchup area really hasn't gotten the hang of seating. You can opt for either a table or a cubicle. The cubicle seats six people if you really don't mind close bodily contact with the rest of your party. They are also all in a row, so if your party is more than six and there are no other tables available, you'll be separated and won't be able to see each other during the course of your meal which is a bit of a shame. There are spotlights in each cubicle that heat them to roughly the temperature of the sun, making your close body contact situation that much more fragrant. Fabulous. The only thing that can make it better is when someone at the back of the cubicle needs out. Everyone UP! MOVE PLACES!!
If you are lucky enough to be seated at a table, you'll not be out of the woods seating wise just yet. You'll have much more arm room but you will find yourself sharing a bench with the person next to you. The tables have two-seater benches around them which means if one of you needs to get up, you both need to get up, much like the cubicles. It also means you can't really set your seat at a distance that is suitable for you as you have another person to consider. Mostly though, the worst part of them is that they are just wooden benches which mean after sitting on them for a meal your backside will feel like you've been dead-legged right on your butt-cheeks. Huzzah.
Now, you may have noticed that I've been pretty negative so far. I had actually been to The Social/Ketchup previously and had a colourful experience. A group of us were out celebrating our friend's new found freedom from paying debts accrued by an evil ex of hers. We'd decided to go for a meal and were promptly separated into the booths. After a long unattended wait we finally ordered our food, taking it in shifts to move out to the cold air outside to cool down. After waiting an hour and a half on our food (really) I actually really enjoyed my pasta dish (that was completely overpriced). To add insult to injury, however, most of the group's meals turned out to be quite disgusting. Undercooked, overcooked, flavourless and just plain gross all featured on our table. We complained, the waitress seeming quite blasé blaming it on the fact they had a table for 100 just through the room. Protests went up from us telling the waitress that if they can't handle the numbers then they shouldn't have told us we could have a table and they certainly shouldn't be ignoring everyone else. We got a free round of drinks out of it...which took half an hour to arrive. Another complaint, this time to the manager and we got 25% off our meal, most of us having not eaten a lot of it anyway. Allan and I vowed never to go back. Imagine my sheer joy when my Dad told me he'd booked the place.
Forever the optimist, I decided I'd give them a second chance. Gripes with seating aside, I had enjoyed my food (though I was a minority of one from the table of 12). Allan and I turned up and went inside to find my brother, my cousin and my dad waiting on us politely. The table was now quite obviously full. Fifteen minutes later we found ourselves quite confused. There were no table numbers and everyone else seemed to be getting served. We ended up having to ask a waitress if we had to go to the bar to order food and drinks. She got a little snotty with us and then decided to take our order telling us she thought we were waiting on someone else. No excuse not to take a drinks order at the very least, but hey ho.
===Warm and cosy===
Our table ordered two cokes, a diet Irn Bru a chocolate milkshake and a strawberry milkshake. The Coke and Irn Bru came in their original and tiny glass bottles (which I assume makes up for the £2.50 price tag??) and upon first sip my Dad almost spat his out. I thought he was just being fussy when he proclaimed that it was warm. My Irn Bru wasn't cold but it wasn't cosy either. Upon having a sip on his insistence it did indeed taste like someone had kept the bottle in their back pocket all day. Gross. Allan's was the same. £2.50 for warm Coke? No thanks.
Kyle (the little brother) and Connor (the little cousin) ordered the milkshakes which came, rather quirkily, in milk bottles. This meant that they were quite big milkshakes. I got a taste of them both and we all agreed that they tasted exactly like angel delight that hadn't been allowed to set yet. That's not a bad thing but it did make us all wonder why they charge £2.95 for some milk and a packet of angel delight. Still, quite tasty, just a bit expensive. For that much I'd expect some real chocolate or strawberries.
===Start your complaining===
Three of us had starters and we all went for the same thing; Hand Battered Mini Mozzarella balls (£3.95). Thankfully we didn't have to wait more than five minutes for the starters to arrive. At least, two of us didn't have to wait more than five minutes. Serendipity dictated that my course didn't turn up. The waitress bounced out of the kitchen a few minutes later and explained that they had somehow not noticed that it was three orders and that I'd get mine soon. That gave me time to look at the other two's food and notice that the balls (which were served in a bowlful of wilting lettuce) were bread-crumbed, not battered as the menu states. Hmm.
Meanwhile little bro looked around trying to figure out how he was to eat his food without a fork and knife as none had been put on the table and there was no stand to go and collect your own. He instead opted just to use his fingers after letting the balls cool down a bit. When my portion arrived I didn't even need to wait as they weren't all that hot. They actually looked like they'd been dipped in a fryer for about two seconds. Who cares? It's only cheese! I battered into them (or should I say bread-crumbed into them?) dipping them in the garlic mayo that had come with them. As I was doing so, my cousin and my brother both commented that they tasted of absolutely nothing. They were correct. The garlic mayo was the only thing with any flavour at all. I was starving so I ate it all. Garlic makes everything better. First course down and both my cousin and brother weren't incredibly impressed. Sad times. At least they were fairly cheap.
