My Search for the best burger in London – The Criteria

Right, as you know, one of my NY resolutions was to find the perfect burger in London (nom nom nom), an idea thought up while stuffing my face in Grand Union.  Burgers make me happy and the The Happiness Project London is all about focusing on what makes you happy, so it fits in nicely with the theme of the blog (sadly, turns out not to be an original idea – many London guides and food bloggers appear to have done the same thing – Byron is often crowned ultimate winner).  In any case, I still eat at least one burger a month so thought it worth adding my shiny tuppence to the debate.

My search could only start when I lost my Christmas holiday weight and this is now done (ish).  So burgers here we come 🙂

The Venues

I will review about one burger joint a month – interspersed with gym visits and salads – otherwise I’m likely to do the Brussels expat (going up 2 dress sizes through over-eating of red meat).  So, the winners are likely to be crowned at the end of the year.

I’m not a food snob, so I’m including junk-food outlets as well as restaurants – partly because I’m dying to try Wimpy again and partly because it wouldn’t be a complete tour of London burgers otherwise.  My current list of places to review is below.  I may add to this as and when I hear about other places, or for example if I decide to try a burger when eating out in a non-specialist venue:

  1. Grand Union (review here)
  2. Byron (review here)
  3. Gourmet Burger Kitchen (review here)
  4. Hamburger Union
  5. The Diner
  6. The Hawksmoor
  7. Goodman
  8. Hache
  9. Wimpy
  10. McDonalds (review here)
  11. Burger King (review here)
  12. American Bar at the Stafford Hotel
  13. Automat American Brasserie
  14. Ed’s Diner
  15. The Fine Burger Co
  16. Ultimate Burger
  17. Lucky 7
  18. Bacchus

Any other suggestions are always welcome, although please be considerate to the fact that I can only eat so many burgers a month before having to wear my jeans with an elasticated waist. 

The criteria

– I will always order a plain cheeseburger (quarterpounder/whopper with cheese) and chips, with ketchup and mayonnaise.  If there’s coleslaw (yum) I’ll take it too otherwise no extras. 

– If they ask me do I want to supersize it, I say for god’s sake NO.

– I will judge each burger on the following:

  • the burger itself – size, shape, texture, beefiness
  • the bun –  deduction of points for those that fall apart under relish pressure 
  • the cheese – nothing fancy thanks, just cheddar or even (sorry) plastic
  • sauces – I love ’em – relish, mayonnaise, anything really
  • the “extras” – tomato, lettace, onion
  • ability to hold in hands/not smother over chin – Grand Union and GBK please note I see the ability to actually hold your burger as a necessity for getting in the prize-winning categories

The Prizes

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

1. Best burger in London

2. Best burger-tasting dining experience in London

3. Best ketchup receptacle in London

 UPDATE 31 August 2010: My search has been rather slow and I am long overdue a trip to Byron. Sadly however I have put on 5 pounds since starting to write about great places to eat, so I’m currently concentrating on coffee shops, but promise to return to boigers soon!

21 responses to “My Search for the best burger in London – The Criteria

  1. I think you could maybe add Automat and Ed’s to that list.

  2. I love this posting for obvious reasons and glad you have taken up the challenge.

    I wish I had been half as well organised as you, my search for the perfect burger is unfolding in the most haphazard sort of way. I am going back to Zengi to try their Turkish burger, can’t wait! Let me know if you ever need a second opinion.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  3. Also worthy of your consideration is Fine Burger Co. in Islington, particularly as I have a bunch of 2-4-1 vouchers. ‘The Diner’ in Islington I haven’t been to, mainly as I haven’t heard great things about it.

    Your criteria are fair, though obviously the greatest Wimpy burger is the quarter pounder with cheese. I would suggest putting that in rather than their simple (and rather limp) cheeseburger – it would make for a fairer comparison with the ultimate burger kitchen types.

    • Thanks Jambo – will also check out the Fine Burger Co. I haven’t heard good things about The Diner either (see The London Foodie’s review) but worth a shot.

      I may be going to Wimpy today actually – will definitely try the quarter pounder with cheese!

  4. Hi Sasha,

    According to Zengi’s menu, it is made of grilled lamb burger, with sliced falafel and halloumi cheese topped with sweet pepper sauce and pickles in a stone baked sesame roll – not sure if this would qualify as “cheeseburger” but i don’t see why not…

    I did not have a great experience at The Diner but I might have been unlucky and their “hardshake” was sensational.

    Jambo – how could I get some of these 241 vouchers? I would like to try the Fine Burger Co. as i live near one on Upper St.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

    • @ Luiz There’s been a poor man in a Fine Burger Co. sandwich board peddling vouchers on Upper Street (near the N1 centre) during the past few weekends. I’ve walked past him several times and stocked up on them. Maybe he’s out there today!

  5. A topic close to my heart! I’m a big fan of the Byron burger, and am all booked in to try the Hawksmoor one. Some bloggers have organised a Girls Steak Night there on 2 Feb if you want to join us (and sample a burger on the side)? Automat is not bad. But it’s slim pickings on the decent London burger front I’m afraid (at least compared to the USA). Sounds like a great excuse for a quick trip to New York….

    • Oh yes I’d LOVE to go to NY this year… Girls Steak Night sounds absolutely wonderful altho I’m booked into Saltoun Supper Club on Feb 3 and don’t think my wallet/waistline could cope with 2 big meals in 2 days.. Sad not to make it though, sounds like a great idea!

  6. Ultimate Burger always does it for me, mmm, bacon.

  7. ajh and Kieran – will have to give these a go – man, I’m gonna get fat!


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  10. Pingback: My search for the best burger in London – Grand Union « The Happiness Project London

  11. You might like to visit the restaurant I run, Davy’s of Regent’s Place.

    We are moving over to a burger concept away from the traditional Wine Bar/Restaurant we have always been, and I think you might be pleasantly surprised by the quality of our burgers.

  12. Pingback: My search for the best burger in London #4 – Gourmet Burger Kitchen | The Happiness Project London

  13. Pingback: My search for the best burger in London #5 – Byron burger | The Happiness Project London

  14. Pingback: My search for the best burger in London #6 – Davy’s, Euston Tower, Regent’s Place, NW1 3DP | The Happiness Project London

  15. you should try Balans (Soho) and Kua Aina (Soho – Hawaiian burger) as well :] I felt that my life was so fulfilled after eating their burgers, especially the latter.

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