Fat Hippo: rustic, messy, feel good food

By Nick Searle-Donoso.

Illustration by Alice Healy

The rustic exterior, the matt-black charcoal interior, the eclectic genre-switching indie music, the neon-outlined hippo, the ominous leather belts, the chained lamps, the harshly uneven brick walls, the cracked oak tables, the suggestive kitchen roll, the newspaper-adorned baking trays, the ‘PB & Double J’, the satisfyingly juicy burger, the saltiness and sweetness of bacon jam, the fluffy brioche bun, the laughably impotent burger stick, the skin-edged hand-cut skinny fries, the light smokiness of chilli ‘jello’, the dripping cheese, the gratifying lack of an unnecessary side salad, the squeezy bottle-dispensed mayo, the salty crunch of peanut butter, the claggy mess, the disintegrating newspaper, the uncomfortably greasy fingers, the slowly shrinking circumference of kitchen roll, the expanding stomach, the parched mouth, the indulgence, the luxury, the hedonism, the satisfaction… 

This was my experience of Fat Hippo pre-COVID. Since then, I decided to try the take-away option, which felt safer given the circumstances. I went for the dubiously titled ‘Swiss Tony’, which came snugly wrapped in insulated silver foil that held in all its burgery goodness and, crucially for a takeaway, its heat. The burger was accompanied by subtly smoked bacon, flabby mushrooms, tangy truffle mayo, tobacco-free tobacco onions, and the only thing remotely Swiss about the ‘Swiss Tony’, a lathering of generic Swiss cheese. 

Not at all rudely priced, with burgers averaging between ten and twelve pounds, Fat Hippo is a wonderfully indulgent dining option made for students craving that feel good burger and fries. Fat Hippo also offers more COVID-friendly alternatives, whether you choose to have a takeaway or, if you happen to win the Deliveroo postcode lottery, you can have it delivered straight to your door.

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