When it comes to main course meals, traditionally i’ve never really been a burger person. I’m more of a pizza person, or big bowl of creamy pasta person, or michelin star fine dining person, but one of my best friends is a burger person, and so i’ve recently become more and more fond of them… really fond, in fact. So much so that I told my best friend Josh that this particular blog post was predominantly for his benefit, as he has been my partner in crime when it comes to this search for the best burger in town, but truth be told, i’ve had just as much fun as he has!
MEATliquor, Welbeck Street – Mushroom Swiss Burger £7.50
For me, these are the best burgers in the whole of London, and I don’t see any place coming close to taking away this crown. If a long 45 minute queue to get a table isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is. You might not have to face such a wait if you go on a week day lunch time, but at a weekend, you’re crazy if you think you’ll be the only one with a craving for one of this sloppy juicy delicious burgers. In this restaurant, they don’t believe in cutlery (ask for a knife and fork and be met with a look of sheer bemusement). Come to think of it, they do’t even believe in plates! Your meal is served on a tray lined with grease proof paper, and your burger is wrapped in the same thing. Your sides come in a card board box tray. As a result, It’s messy to eat, but I think this makes it even better (if it’s dribbling down your arm you know you’re onto a winner) The decor in this place probably adds to how messy it can get – the lighting is dark, the walls are painted with some very unfriendly images (a lot of gory murals) and there are very few windows. My burger of choice is always the Mushroom Swiss (£7.50) and my flatmates is always the Cheese Burger (£6.50) I want to describe this burger as greasy, but I don’t want you to take that as a negative, because it’s not an unpleasant grease, its a juicy grease which oozes with meaty flavour. The juices from the mushrooms make this even more intensely wet! The meat is so tender is almost melts in your mouth, and the bun is soft. Maybe too soft, as about half way to three-quarters of the way through you will find it difficult to hold because the juices have permeated it so much that it’s almost disintergrated into a soggy delicious meat oozing mess of bread, cheese, gherkins (loads of them!) mushrooms, onions and beef. Don’t wear white when you visit this place. And don’t go here on a first date – dribbling meat juice down your chin isn’t sexy, but oh god, it is so good. Wash all of this down with one of their great (and quite strong) cocktails for an added boost to your meal. Or if you just want a tap water, you might be as excited as I was to learn that they’re served in old washed out jam jars! How very quaint!
Side note: This restaurant also has a sister restaurant in the Covent Garden Jubilee Market. The menu isn’t as large as the original, but there’s enough choice to provide you with a suitable burger fix. The premise of this restaurant is the same, but there are no cocktails available.
The Diner (several locations around London) The Arch Burger, £7.50
This is an awesome London chain which can be found in Soho, Islington, Camden, Kensal Rise, Shorditch and Covent Garden, which serves great american breakfast classics such as pancakes and waffles, classic american snacks like corn dogs (which I searched all over London for) and a great selection of burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs. Our favourite burger from The Diner has to be the Arch Burger. A 6oz hamburger topped with St Louis pulled pork, Monterey Jack, Coleslaw & Dill pickle. The combination of the burger and the pulled pork makes it a very juicy dish, packed full of meaty flavour. The coleslaw adds a bit of a crunch, and the cheese melts nicely into the meat. We found that its best if you have it Medium-rare, but that is, of course, personal preference, but it does make it all the more juicy. But with the pulled pork, you’re never gonna have a dry version of this burger, which is a nice guarantee to have. For those of you who may not be a fan of pulled pork, the Hawaiian Burger (£7) is another personal recommendation; once again a 6oz burger, but this time topped with pineapple, bacon and U.S cheese. Sweet and salty all squished between a tasty bun. You can’t go wrong with either of this dishes. Add a side of sweet potato fries for £3.30 to either of these burgers and you’ve got yourself a great meal.
