Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co., Eastbourne

Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co in Eastbourne is a total find – it’s laid back, the food is delicious and it’s super family-friendly with something for everyone.

We were in Eastbourne last Sunday for The Sooty Show. It was at a slightly awkward time given that we’re a 45 minute drive away and need to leave a bit extra time to allow for SatNav fails and unexpected small child issues. We decided that it was probably best to go early and take the girls for lunch. I haven’t been to Eastbourne since 2004, so I had no idea where we should go. A quick scroll through TripAdvisor and Google turned up Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co, which looked pretty perfect.

We rocked up on a pretty miserable windy Sunday lunchtime. From the outside it’s pretty unassuming so we were curious to find out what we were going to find inside.

The Restaurant

Old Dave’s is all dark blues, chipboard, walls of instax photos, neon lights and industrial furniture: a modern take on an American diner. It’s a bit rough round the edges and very cool. We had a choice of tables and settled on the one by the window. We arrived early, just before 12.30 when it was pretty quiet. By 1 it was bustling with groups of friends, young couples and families.

The Vibe

I loved how relaxed it felt, lots of chat, a mix of new and old rock music and friendly staff; we just got on with having a nice family lunch with no fuss. Would anyone judge our children for eating chips with their fingers and blowing bubbles in their drinks? Nope. And that’s a sure sign of somewhere family-friendly in my book.

The Menu

The menu is epic. There’s a choice of burgers, patties and a vast list of delicious sides. They were out of chicken tenders but that didn’t matter to us as we were all hankering after burgers.

The Drinks

We started with drinks: kids’ chocolate milkshakes for the girls, a coke for the other half and a Luscombe ginger beer for me. The girls were super happy with their milkshakes which were thick, chocolatey and delicious. They were served with chocolate sauce drizzled around the inside of the glass, a mound of whipped cream and chocolate powder sprinkled on top. I tried some (just to test, of course) and they were indeed delightfully delicious. A good old fashioned ice cream milkshake.

The Food

The mains came served on metal platters, all part of the industrial charm. Now let me tell you about the burgers…and while we’re here, move over GBK. First of all ❤️ that they serve the burgers with a huge gherkin on the top. I absolutely love gherkins. The big one hates them, so I had hers as well. Double win.

The Husband had a classic burger and chips with extra coleslaw, the big one had a kids’ burger and chips with extra cheese, the little one had mac and cheese (it came with extra chips but I’m not sure she ate any of them – the kids portions are mega) and I had the veggie delight with a beetroot and quinoa pattie and side of pad thai fries. The veggie comes with halloumi, homemade cucumber relish, sliced red onions, fire roasted red pepper ketchup and rocket. The burger was served in a delicious brioche bun. The pattie was really, really tasty and not at all limp or pathetic. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a nice vegan pattie before. But the star of the show? Pad thai fries without question. Moorish, delicious, spicy and like nothing I’ve ever eaten. Let me fill you in. Fries with pad thai sauce, sesame seeds, cashews, bean sprouts and coriander. Completely inspired. I almost felt like throwing myself down to the floor with a “we’re not worthy” Wayne’s World bow to the chef. I ate way more than I thought physically possible. I might just have to find an excuse to go back to Eastbourne to snaffle more of these delicious fries.

The portions are huge. I sacrificed most of my bun to make space for the fries and gave half of it to the little one. She destroyed her bowl of macaroni cheese but didn’t fancy her chips, so she polished off the brioche instead. She wasn’t keen on the big pile of crispy onions on top of her mac and cheese. I thought they were yummy, I just think they seemed unfamiliar to a 3 year old. She was happy to dig in once I’d picked the bulk of them off for her.

The big one ate about half of her burger, good going because it was a generous portion for a child.

We didn’t have pudding as the girls both wanted an ice cream at the theatre. Not to mention that they’d already had half of their chocolate milkshakes with lunch. We had coffees, which were no nonsense Americanos with Lotus biscuits on the side.

The Verdict

The girls meals were £1 (although we were charged an extra £1.50 for their milkshakes) with our adult mains and sides. My burger and pad thai fries was £13.50, soft drinks were a couple of quid each and the husband’s burger, chips and coleslaw was £12.50. It came to about £45 in total. The food was super tasty with lots of lovely local ingredients. The portions were massive. It was good value for money for 4 of us.

My only small criticism is that there isn’t anything to keep little ones entertained. I usually pack a colouring book or their iPads for when we’re eating out. But on this occasion I’d forgotten. The little one doesn’t go anywhere without her favourite Sylvanian family babies at the moment, so we had these on board to play with and the big one played a game on her dad’s phone. We usually rely on restaurants having colouring or something to keep them entertained. But that’s just our slack weekend parenting. It really wasn’t a problem, so this is a very tiny point. The girls weren’t bored or listless in the restaurant at all and our order came out quickly so we soon had something to keep hands and mouths occupied! But if we’d have stuck around longer, or if our food had been slower we could have been in slightly more tricky territory. It’s a good reminder to make sure I’ve got emergency colouring and stickers in my rucksack for the next time we eat out.

If you’re in Eastbourne, I’m very jealous! What an incredible burger joint. If we visit Eastbourne again, you’ll know where to find us.

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