Thursday, 1 August 2013

Our top 3 burgers

It's fair to say looking at the list of places we've been to amoungst everything else, we've devoured a fair amount of burgers. To celebrated bursting through the 20 (and 21) mark we've come up with our favourites. We don't always agree, especially when it comes to optimal seasoning, so no surprise that we've come to different conclusions. I think the question of the top burgers in the game is always a contentious issue though. What would be your picks?

Owen's choice (not sophie's)

Big Dirty Burger
Newington market

BDB's Gangbang is just what the doctor ordered (well will be in a few months, once I've finished this thesis!). With avocado, blue cheese aioli, and bacon jam, is unique combination of flavours. With a Miller's brioche bun and patty from chuck, short rib and oxtail from the rare breed company, they certainly know what they are doing. I probably 'bang on about these guys a lot more than most as they are consistently great, and it's good to champion the little guys. High props considering they do this on the side of both have full time jobs! Not to be confused with 'Dirty Burger'

Honest Burgers
Camden, Brixton, Soho

The honest burger is the epitome of what a burger should be, no OTT ingredients here  (well that's saved for their specials). With smoked bacon, pickled cucumber, cheddar, lettuce sat on a patty from ginger pig select cuts, in a Miller's brioche bun. Alongside, their moreish rosemary salt triple cooked chips for under a tenner doesn't get much better.
Having been a few times their patty has been consistently medium rare and juicy, a major plus. Now that they've opened up in Camden, it's much closer to me, and I've already worked out the 'quiet' times, but that's my secret.

 Disco Bistro N1C 
Next to Granary Square Kings Cross

This really is something bit special. Pineapple bacon jam may not sound initially appealing, but believe me, don't think get your skates on and your chops round this. You can thank me later.

Probably one of the juiciest patties I've had, ruby red beef is top quality. The bun sauce cheese, pickled onion, aswell as the pineapple bacon jam, make it truly smile inducing.
Only bad thing is that, Disco Bistro N1C disappears in September. Get on it!

Shahz's Choice

Elliot's Cafe
Stoney Street, near Borough Market

Elliot's, like Honest Burger, is a simple treat. With a restrained, yet sophisticated choice of toppings (beautiful beer braised onions, dill butter, comte cheese) all the additions work well to complement, not add to the relatively straightforward flavour profile. The patty, tender, modestly seasoned has a very strong beefy flavour thanks to its prolonged (up to 60 day) dry ageing. It is of the highest quality (expect no less from the peerless Nathan Mills and co at the Butchery Ltd). The bun, of which we've heard mixed reports in terms of batch-to-batch variability, is admirably baked in house and topped with a mixture of toasted black and white sesame seeds. It may not be everyone's cup of tea (and is at the higher range in pricing terms, at £13), but for me there are few finer examples of a great burger in London.


Tongue n' Cheek, like Elliot's, source their meat from the Butchery Ltd. This is where the comparison ends. Their key USP here is the addition of ox heart (hence the Heartbreaker moniker) to their patties. I've tried the heart on its own at the Butchery (lightly bbq-d) before. It's every bit as good in this patty. The result of its addition is a unique, yet reassuringly beef-y flavour profile, which will please both purists and experimentalists alike. The toppings can be more elaborate here than others (I know Owen is partial to the Belly connection, containing pork belly and gorgonzola amongst others), but even the ''Original'' has a gloriously satisfying array of additions, including sour cream and chimchurri sauce (I would make sure you have a dry cleaner on speed dial before you try this one, I've had a couple of lunchtime wardrobe malfunctions whilst eating this). Don't let the street food tag fool you, this is a burger that would hold its own against any sophisticated, ''gourmet'' offering.

Patty N Bun
James Street, near Bond St station

This is probably the most ''American'' of our burger choices, closer to what you would find at the excellent Burger Joint in New York rather than Honest or Elliot's. The 'Ari Gold' (as good a name as we've heard for a burger), PnB's headline act, is a greasy specimen, requiring more than its fair share of paper towels to cope with the oozing juices resulting from every bite. The seasoning on the patty is a bit heavy for me but the rich, creamy Big Mac-esque sauce is what makes this one special, trumping the similar efforts by Meat Market and Mother Flipper. When this burger trend (fad?) reaches its natural conclusion, I think this is probably one of the few dive/joint/speakeasy-style places that will probably remain popular. I would file this one under ''guilty pleasure,'' but leaning more towards the pleasure side, for sure. 

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