Friday 23 December 2011

The Best and Worst Burgers in London: 1 Year Anniversary Picture Quiz

Hello loyal burger fans.

This has been an excellent year for Burger Me!, and today is the 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of this blog. I can't believe its gone by so quickly. Doing some rough maths I reckon I've taken down around 100 burgers this year (that only averages out at 2 a week...) and blogged more than fifty different burger restaurants and burger events. So, with that in mind, what better way to wind down 2011 than with a pictorial competition of the best burgers in London (and the worst). Just name the burgers in the comments section and I might even send one lucky winner a classy MEAT WIN tote bag.

Can you guess all 30?
Click the image to see it in its full-sized burger glory.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Hawksmoor Seven Dials Burger Wars: Classic burger vs Kimchi burger

Just off Covent Garden, at the bottom of Langley Street (a New York-style alleyway, only lacking subway steam and a nunchuck weilding gang) sits Hawksmoor Seven Dials. Just as you get to the bottom of the alley, when you think there couldn't possibly be any kind of thriving business, save one of the less than salubrious establishments Soho is famed for, let alone one of London's pre-eminent and widely praised meat restaurants there it is. This is one of London's worst kept secrets, and a meat shrine at which first timers and regulars alike, worship.

The heavy, black wooden doors swing open to reveal a low lit reception, and a bevy of 

MaĆ®tre ds efficiently deal with coats, bags and lead you down to the bar for drinks and a wait until your table is ready. It's dark, luxurious and just the sort of place to gain the reputation it has.

The scene is set for Burger wars. The classic Hawksmoor burger, and the Kimchi burger.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Burgers at The White Swan - 20 Farringdon Street, City of London, EC4A 4AB

Location: Almost directly opposite the Hoop & Grapes on Farringdon Road sits The White Swan. It's recently changed hands and the new owners have done a great job converting what was a bit of a grubby, old-skool city grot-pub into quite a nice gastro-type feel. In spite of the imposing pitch black exterior paint job, the inside was surprisingly light and airy, with 'proper' solid wood tables laid out ready for lunch.

This visit happened on a Thursday lunchtime, I had the pleasurable company of the blonde, the brunette, and the Scottish lass (and we know what happens when this lot join me, don't we Giant Robot!)

Handmade West Country beef burger with cheddar and bacon and hand cut chips - £8.95.

The blonde, brunette and I all went for the beef burger, whilst the Scottish lass went for a chicken burger (having never eaten she really Scottish, you ask?)

Saturday 10 December 2011

ELSCo Burgers: Testing the Mettle of the George Foreman Grill

From time to time, I cook burgers at home. That may not come as a surprise to many of you. "You're a burger blogger", I hear you cry, "it's what you do." But actually, home burger cooking is relatively irregular in my household.

There are certain moments, certain times however, when it would be frankly rude to not knock up a couple of burgers, and one of these moments presented itself to me last week. A PR company had been in touch with me to see if I would do a review of one of their George Foreman grills, and they'd send me one if I was interested.

Now, my previous experience of George Foreman grills was they were a waste of space. I had a mini one while I was at university, and it was about as effective at cooking as putting the food in your cupped hands and breathing into them. However it gave me an excuse to do a review that involved cooking burgers, so I acquiesced and two days later my George Foreman Grill and Griddle arrived.

The unit is a combination of a lidded grill and a flat griddle, and it's huge. If you don't have much worktop space in your kitchen, this may not be for you.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Tom Byng, Founder of Byron, on Burgers, Business, and Innovation

Tom cuts an inconspicuous figure picking his way across his crowded restaurant at One New Change, as he makes his way to where I'm sitting. I'm meeting Tom Byng, founder of Byron, to find out a little bit more about what makes Byron, and him, tick and we've arranged to meet on a Friday lunchtime in Byron's Cheapside outpost.

I've wanted to start getting more in-depth information on the thought process and personalities who are driving London's burger restaurants, and scene, and having bumped into Tom on several other occasions, he's very kindly agreed to meet and talk about some of the things he's most passionate about. Byron and burgers.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Burger Business: How do you start a burger van business in London?

This is the first in a series of articles I'm writing on the Business of Burgers.
I've been thinking over the past few months about how one would start on the road (pun intended) to setting up a burger van business. I haven't ever done it, and yet I can imagine there would be a few key challenges to overcome, and obviously some start up expenses.
So here's my list on how to set up a burger van business. I've tried to peg expenses to the number of burgers you'd need to sell to make back your investment capital @£4.50 a burger:

Thursday 1 December 2011

Meat Winning in the Burger Me! shop

Tell me what you want to win, and win it!

