Category Archives: Best burgers in London

Spuntino, 61 Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 7PW

The Chef and I are decided – lunch is the best meal of the day. Even better is an impromptu lunch. Better than that a boozy long impromptu lunch. And the best of the best is a boozy long impromptu lunch where you don’t have to go to work afterwards and can do a pub crawl round Soho for the rest of the afternoon.

Well, we managed most of the above yesterday anyway. Spuntino is the new New-York-speakeasy influenced baby from the people that brought us Polpo and Polpetto and its really a delight that they are cornerning the market in Soho with cool, friendly, great value restaurants. Spuntino says it has no telephone number, no reservations, and The Chef and I thought there is no WAY we’d be able to walk in on Friday lunchtime and get a table easily. But we did – easy peasy - 5 minute wait, and the short wait continued for the rest of lunchtime, so don’t be put off by no reservations.

Spuntino looks fab – having just been to Wilton’s Music Hall the night before to see Iolanthe, I’m a big fan of shabby chic and Spuntino has been pared back to its original features and looks great for it – beautiful tiles like it was formerly a Roman spa or a swimming pool, lovely lights. Although you all sit round a bar, you get enough privacy and its sexy enough to be a fantastic first date place and there’s a great mix of friends, couples and solo eaters. We also noted that all these places seem to have the same type of staff – trendy without being pretentious, cool and friendly and enthusiastic and laid back. It makes for a great atmosphere. Thanks to the lovely Nigel for our lunch and for the pepper and thyme popcorn that make us cough.

Anyway the food was brilliant:

 Lardo crostini and thingy-berries, delicious

Amazing truffle egg on toast – delicious strong cheese (almost Swiss, raclettey), gooey egg and truffle – you have to taste it, is amaaaazing

I think this was a bone marrow “slider” – ridiculously deep taste almost like an Italian ragu or spag bol, really lovely. Want to go back and try the other sliders

Mac and cheese – only disappointment. A little underseasoned and the cheese could have been stronger – I prefer the Villandry Kitchen version

Peanut butter and jam sandwich – this was also amazing and still makes my mouth water thinking about it. Peanut ice cream with rich berries and crumbled peanuts, absolutely delicious and so CLEVER

Spuntino made us both smile loads – we had an incredible lunch and all this food, plus an old fashioned cocktail (guess who’s been watching too much Mad Men), 250cl white wine and kwoffees (served Americano filter style) came to only £30 each which was fantastic. It was a treat and a pleasure and the setting for our plotting the aforementioned Soho lunch and pub crawl. In fact the whole thing was incredibly Mad Men cool now I come to think about it. I will definitely be back – to try the other sliders and the soft shell crab and the stringy curly fries. You can so easily pay £30 for an average meal in Soho so I’m so happy these guys are revolutionising the place – they can really do no wrong right now!

Spuntino on Urbanspoon

My search for the best burger in London #6 – #Meateasy, Above the Goldsmiths Tavern, 316 New Cross Road, SE14 6AF

A lot of great things have been said about #Meateasy and I don’t know how much more I can add, except:

  1. Really do go, its not hype, the burgers really are excellent, as are all the sides, in a gloopy cheese-and-meat-laden slightly down and dirty Americano style
  2. Really delicious actually, when I think back to our meal last night I salivate a little bit
  3. As well as the burger, try the Mac n Cheese which is delicious, the chilli cheese fries, the chilli cheese dog and the onion rings
  4. No-one in our party touched the slaw really but it was good too
  5. LOVE that thick gloopy yellow mustard stuff, and cheese, on EVERYTHING
  6. You have to wait a bit for food (for us – about 1.5 hours) but this is fine – the atmosphere is really good and LOUD, great music, a cool bar, drinks served in jam jars
  7. It’s great value – £15 each for a ton of food
  8. New Cross is a really cool area – with Goldsmith college near, its arty and quirky and cool. Lots of pork pie and bowler hats last night
  9. The staff at #Meateasy are very cool and nice and professional – they got it spot on, you feel well looked after 
  10. I’m 3 pounds heavier this morning. Sadly not an exaggeration

So there you have it. #Meateasy is actually brilliant and it definitely wins the award for the best burger I’ve ever had in London. I have to say I don’t feel especially great this morning, the day after the night before, but I think it’s because the food is a little sloppy (as its supposed to be) and I’ve got that post-fast food type dirty feeling. Oh and also we drank a lot of “corpse revivers” at the bar.

Its open until mid-April (after which I’d be AMAZED if they don’t open up a permanent place ) so you should go along when you can. If you don’t know, New Cross is sort of between Brixton and Peckham but you can easily get there from London Bridge too. Enjoy the photos below. This was my second burger this week – the diet begins again tomorrow.

