Friday, 31 December 2010

5/10 - The Red Lion, Moorgate, City of London

Location: Situated on Eldon Street, in between Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations, The Red Lion is what I'd describe as a 'proper london boozer'. 

Price:
£8.95

Presentation:
Ok. The burger came fully assembled with a stick through it to hold it together, pile of chips and some sad looking lettuce.

Toppings:
Ok. Cheese and bacon. Cheese not particularly flavoursome, bacon a little fatty, but otherwise ok.

Bread:
Ok. Standard non-seeded bun, a little dry but didn't fall apart during the eating.

Meat:
Ok. Wasn't a handmade beef patty, but was cooked slightly pink in the middle. Again it was a little fatty, but wasn't a grease trap.

Plate Accessories: 
Not great. Pile of chips were fine, a little tasteless, but covered in salt and ketchup you wouldn't be able to tell, the salad was disappointing, and may have been left for too long under a heat lamp.

Overall rating: 5/10

This burger was ok. I wouldn't particularly recommend it, if you found yourself eating at The Red Lion, and fancied a burger, you'd get an ok experience. Not the worst burger, but by no means a great experience. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

8.5/10 - SOS, Smithfields Market, City of London

Location: A city institution, Smith of Smithfields (SOS) is owned by celebrity chef John Torode. Located near Farringdon in Smithfield Market, this industrial-themed restaurant serves food over four floors, and includes a private dining room.

What the menu said:
‘Smiths’10oz Beef Burger, Mature Cheddar, Old Spot Bacon & Tomato Chutney

Price:
£13.50

Presentation:
Good. Beef, bacon and cheese all 'slapped' on in an artistic mess, demonstrating the homemade qualities of the burger.

Toppings:
Very good. Old Spot bacon very meaty and salty, but not crispy. Cheddar was mature, but I would say extra mature as it was a little strong for my tastes.

Bread:
Ok. A good seasame-seeded bun that was fresh and flavoursome, but it did crumble a little around the burger during the meal, so points lost slightly for that.

Meat:
Very good. A rare, handmade burger, lightly juicy, not too fatty and full of flavour. I wouldn't be surprised if the beef had been hung for 28 days.

Plate Accessories: 
Good. A decent portion of chunky chips in a separate tub with greaseproof paper, homemade mayo and sea salt.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

This was a great burger, only let down by the bread and the strength of the cheese. Recommend a visit to Smith of Smithfields, although the burger is on the pricey side at £13.50.



Smiths of Smithfield on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

9.5/10 - Match Bar, Clerkenwell Road, City of London

Location: On Clerkenwell Road, Between Farringdon and St. John Street.


What the menu said:
Match Burger - Signature Burger, cooked to your style, served with fries, bacon and cheese.


Price:
£10.95

Presentation:
Good. Two halves of bun separated with burger, bacon and melted cheese on one side, the plain bun and chunky slice of beef tomato on the other half.

Toppings:
Excellent. Several meaty bacon slices with rinds off, clearly grilled as no residue grease or fat. The cheese was a light swiss variety that was lightly melted, but again not greasy. Single slice of chunky, flavoursome beef tomato.

Bread:
Great! Simple ciabatta bap, but freshly baked so still warm, avoiding the usual trap of the bun disintegrating in the hand.

Meat:
Very good. Cooked rare and clearly hign quality and low fat beef burger, homemade so not in a usual generic shape.

Plate Accessories: 
Good. A decent portion of hand-cut chunky chips served in a separate pot were light and crispy, served with homemade mayonnaise.

Overall rating: 9.5/10

This was the most amazing burger, combining all the essential elements, with a simple bun, tasty cheese and generous bacon, with a excellent quality beef. I would recommend this as a fabulous place to eat, however Match Clerkenwell has now shut down, although there is Match West End, the Clerkenwell restaurant will always have the edge (and fond memories) for me!

Friday, 24 December 2010

8/10 - The Distillers, Smithfield, City of London

Location: A small, but tastefully decorated pub on Long Acre by Smithfields Market called The Distillers.

What the menu said:
Distiller Beef Burger - Served Medium on Soda Bread Bap Bun, with Bacon, Cheese and hand cut chips

Price:
£9.95

Presentation:
Good. Two halves of the bun were separated with burger, bacon and melted cheese on one side, and lettuce on other half.

Toppings:
Very good. Single bacon slice was meaty and salty (hardly any rind/fat). Cheese was a very mature Red Leicester, melted over the bacon and burger, which added real depth the whole experience. Mixed red and green lettuce was chopped and crisp, allowing easy eating.

Bread:
Wonderful! The Soda Bread was heavy and salty, but added to the whole experience by wrapping itself around the burger and not disintegrating in the hands - one of the best bread solutions I've ever had.

Meat:
Very good. A medium-rare cooked burger, with a light 'bbq' style charring on the outside made this burger stand out.

Plate Accessories: 
Good. A decent portion of hand-cut chunky chips were simple and effective.

Overall rating: 8/10

This was a good overall burger, combining all the essential elements, with a great bun, tasty cheese and generous bacon, with a very good meat patty. I would recommend The Distillers Smithfield!
The Distillers on Urbanspoon

Burger Me! Five Criteria I Use to Rate my Burgers

As I undertake my voyage of burger discovery across London, I have developed 5 criterial for rating any burger I consume. The combination of these elements will feed into my overall score for the meal. I have purposely broken down the elements of the burger into its constituent parts, so each component is looked at in detail as, and I am sure you will agree, a burger is only as good as the sum of its parts!

So what are the criteria I'll be using?

Presentation: This rates how the burger is presented on the plate. Is the layout well thought out, how are the burger and bun presented, and how is it accessorised?

Toppings: Toppings are very important in the hunt for the perfect burger. Is the salad crisp or limp, how melted is the cheese, how fatty is the bacon, is the egg overcooked? No matter what the burger is topped with, it is rated for how well it combines with the meat.

Bread: The bun is the all too often overlooked aspect of a burger. Sadly most restaurants see this as an afterthought, but I rate on how well the bread stays together, how fresh it is, and how dry/moist it is.

Meat: Obviously the core of any good burger is the meat that goes into it. I'll be rating how its cooked,  consistency, flavour, quality, and taste. Mmmm...meat!

Plate Accessories: The final element of my patented '5 Burger Criteria' is how the plate is accessorised. While I don't rate how good the chips are, or the range of salad, I do comment on what is included and the portion size.


All of these elements lead me to an overall score, which is rated out of /10, so consume, digest and be sated on my London Burger blog. Remember I'm doing this all for you!

Hamburger Me! The London Burger Blog

One day, far in the past, Nick Andrews had a burger in London. However, this was no ordinary burger. It turns out that this was the worst burger he had ever eaten. The bun was dry, the meat was overcooked, the salad was limp and warm. From this experience he decided that enough was enough, and was resolved to find the perfect burger in London.

What started as an idea has evolved over time (with lots of gaps, and many other meals in between), and now it has finally been converted into a blog.

Each burger in each restaurant I visit is rated with Nick's patented '5 Burger Criteria' and then given a rating out of /10.

Hamburger Me! is Nick Andrews' London Burger Blog, and I hope you enjoy it!
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