Rumpus is a smart choice if you are after a good burger, writes Amanda Wragg, but says a bit more customer service training would not go amiss.

Rumpus, Slaithwaite
Drinks selection65%
67%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (8 Votes)

In the endlessly rotating cycle of food trends, the humble burger is having its day. Sliders, patties, Bad Boys, dirty burgers, they’ve been around longer than you think and there are several claims to their origin.
The food writer Hannah Glasse included a recipe in her 1758 book The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy for the “Hamburg sausage”,’ which advised serving it “roasted with toasted bread under it”. I like the one that dates them in the mid-1800s, supposedly eaten by emigrants on their way to the US on the Hamburg America Line. I make no apologies for my shady secret – a Big Mac as the hangover cure. It doesn’t work; I just live in hope that one day it will.
I’m not sure I know the difference between the zeitgeisty “dirty” burger and a “clean” one; they’re all a bit mucky, what with the melted cheese, fried onions and general artery-clogging fat and carbs combo. Much is made in the Sunday supplements of clean eating, but I’ve had it with being finger-wagged by lithe, tousled blondes, and anyway what is dirty food? Back in the day we called it junk food, and it’s what you bought from the van at 3am outside the nightclub in a vain attempt to soak up alcohol.
The last time I looked, Slaithwaite was a sleepy town with a couple of bric a brac shops, an Open All Hours hardware store and the fabulous Handmade Bakery. On a damp Saturday afternoon, Storm Hannah is rampaging through the Pennines, but it doesn’t seem to be putting the punters off. The joint is jumping with groups of lads walking round town and standing outside the pubs smoking.

Occupying a former public loo (though you wouldn’t know it), Rumpus is a handsome, stylish stone-glass-and-wood box serving up “artisan” burgers, and nothing else. Downstairs is the kitchen, open to view as you wait for your table upstairs. It’s basically a corridor but the space has been cleverly optimised. We’re 20 minutes early for our 4.30pm booking (the only time they had left!) but can’t go upstairs and have a drink even though there are a couple of empty tables, we notice as we face the elements to kill half an hour. The booking system is online, and you’re told how long you can stay – in our case, “you have been allocated a table until 17.44”, which is weirdly specific. Anyhow, back we come and it’s all good. Winding wooden stairs take you to the glass box with great views over the town. There’s a fair amount of cow-related stuff – tanned hide throws, chairs upholstered in skins with “Rumpus” stitched in red on them. Stools are milk churns covered in leather and there’s a vintage tractor nailed to a wall. It’s rustic but stylish; let’s call it farmyard chic.
If you like to know where your beef is coming from, you’re in luck. You can practically see the Longhorns trotting down the road from the Garside family farm. You couldn’t get more field to fork. Longhorns are now classed as a rare breed despite being recognised for centuries for the intense flavour of their fabulously marbled meat. There are a dozen burgers to choose from including Tex Mex, Fear the Beast, Naked and Mini Moo. The Tikka Taaj and Rooster are chicken, not beef and there’s The Allotment made with falafel, hummus and halloumi for the non-meaters.

Onion Bhajis and Slaw

We kick off with onion bhajis, four very good mouthfuls dipped into a spiky, creamy curry sauce. If the Longhorn (smoked cheddar, caramelised onions, streaky bacon) is one of the standards, I shudder to think what Fear the Beast delivers. They’re not those foot high burgers you see on Instagram, but they still take some tackling. The flavour and texture is good. I loved the halloumi fries (£3 upgrade) and the fragrant house slaw but the onion rings had me beat.
The excellent Black & Blue is swathed in a huge amount of blue cheese and the field mushroom is a saucer. You’re really not going to go home hungry.
Our time is up and we’re asked very politely if we’re done. As usual, I’ve started writing this review in my head as we go down to pay. Great burgers, great space and it’s a lot of fun etc. Then it all comes a bit unstuck. I’m at the till paying and there are three lads behind me waiting to go upstairs and they’re effing and jeffing. I turn round and whisper: “Keep it down lads, please.” They step it up. I turn again and say a bit louder: “Please boys, there are kids in here”. Up the volume goes again and one is just saying the F word over and over. People in the queue are starting to shuffle uncomfortably. I look to the waiter at the till totting up our bill to back me up and he drops his head, unwilling to engage. Now. You can’t control who comes into your restaurant. You take a booking in good faith. But you can and should intervene in a situation like this; no one wants this kind of language in a restaurant at any time of the day or night.

The Longhorn Burger with regular fries.

So, there it is. Good burgers, cool gaff. But some customer service training is required.
Rumpus, 7 Church Street, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AS, 01484 841 979, Monday: closed; Tuesday to Thursday: 4.30 to 8.30pm; Friday and Saturday: 12 to 9pm; Sunday: 12 to 8pm.

About The Author

Mandy Wragg is a freelance food journalist, writing and inspecting for the Yorkshire Post, Alastair Sawday, the Morning Advertiser, the AA, Cool Places and David Hancock's Inn Places. She co-writes, an independent guide to eating, drinking and staying in Yorkshire.

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