At Burger Me!, I like to reward people who read what I have to say, and not just with mouthwatering pictures of gastro-orgasmic burgers, but with real, physical stuff. And so I'm running a competition to win an item of YOUR CHOICE from the Burger Me! store.

There are two simple ways to win, and you can even get your name in the draw twice if you're cunning.

    • Go to the Burger Me! shop and choose the item you want to win.
    • Log into Twitter and paste the link to your item with the hashtag #meatwin
I'll be drawing one lucky winner THIS SUNDAY 4th DECEMBER 2011 and the winner's item will be delivered well in time for Xmas.

So, what are you waiting for? Choose your Burger Me clothing NOW!

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Ben's Canteen: Taking the next step on the burger journey

For those of you who follow this blog regularly, you'll remember my visit to Ben's Canteen during its soft launch, where I sampled their burger concept, and got to meet Ben, the man behind the canteen.

Well, a few weeks ago, I was invited back by Ben to try out his upgraded burger, and to graffiti the men's toilets...but more on that in another post.

Ben's Canteen (BC) Burger with chips - £12.50. Add bacon - £1.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

MEATLiquor: Dirty Pretty Burgers

Just north of Bond Street Tube Station, sat slap bang in the middle of Welbeck Street is a permanent home for The Meatwagon. Named MEATLiquor on account of its two simple menus, one for Meat, the other for Liquor.
MeatLiquor Dead Hippie burger
It may be new, but it is still serving many of The Meatwagon's classic burgers, albeit in brand spanking new, and painstakingly designed surroundings.

Sunday 13 November 2011

#BurgerMonday: Henry Harris, Racine Kitchen, 24 October 2011

I haven't been to a #BurgerMonday event for a while. It's not for a lack of trying, but every time Daniel Young (the Young in Young&Foodish) arranges something, I'm either on holiday or have plans I can't change - like my brother visiting from Australia for a week - I though tempting I couldn't cancel. So I was pretty excited to secure a ticket for Henry Harris' Racine burger pop-up at Andrew's Cafe on Grays Inn Road.

I always love these events as I get to meet great people, eat stunning burgers that test the boundaries of burger construction and delivery, and get a bit boozed as well!   

Friday 28 October 2011

How I Met Your Mother - The Best Burger in New York

As an aside (and hence filed under something a bit different) I'm a big fan of How I Met Your Mother, the US TV sitcom that is beginning to replace the ubiquitous replays of Friends. 

One of my favourite episodes is inevitably burger related, and revolves around Marshall, who once had the best burger in New York but was never able to find it again.

The episode in a nutshell:

The group eating in a bar agree to try the burger. It arrives and they all say how good the burger is, except for Marshall, who says it's just 'OK', seeing as he had the best burger in New York eight years ago when he accidentally finds a burger joint and the best burger in New York.
When he rushes back to tell Ted about it he forgets where it is. And so Marshall has tried every burger joint he can in an attempt to find the place. This prompts the group to troop around New York in search of this elusive burger joint.

Watch How I Met Your Mother: The Best Burger in New York now!

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Bread Street Kitchen's short rib burger

Born just 22 days before my visit (ok so it took over a year to open) Bread Street Kitchen is the latest Gordon Ramsey outpost, situated in One New Change.

Spread out over two floors (the lower floor is small and has a cafe feel, and other one school canteen cum french bistro style cavern), every element of design at BSK has been nailed in painstaking detail. The array of pink-tinted victorian glass lampshade chandaliers. Angle poise lamps perched menacingly around the edges, hybrid bric-a-brac pieces welded together to make other lamps (we were next to a lathed engine part that had been welded to some plumbing, sprouting lightbulbs out of their taps - I kid you not).

I'd tweeted Executive Chef Simon Gregory (@chefgregory01) earlier in the week to say we'd be coming in, and once we arrived he came over to talk a little bit about the concept and the food. He'd been working 22 days straight to bed everything down, and with 170 booked in for a Tuesday lunchtime, he was comfortable BSK was on the right track. The team cooking are a mix of people from a number of GR's other restaurants, as well as The Ivy and Hawksmoor, so I was pretty excited about the food we'd be getting.
Atlantic crab cocktail with celeriac and pink peppercorns
Stone bass ceviche with grated lemon zest, wasabi and avocado sauce
Simon sent us several starters out to whet our palettes, which were pretty special. A nutty, creamy Atlantic crab cocktail with celariac, and a subtle stone bass finished with a sprinkles of ground seaweed and zested wasabi. Both were absolutely delicious. The was, however, only one thing on my dining companion 'the dame' and my minds - the Bread Street Kitchen Short Rib Burger - so how did it fare?