Being a burger bar, the main bulk of the menu consists of burgers. Don't worry too much, though, they have burgers of every kind. Chicken, lamb, venison, beef and vegetarian burgers are all in there. There is even a small section with things for people who don't like burgers that has chilli, fish and chips, salads and wraps. If you are really worried though, you can ask for a menu for The Social as it all comes out of the same kitchen. That's great if you are with anyone who is a little on the fussy side.
The only thing that I was fussy about was the price. The cheapest burger on their menu is £6.95. The cheapest veggie option is £7.95 for baked goats cheese and red onion marmalade which, in my opinion, is a starter, not a main meal. One or two fall in at the £8.95 mark. Most burgers, however, come in at £9.95, with the venison burger coming in at a whopping £10.95. If you are eagle eyed you may also notice that they burgers don't come with anything else. If you want to add a side of chips on, you can bump your price up by £1.25 for each portion. Any additional toppings on your burger? Add 75p on each. That means that even the cheapest meal on the menu could easily end up being £8.20 if you want chips too. Personally, I can't usually bring myself to pay that much for a burger.
The burgers came on a fancy little board with a pot of coleslaw. These burgers weren't your run of the mill McTerrible burgers. The bread is really nice, the stuff in the middle (whatever you choose) is neatly stacked and the whole thing is artfully skewered so that it stays in place. The only problem I came across here is that the burgers are stacked so tall that it's impossible to get them into your mouth unless you chop them up... which brings me nicely to my next moan.
Still no forks and knifes had appeared. Upon catching a waiter's attention we asked him if we could have some forks and knifes. He rather awkwardly joked (in tone that said he didn't give two hoots) that it would probably be a good idea and went off to the kitchen. Cousin and brother had went outside to smoke (filthy habit) while they waited. Upon arriving back with the cutlery the awkward waiter promptly piled it in the middle of the table and left. I got the pleasure of having to set the table for him instead. How nice.
I went with Zorbas Greek Burger which was a lamb burger with Greek herbs, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce (£9.95) and chips. I have to admit, the burger was good. It threw me back to our Greek holiday and was entirely pleasant. I wouldn't, however, say that it was worth the money I paid for it. It was nice, but I could have had the same flavour a lot cheaper with a lamb kebab and a pot of dip.
Dad went with the Who Killed Bambi burger (£10.95) which was Venison and red berry burger with apple chutney. After declaring "is that ALL?" when the waiter had left, Dad also said that his burger was nice but that he would have expected a lot more for the hefty price tag.
Allan had a Bacon Cheeseburger (£7.95) and basically came to the exact same conclusion that Dad and I did. Nice, but not worth the money. Kyle and Connor had an Ultimate Burger (£8.95 which was a chicken and bacon burger) and The Original burger (£6.95 for just a normal burger with cheese and tomatoes) and both arrived at the "nice but the price" conclusion.
To make it that much stranger, the awkward waiter came over no less than three times in ten minutes with his right hand's thumb in the air and a creepy grin on his face to ask if the meal was ok and stare for a little longer than he really needed to. Three times? For a burger? What?!? Continuing the rule of three, we also had to ask him three times to get the bill, the third time my Dad simply followed him up to the till. The waiter really just creeped us all out a bit.
The restaurant welcomes children which I only realised from spotting the small box of toys stashed behind our seat. I wouldn't say it would be the best place to take them though. It's not huge and there are a lot of sharp table corners and hard floors about. Even thought they had a box of toys they didn't really provide anywhere for kids to play with them other than at their table. There is also some colouring activities on the back of the menus so your child can colour in a burger if they want, I assume you would just need to ask the staff for pens. So, kids are welcome but it's not really all that kid friendly an environment, especially with the pub being arms length away.
===The Toilets ===
Always a thing that can lose points and I knew before I walked in that the toilets would lose them as I've never once seen them fully functional and clean. Once I almost get peed on from a very drunk (and at least good looking) when he turned round from the urinal when I walked in, parts in hand. This visit, one of the cubicles lights were out, the floors were soaked and the place smelled. Points off right away. As mentioned before there are two flights of stairs to get down to them which isn't good for disabled customers. You then have to walk down a corridor and keep your eye out so that you don't walk into the kitchen. On this occasion the door (which is too close to the door for the toilets for you to feel clean about) was propped open; my Dad almost went right in.
My first visit produced 12 zero out of five marks. Kyle and Connor both requested that I describe the service as f*****g abysmal. Dad couldn't believe the price of the place. Allan and I simply vowed again never to go back. The meals aren't worth the money you'll pay and the drinks are completely overpriced. I will give them one star for the fact the food didn't actually taste bad this time round but the terrible service, snippy waitresses and bizarre waiters who can't seem to concentrate on getting stuff done mixed with the awful toilets mean that it's sticking at the one star out of five mark. Not a place I would recommend, especially considering South Tay Street has some fantastic restaurants on and around it.