#Meateasy on Urbanspoon

My search for the best burger in London #5 – Byron burger

Byron was my holy grail. Every time I mentioned that I was looking for the best burger in London, friends mentioned Byron; facebook and blog and twitter comments mentioned Byron; and I talked about how I was long overdue a visit.

So The Chef and I (yup he’s new, keep up – I shall say no more for now) headed to Soho on Tuesday night for burgers, wine and comedy – or my perfect-sounding evening. We went to the Byron on Wardour Street, and I loved it inside. Relaxed, converted-warehouse-stainless-steel style, table service and booze, which reminded me of posh pizza at Pizza East. The Byron burger sounded awesome (comes with bacon and special relishy sauce) but sadly my criteria says I need to order the plain cheeseburger. I had it with fries and my favourite coleslaw and obligatory courgette fries, which everyone also bangs on about.

And it was lovely. Tasty soft bun, nice pinky burger. Hmmm. So what’s the problem? Well, I think I’d over-hyped it up. I was imagining the perfect drool-fest burger and I just don’t think its the PERFECT burger. For gluttony reasons, I’d want more cheese, stronger cheese, lots and lots of cheese. And although the burger was lovely, I’d have liked it meatier, bigger basically. And more taste of meat and charcoal.  And the bun maybe toasted ever so slightly. And tons more relish and sauce, preferably dripping down my chin. I loved the coleslaw and fries, and the courgette fries were OK but not needed with my burger, sorry. Am I being devil’s advocate against the tide of glowing reviews? Maybe. On reflection, I read a children’s book years ago about a burger joint in the US finding the perfect burger sauce and I am still hunting for that perfect one. Byron was awesome but not quite there yet.

But I think I went in like Ellie Goulding (starry eyed) and need to go back – again and again and again really – to appreciate it fully without all the hype. No matter what, I think its a lovely little venue and cheap (a burger each, sharing chips and courgette fries and coleslaw and a bottle of wine was £20 each). Next up is posh burgers – I’ve been invited to try the burger at Davy’s in Regents Place (grass fed beef matured for 21 days, the perks of blogging) and I want to try Hawksmoor, Goodman and the American Bar at the Stafford Hotel. And also some pub burgers, including the Prince of Wales in Putney. But I’m on a post-Argetina DIET, so first - SALAD.

UPDATE: I was getting annoyed at my spanking new camera as the focus was out and I was contemplating actually reading the guide. However I discovered at lunchtime that I had mistakenly switched the focus to manual, hence the wonky blurriness. Have rectified error and photos should get better from now on. Doh.

Byron on Urbanspoon

My search for the best burger in London #4 – Gourmet Burger Kitchen

A happy return to my search for the best burger in London (criteria and list of venues here - I currently have 16 places on my list *hello elasticated jeans*).

I used to think GBK wasn’t that great, especially after an unfortunate incident involving a hideous hangover and an incredibly gloopy and garlicky garlic mayo burger which almost ended in tears. I first tried the Northcote Road GBK when I had just moved to London in 2003. Everyone was excited by it – it was certainly my first experience of a designer burger- beetroot! and pineapple! on a burger! – and I liked it, but personally I found the burgers (like at Grand Union) far too big to hold in my hands and eat without getting most of it down my chin. And however designer a burger is, it should still be held and eaten in your hands – there is no way I want to use a knife and fork. I also care not for creole sauce or French cheese or irrelevant vegetables on my burger – I like it simple - big patty, cheddar cheese, relish, tomato, lettace.

I was pleasantly surprised this time. I ordered the cheese burger as per the HPL criteria and I’m guessing the onslaught of London burger chains – most noteably Byron but also Ultimate Burger and Grand Union –  have made GBK up their game. I could hold it fine and it was really nice. The burger could have been bigger and juicier, and the bun was a bit over-toasted, but it was really tasty and juicy and I enjoyed it. Or maybe I just haven’t had a burger in a while and it was a lovely welcome back to the fold. Either way, it was better than I expected. And the chips were nice and the blue cheese sauce amaaaazing. But the coleslaw was rubbish – more mayo in it please. I realise my life has been missing burgers for way too long so I’m right back on this burger search with abandon. Next up just has to be Byron.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (Wandsworth) on Urbanspoon

My search for the best burger in London #3 – The Lido Cafe, Brockwell Park

Brockwell Park Lido

Bikinis in Brixton? Life guards and sunbathers?  Today was the first time I’d eaten at the Costa del Brixtonia poolside cafe at the art deco Brockwell Lido, built in the 1930s. It was a fantastic atmosphere, super busy, and I cant wait to go down there to swim tomorrow.  For today, I needed to shake off cobwebs from the night before (thanks to a wonderful dinner at Fernandez & Leluu  – more soon) so settled on a burger and chips at the Brockwell Lido Cafe washed down with an organic lemonade.