Ultimate Burger, Tottenham Court Road* – Beef Satay Burger £6.95
This burger is a bit of a trick on the mind. Satay sauce traditionally for me is only paired with chicken, so pairing this with a medium cooked beef patty was a bit of an adventure in itself. Served between a lightly toasted seeded bun and accompanied by lettuce, cheese, fresh chilli, spring onions and possibly the sweetest slice of tomato i’ve ever tried was a very succulent burger positioned on top of the satay sauce. All together this was a very tasty burger – the chilli’s were very spicy and I had to pick some of them out (i’d have preferred jalapeños) and the satay sauce could have done with a little more lemon juice or something (i think that was what it was missing) but all together it was great. I think most of the credit should probably go to the tomato (the first time I think a tomato has added something to a burger!) and I would definitely order this again. Other burgers on their menu i’d like to try: the Tortilla Burger (served in a flour tortilla rather than a bun) and the Chicken and Brie burger. Next time…
* This branch has now been closed, but there are other restaurants in this chain available to visit around London.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Covent Garden (one venue of many) – Taxi Driver Burger, £9.45
This isn’t strictly a London only restaurant. It’s a chain which can be found in most major towns across the south of England. GBK specialises in gourmet burgers (would you believe it?!) with prices which range between £6.70 to £11.95. The latter sounds very expensive, but I don’t know of anyone who has ever paid full price for a burger from this place, as discount vouchers can be found on most discount websites, and Taste Card (a MUST purchase for anyone who enjoys eating out in London) provides a 2-4-1 offer running Sunday – Friday. We used to dine in the central London GBK’s on a regular basis until Westminster Council made each of the restaurants cook their burgers ‘Well Done’ for some ridiculous unjustifiable reason I’m not totally clued up on. They seem to have stopped doing that now and so we have returned, and have become a little obsessed with their Taxi Driver burger; a brioche bun, american cheese, crispy onion ring, cajun relish, dill pickle, salad & smoked chilli mayo – juicy, jam-packed full of flavour and very filling. The brioche bun makes it so soft and easy to eat (i’m loving brioche a little bit at the moment) and the crispy onion ring just makes it a little bit exciting (what is this wonderful crispy-ness going on inside my burger!?) the cajun relish is sweet and the smoked chilli mayo gives it that little hint of spice.
Honest Burger, Meard Street, Soho – Cheese Burger £8
This small restaurant can be found just off of Dean Street in Soho. It seats approximately 20 people on wooden tables and the menu can be found on a large blackboard on the wall. It’s a minimalistic menu, with a choice of three different burgers, with the prices of £7.50, £8 and £9. Quite expensive for a burger, but this does include a side of Rosemary salted fries. We were a group of three, initially sat by the front door on a breakfast bar, but were soon moved onto a small table which was actually meant for 2 people – I’m not sure why we were moved, but it wasn’t a huge issue. A little cramped, but it made it easier to share the Coleslaw side (£2.50) which we had ordered between us. I chose the cheese burger – beef, red onion relish, lettuce and a choice of either mature cheddar, red leicester or stilton. I went with the stilton, while my two friends chose cheddar (much to the displeasure of one of my friends who wanted cheap U.S cheese – not an option) My meat was cooked medium-rare, making the burger itself very moist and juicy. A great taste of meat. The bun was lovely and soft, and the stilton was nice, but the chef had been somewhat stingy with the red onion relish which in my opinion was the best part of the burger. Considering how salty the chips were (although don’t get me wrong, they were delicious! a visit to this restaurant just for those is probably worth it) the whole dish was in desperate need of a contrast sweet flavour to balance it out, and I guess that was the whole point of the relish, which couldn’t fulfil its role in such a small amount. This was a great lunch out. The inclusion of the chips in the price does make it slightly more of a value for money lunch, but all in all, I think up to £9 for this burger is a little bit steep considering is was missing some crucial flavours. In my opinion they should all be priced at the £7.50 mark. Worth a trip though.
To be continued…..
This is just five of the best burger’s i’ve had the joy of trying, but the fatty within me wants to keep the search going for the best burgers in London. I can’t let her down. There are plenty more to be tried, tested and dreamt about!