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24 February 2015

Get Baked - The Joint, Leeds

If you live in Leeds, you’ve heard of Get Baked. It’s like a food cult – each delicious bite of either burger or cheesecake baptising you into the Holy land. Started by a dude in his Mum’s house a few years ago as a dessert delivery service, it’s garnered a massive following, thanks both to its grub and also to its hilarious, down-to-earth social media output. 48,000 likes on Facebook is a force to be reckoned with. Now, hallelujah, praise the lord: Get Baked has opened its own restaurant, aptly titled The Joint.

The location is really clever. In the grave of former club Halo, it’s nestled slap-bang in the student heartland in-between Leeds Met University (sorry, Beckett) and the University of Leeds, as well as halfway between the deepest depths of student-ville and the city centre – central for pretty much all metropolitan clientele. Also, just the fact that’s in a church is pretty fucking cool.

As soon as you enter the premises, the words “Free Food Tomorrow” blaze in a deep ketchup red. The joke’s on you, though. The munch IS gonna cost you – today, tomorrow, and next year – BUT, compared to the spate of similar burger palaces that have cropped up recently (MeatLiquor, Almost Famous…), it’s reasonably priced. Not cheap, but not out of the student loan budget.

Inside, visually the d├ęcor is akin to a warped funfair meets Saved By the Bell. There are American diner booths, chandeliers, a red phone box, and iconic figures on the wall such as Kurt Cobain and Macauley Culkin (pre-Pizza Underground) looming over your head. The waitresses and waiters look like students. Like, that’s their ACTUAL uniform, wearing hoodies with ‘Get Baked’ emblazoned on the back, just for emphasis. Everyone’s friendly and cheerful, zooming around bringing a vibrant energy to the dimly-lit (tres on trend), casually chaotic, open-plan restaurant.

One of the things that The Joint offers that ups the delivery service’s game is the drinks menu. Old favourites remain, but new inventive cocktails further the funfair aesthetic. Clown Shoes is a blend of Absolut kurrant, absolut mandarin, crapple juice, candy floss syrup, and egg white. You get a little bottle of everything, that’s very Alice in Wonderland-esque, plus a champagne flute with candy floss in. Once you pour the bottle into your glass, you get a smooth, sweet, pink drink, and a spectacle. The Grandpa’s Special Candy blends together Werther’s infused Wild Turkey, a fig caramel ice cream float, and a glass coke bottle. With beverages so theatrical, the main act looks set not to disappoint.

In a homage to Breaking Bad, a TV series that's obviously a major influence for the man behind the Get Baked machine, the Hermanos burger comes roaring off of the menu in a sweet, sweet rage of fried chicken, blue cheese, maple syrup candied bacon, and franch. It’s hard to know what franch really is, but who cares when it tastes so good?  The Head for the Border burger is another highlight, with beef, cheese, crispy bacon, peanut butter, a fried egg and BBQ sauce. It could’ve done with a little bit more peanut butter, just to add some more crunch, but like the Promiseland that lurks over the border – it’s tantalising and irresistible. 

What’s nice about these burgers apart from the fact they’re juicy, fabulous, and a great medley of ingredients, is that they’re the perfect size. There’s nothing worse than coming face to face with a patty showdown, knowing exactly how it’s going to end – with sauce all down your front, and onions in your hair. You shouldn’t have to cut or squish a burger to be able to eat it. Equally, you don’t want to be able to gobble down your 8 quid burger in one bite. The Joint provides a heavenly happy medium. Other menu winners include the Pigzipper Fries, which consist of skin-on, wake-‘n’-bacon (lol), and baconnaise, along with the Full Girlfriend Experience, slathered in spicy sausage, red onion and jalapeno naughty sauce. Are you dribbling yet?

If the burgers can be equated to really great meth – just wait for it – then the chicken would be Heisenberg’s finest. The cream of the blue crop. The Blame Canada variety comes marinated in maple syrup, sea salt, and sesame. These aren’t just your run of the mill chicken wings; they’re softly fried, in what can only be described as doughnut batter. They’re sweet yet salty – wrong yet SO so right. The Hot Legs option variety comes basted in sriracha, butter, and spring onions, for a spicier kick. Sriracha Rules Everything Around Me (S.R.E.A.M).

Finally, it’s dessert time. It’s hard to pick out of the Bong Appetit and the You’ll Have to Speak Up, I’m Wearing a Towel ice cream sundae, but we opt for the S’mores cheesecake, which consists of chocolate biscuit, Nutella, and toasted marshmallows. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

There’s been A LOT of publicity surrounding The Joint’s opening. One blogger recently referred to the restaurant as an “intricately choreographed rebellion-by-committee,” a pinnacle of “all-inclusive safe-edginess” (Cous Cous Bang Bang). Reviews like this, apart from being critical it seems for the sake of it, are slightly missing the point, no? 

This isn’t Byron Burger we’re talking about, or some bland 'hipster'-esque chain. People – not just the stoners and students at its core – have been flocking to The Joint in their droves because they like the food and they feel an affinity with the brand, built from humble beginnings by a West Yorkshireman with a dream (and a love of Mary Jane). The man at the helm may divide opinion -- especially after his recent rage at the before mentioned blogger -- but, even still, who wouldn’t want to support a home-grown Leeds independent business? 

 I didn’t go to The Joint for exposed brick, pretentious light fittings, and finger food – I went to get inside the flavourful world of Leeds’ very own Walter White, and I’m not afraid to say I liked it.


  1. Wow this is one of the best restaurant reviews I've ever read! So entertaining! And even though I just had my breakfast I feel hungry again! Ha. Next time I'm in need of a burger I shall give them a go :)

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