The Lido Cafe – poolside, BBQ, organic stuff – perfect

I went with Escobar, who didn’t particularly relish his first experience of my taking a million photos before eating for the blog, but who proved to be a perfect people-watching partner.  Couldn’t believe all the yummy mummys! The burger was fantastic – patty a little small but really juicy and perfectly cooked, the cheese and bun were really nice. The hand-cut chips were delicious and the drinks menu interesting and organic. Highly recommended.

Nom nom slurp – chin dribblingly good

I seriously cannot imagine a better summer’s day than swimming in the lido and having a yummy BBQ lunch and glass of wine – I felt I was in Sydney rather than London.  I’ve seen they hold regular comedy and music nights – another one for my wishlist. Having been Hackney way on Friday, I’d also recommend the London Fields Lido and the Pub on the Park for after-beers (see below).

My search for the best burger in London #2 – The Rosendale

As you know, I’m searching for the best burger in London.  Pub burgers are often very good but not quite good enough to blog about.  Yesterday’s burger at The Rosendale was a little bit special though.

El G and I were cycling from Brixton to Penge (don’t ask…) and decided to check the Michelin guide to London restaurants to find a good gastropub on the way.  And West Dulwich’s The Rosendale was highly recommended - an old coaching house featuring an outside terrace, great-sounding menu and heavy emphasis on sourcing and ingredients.

It’s huge - with great big high ceilings inside and a sunny terrace, with pub grub served at the front and a posher dining room to the back where the food is apparently superb.  Its the sort of place that makes it own butter, mayonnaise and burger buns – an won Time Out’s best gastropub award in 2007.  Bit of an odd location though and wasn’t that busy – which is a real shame.

I ordered the cheese burger with coleslaw on the side and it was fantastic.  Home-made bun which was light and fluffy, home-made mayonnaise which was citrusy and tangy, tasty thin chips, good cheese and an incredibly well-cooked burger – meaty and tender and pink.  Highly recommended if you live in the area for great pub grub.  I was also jealous of a family eating steaks and red wine on the terrace – looked very good.

Rosendale on Urbanspoon

My search for the best burger in London – #burgerfail no. 2

McDonalds

Right, as you know, I’m looking for the best burger in London following certain criteria.  I’m not a food snob so I’m including fast food in my search.  My first #burgerfail was a very disappointing Burger King and I then had a good but ridiculously huge Grand Union burger.

So, next on my list was a quarter pounder with cheese meal (with extra barbecue sauce) at the Golden Arches, for the sake of the experiment of course.  And man I looooove McDonalds in a slightly guilty way  - perhaps I’m nostalgic from a misspent youth hanging out there every weekend.  I think they put something in the burger sauce to make it seriously addictive because it tasted delicious, if a little dry and lacking in meaty flavour (the 4 pints of cider I had beforehand may have aided the tasting slightly however, hic).  If you check out the photo – the burger looks pretty good doesn’t it – thick and meaty, nice Kraft cheese, yummy onion and guerkin, and decent bun.

I don’t have a problem with the taste at the time – it was gooood – my problem is what happens afterwards.  Ugh.  If you are what you eat, then the next day I was a big greasy unhealthy mess.  My insides felt dirty.  I honestly felt terrible (again the cider possibly has some part to play in this too).  It may be as a result of watching the Supersize Me film, but I feel great when eating a McDonalds but then dreadful afterwards.  Not worth it really and thats my second #burgerfail.

My search for the best burger in London #1 – Grand Union

Man, I love London when its sunny.  The thermometer is hovering near 18 degrees today and thats it, London simultaneously dusts off its flip flops, combat shorts and fake raybans from the back of the wardrobe and heads to the nearest beer garden to drink cider and sunbathe.  Love it love it love it.

I took advantage of GU’s 2 for 1 burger offer for joining its mailing list, and headed there this avo for some sun, cider and an attempt to finally get this HPL burger quest going. 

Grand Union Brixton has a very good and large beer garden which was rammed full of happy smiley (and some slightly tipsy) people.  As per the best burger in London criteria , I ordered the cheese burger and chips, with coleslaw on the side.  El G got extra onion rings.  Here’s what it looked like:

Didn’t get a look in with these, sadly…

Nice chips

REALLY disappointing tastleless coleslaw  – boo – and I LOVE coleslaw, must do better GU…

Aye caramba!  Ooooooooohhhkkkkkkkkkkk now how the funk do I eat this bad boy??!

