On the lower ground floor of this very prestigious Knightsbridge hotel is a restaurant that offers a seasonal bistro menu that includes an extensive selection of house-made terrines and pâtés, huge platters of fresh seafood, a few classic french dishes including escargots, steamed mussels and cured sausages and hams, as well as the one thing guaranteed to get me in through the doors; a selection of juicy gourmet burgers featuring some intriguing, indulgent ingredients.
These burgers have been blogged about by several of the top foodie bloggers in London already, with several of them offering up the Best Burger title to one or two of them, so obviously I had to see for myself what was so special about these bad boys.
These beefy beauties do not come cheap. The classic style Yankee burger is the cheapest offering at £13, but I think, why opt for a classic when you can have something a little special for just £1 more. My choice was the Piggie burger, and not just because I enjoyed the name.
This burger consisted of beef patty, bbq pulled pork, green chili mayonnaise, bibb lettuce, red cabbage slaw all pile together within a cheddar bun. This £14 burger might just be one of the juiciest burgers i’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. At least for the first half of it, anyway. My first mouthful was unlike any other i’ve ever had with a burger, as the rich, smokey juices of the pulled pork instantly filled my mouth. It was like a spoonful of juice! And it happened again with the second and third bites. The pulled pork was obviously what was making this burger so succulent. The BBQ flavour was intense, and the pork itself was tender. The red cabbage added a crunchy, sweet dimension, and the chilli mayo, while not spicy, brought the flavours together.
However, while all these flavours were incredible, the final quarter of the burger was seriously lacking. By these last five or so bites, most of the juicy pork had gone and the mayo was spread too thin to compete with the dominating patty which, although well cooked, was lacking in seasoning. For a burger that started out so well, it was disappointing that the final bites were so boring, and I ended up dipping them into ketchup to give them enough flavour to keep them enjoyable.
Josh’s burger, on the other hand, was the signature burger of the restaurant – famous for including some of the most indulgent and rich ingredients available. The ‘BB’ Burger is made up of a beef patty, foie gras, red wine braised short ribs, truffle, horseradish mayonnaise and confit tomato all gloriously compiled within a black onion seed bun. This luxury burger will set you back £20, and our waiter honestly said to us that the flavours could be perceived as intense and a bit “too much” (not many restaurants have staff that answer honestly when talking about one of their most expensive signature dishes; something which is very refreshing in restaurant like this), but Josh isn’t one that is able to resist a combination of foie gras or truffle.
Alas, his first bite was a disappointment. With the warning that the burger might be too intense still hanging in the air, he found that in fact, it wasn’t too intense at all… if anything, it was slightly underwhelming! At least it was until a few bites in, when he finally found the foie gras and truffle. Then it was a few bites of rich bliss, before the flavours returned to those of a normal, well cooked burger, like at the beginning.
I had a bite of this burger, and in comparison to mine it was smoother in texture, and the flavour was definitely deeper and more complex, but no way near a juicy as the Piggie – and as I can’t taste truffle anyway, this expensive ingredient was lost entirely on me. As £20 burgers go, this is without doubt better than the offering from Burger & Lobster, so if you’re willing to spend this sum you would be right to visit Bar Boulud instead.
But while the burgers themselves just about justify their hefty price tag, when it comes to sides, I found myself very confused as to why fries were being priced at £5 a portion. For fries not too dissimilar to those found in McDonalds, it seems incredibly steep. And with a glass of coke coming in at a whopping £4.10, you’d do better off to stick with a glass of tap water, or you’ll find yourself paying way over the odds for your meal.
Whether either of these burgers deserves the “Best Burger” crown is to be debated. If the fantastic juiciness of the Piggie could continue through to the very last bite, I don’t doubt it could snatch the title with both hands… it will just take a little bit more care from the chef to ensure the flavour placement is carried out evenly to make it truly deserve it. Something well within it’s grasps, I am sure.