Restaurant chain founder and boss Tom Byng sportingly supplied details of how to make one of his ‘proper’ hamburgers for the benefit of readers of Helen Peacocke’s food page some weeks ago. That being so, one might pause to wonder why anyone would choose to shell out a minimum of £6.75 for the bog standard version of it, sans chips, at Tom’s new place in George Street, Oxford, when they could make one for themselves at home for so much less. Well, apart from the fact that we’re most of us too lazy, the do-it-yourself option removes at a stroke all the buzz and fun that you’ll find in buckets at Byron.

Cheery, good-looking staff who actually seem pleased to be serving you are a big part of its appeal. One very pretty youngster told us how much she was enjoying laughter and chat with her customers after her joyless shifts at another Oxford establishment — I’ll not name and shame — where such contact was almost a disciplinary offence. She and her colleagues also seemed conspicuously well informed about the food and drink they were offering. Full marks on training.

True, there is actually not all that much to know about Byron’s fare. “Do one thing; do it properly” was Tom’s philosophy in setting up the business, which has some 20 other branches, all in London. This is a concept that’s catching on, with Nick Jones (of Soho House) and Mark Hix both opening swanky places focusing on chicken. But — ask it not too loudly — is this not what Nando also does with chicken, and what the good old British chippy once did with cod?

The ‘one thing’ at Byron, meatwise at any rate, is burgers — made, as all burgers should be, with nothing but best beef. The restaurant uses forequarter cuts from animals supplied by a small number of Scottish farms. The meat is twice minced, then formed into patties, which are seasoned and cooked medium. These are served with lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise in toasted buns specially baked for the company to a required “squishyness” (this useful, resonant word figures prominently in Byron’s publicity). The result is a burger of the sort Tom despaired of finding in England, the classic American variety that he had enjoyed during his student days reading classics at America’s Brown University. Before that he’d been at Oxford’s Summer Fields and at Eton College, whose most famous current ex-pupil, David Cameron , I know to be a burger fan too.

Regular readers of this column will perhaps have noticed a distinct coolness towards burgers on my part. I have never eaten them much since the heyday of the excellent Bretts Burgers, sold from a hut on the site of what is now the Said Business School and also for a time in Cowley Road. I am proud to say I have never eaten one from McDonald’s or their rival Burger King. Rosemarie, by contrast, is definitely a burger (though not McDonald’s) fan. To her, therefore, fell the task of passing judgment on Byron’s offering, which she considered fully the equal meatwise, in terms of taste and texture, of her favourite as supplied at Quod, in High Street. And how was the bun? “Squishy.” The habit is catching.

She was eating the top-of-the-range ‘Byron’, which is a 6oz hamburger with a side order of home-made skin-on chips. The burger came with slightly crispy dry cure bacon, mature cheddar cheese and ‘Byron sauce’ (a spiced-up version of Thousand Island dressing). The other varieties are the unadorned Classic, the Cheese (cheddar, American, Monterey Jack, blue cheese or emmenthal), Skinny (no bun), Chicken (with tomato mayonnaise and baby spinach) and Veggie (grilled portobello mushroom, roasted red pepper, goat’s cheese, aioli and baby spinach).

Non-burger eaters have a choice of four main course salads: Chicken Caesar, Classic Cobb (with chicken, crispy bacon, avocado, blue cheese, tomato and egg), Greek Salad and Nicoise. I went for the last, which was made, as I always prefer, with tinned tuna rather than fresh, quarters of hard-boiled egg, pitted black olives, tinned salted anchovies in oil, tomatoes, al dente green beans and boiled potatoes. Though the two last ingredients are no-noes in the traditional French recipe, I often use them myself. But I certainly think, they should be served warm (the egg too), which they weren’t here. This meant the whole dish had a just-from-the-fridge flavour — or, rather, lack of flavour.

During a couple of hours sampling our way across the Byron menu and drinks list, we found plenty to commend. Favourites with me were the bright green Sicilian olives, the courgette slices fried in polenta breadcrumbs with blue cheese dip, and the coleslaw, with its just-made-at-home taste and none of the glutinous texture of ready-made varieties. The New Zealand sauvigon blanc (Yealands, Marlborough) offered a zestful taste of summer fields. The scented delight of the Byron Pale Ale (specially produced by the Camden Town Brewery) went down especially well. Rosemarie even managed a pudding — a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.