Woweee.  It was bigger than I remembered it.  The cheese burger at Grand Union is huge – ridiculously huge.  Stuffed with all the good stuff – huge juicy meaty burger, tons of yummy melted cheese, cheesy mayonnaisey relish at the bottom, tomato relishy stuff at the top, half a frickin’ lettuce, and a giant slice of beef tomato.  Awesome.

Apart from you just can’t eat it!!!  Honestly, look at the picture above and then at the picture below which was the burger about 2 minutes later.  Then take 1/5th of the burger and smear it on my chin, dump 1/5th on my lap, the lettuce just EVERYWHERE, the burger in small pieces, the bun spread like breadcrumbs liberally over the plate and table, and only about 3/5ths in my mouth.  I was forced to eat small chunks of what had fallen onto my plate like a chipmunk or parrot fish, and then lick or wipe the various relishes off my hands, mouth and chin.  It tasted really really good, but I just don’t like getting that messy when I’m eating, sorry GU.

 

For me, thats a #burgerfail.  Great burger, just make it easier to eat, pleeeease??!

My search for the best burger in London – #burgerfail no. 1

Burger King

I’m SO not a burger snob, and I’m really very sad about this.  But I really didn’t have a good burger at Burger King.

As per my criteria in my search for the best burger in London, I ordered a whopper with cheese and chips.  But the burger was thin and badly cooked, and a bit cold.  The lettuce limp.  No tomato.  Sauce not nice.  In fact the picture says it all.  This is my first #burgerfail of the competition.

I swear when I was younger, the whopper with cheese was amaaaazing - I remember it fondly as a big thick juicy flame-grilled delight with tasty relish and cheese.  It was an upmarket “real” burger compared to cousin McDodes.  However, I was 19 at the time, with a blood-alcohol ratio that would make Oliver Reed blush, a nose-ring and a penchant for handbag house; so it was perhaps my taste that was dodgy.

Maybe it was better back then?  Maybe I’m just older with more sophisticated taste?  Who knows, but I’m sad to say my annual guilty Burger King trips are no more.  The quest for the perfect burger in London continues…

Guerilla Burger, 36 James Street, Marylebone, W1U 1EA

Rather wet behind the ears to both blogging and twitter, I was delighted to wangle El G and I an invite to Guerilla Burgers for their “skaters” night last night, involving very small taster burgers, crinkle chips, beer (or in my case pinot grigio dahling) and freeness.  As my first free meal as a blogger, I will be forever nostalgic (and as a Scot nothing makes me happier than something I don’t have to pay for) but etiquette requires me to caveat my enthusiasm with the fact that this was a great big PR stunt.  And as such I reckon it worked very well -  it appears that many of London’s food bloggers were there and if they wanted to create a buzz they certainly did. 

Spot the food blogger

Guerilla Burgers is part of the Giraffe family (gorilla, giraffe?) – which may put some people off, but personally my favourite breakfast in the world, ever, is made by Giraffe – huevos rancheros with a bloody mary on the side.  Sweat-inducing vitamin-laden hangover-cure goodness.

It’s the newest addition to London’s burgeoning burger scene – along with the likes of Byron Burger, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Grand Union, etc.  Along with non-Spanish tapas, burger joints seem like the new big thing – a result of Americanisation or because the burger is the ultimate guilty pleasure

The venue is cool – Americano diner-style with pop art murals and extra friendly smiley staff (although go easy on that, we’re still British y’know).  The huge windows will make it lovely, light and airy in the summer and its location behind Selfridges on the edge of Marylebone would make it the perfect spot for post-shopping lunches

The menu looks pretty good – unashamedly Americano with “slaw salad”, hotdogs, fish tacos, burgers, beers and milkshakes.   We only got a taster of the food but what we got was great.  Mini burgers with juicy patties; with salad, tomato relish and tarragon sauce on the side.  I think the idea is that most people take the stuff inside their burgers OUT before eating – but I’m the kind of person who piles it all IN so I’d have been happy for the salad and sauces to come inside the burger.  Anyway, the burgers were tasty and I loved the tarragon sauce (and French’s mustard!).  The sides of crinkle chips were good and girls will definitely go for the sweet potato chips which were sweet and light. 

All in all, we only got a taste of the place, but certainly enough to want us to come back for more.  And if anyone else wants to give me more free things then please feel free!

Etiquette stopped me from drinking the tarragon sauce and licking the plate.  Just.

Guerilla Burgers on Urbanspoon