Short rib burger - £11.50.
Hand-cut chips - £3.50.
Cabbage and red onion coleslaw - £3.50.

Impressive. This burger poses imperiously on the plate. It dominates the space around it. It's big, it's heavy, it cheekily shows a bit of what might lie underneath. If it were a lady, it would be less geisha, and more glamour.

A perfectly polished metal beaker of dark golden hand-cut chips and ramekin side of creamy coleslaw arrive separately.
Perfectly harmonious. Every element in this burger has its exact place. The slightly spicy tomato ketchup is a reduction of tomato, star anise and peppers, pureed and applied liberally on top of the cheese, and it sets off the rich, fatty flavours of the rest of the burger magnificently. The cheese was changed to Ogleshield (from the usual Bermondsey Frier) and the thick, salty, slightly melted wedge added dimension (along with the sliced pickles) to a burger that gave up little resistance to a determined jaw. Underneath the burger lay a chopped iceburg 'slaw, mixed with garlic and mustard mayonnaise.

Bloody great. The patty is made up of of a combination of short rib, chuck and beef fat in a 50%, 30%, 20% ratio. This translates into a pretty juicy burger. The meat is coarsely minced, and then hand-formed into the 8oz-ish patties that go between the buns. With the high short rib content, the taste is creamy and almost veal-like, with huge amounts of satisfying juice and fat, yet in spite of the light beef flavours, they are complemented by the acidity in the cheese, spicy ketchup and mustard mayonnaise iceburg 'slaw.

As this burger oozes and gushes juice down my chin and hands, I'm thinking, this burger is almost TOO wet and juicy...but it's a fleeting thought.
The Bread Street Kitchen cut-through
The almost pornographic centrefold of the BSK short rib burger.
Excellent. This is the Miller's brioche bun, and I have come to the conclusion that it is close to indestructible. Given the massive amounts of juice oozing from the patty soaking the plate, my fingers, and my chin, you would be forgiven for thinking this bun would collapse under the weight of the tidal wave of liquid gushing forth. Tested at depths of 300m under the sea (true story*) this bun has been built to withstand the most serious of tests.

As an aside, it turns out Gordon Ramsey restaurants have been using this same Miller's brioche bun since 2003 when they first put their veal and fois gras burger on the menu at another well known outpost. 
*not a true story

Very good. Ordered separately off the sides menu are hand-cut chips, and these are some of the tastiest chips I've had in a while. Cooked almost like roast potatoes, the outsides of the chips are deep golden and have a firm, slightly chewy crunch to them. Once your through the skin, the centre is soft and fluffy. The portion looks slightly mean, but between two of us, we only just finished them (and I've eaten three burgers in one sitting before...). The coleslaw is creamy and crunchy.

Bread Street Kitchen hand-cut chips
Overall rating: 9.5/10
This burger execution has all the hallmarks of a great understanding about how the various element of a burger work together in perfect harmony. Creamy, fatty meat patties offset by spicy tomato ketchup. Ogleshield cheese adding structure to the soft, loose ground beef, Mustard and garlic mayonnaise moreishly blending with the juice from the patties. At £11.50, this is a great burger at a great price.

Get your arse to Bread Street Kitchen, as this burger goes straight into my 'Top 5 Best Burgers in London' list.

After the burgers were well and truly dispatched, this was the point any normal person would have stopped, but not 'the dame' and I. Simon wanted us to try a couple of the signature desserts that were screaming out at us from the pudding menu so, in the words of Yoda, "ate some more, we did." And it was awesome.
Vanilla and gingerbread cheesecake with berries and vanilla ice cream
Chocolate tart with salt caramel ice cream and honeycomb

Bread Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Sunday 23 October 2011

Keep Calm and Have a Cheeseburger

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The latest range to launch from Burger Me! Designs is here. Starting originally as a public service announcement from the British government, around the time of the second world war, Keep Calm and Carry On reflects a resolutely British attitude to life. 

More than 70 years on society has changed, so what better way to sum up the current state of the nation than with the launch of 'Keep Calm and Have a Cheeseburger'!

You can own a piece of the 'Keep Calm and Have a Cheeseburger' fashion range from just £11.69, select your tshirt or top, choose from an array of colours, and follow the simple checkout process. Simples.

The Men's range consists mixture of classic, retro, baseball and basketball Tshirts with the bold 'Keep Calm and Have a Cheeseburger' logo on them.

The Ladies range incorporates fitted Tshirts, spaghetti tops, tank tops, long sleeve, and contrast tshirts, all bearing Keep Calm and Have a Cheeseburger.

Peruse, purchase and enjoy!

Tuesday 18 October 2011

The Admiral Codrington serves up a stunning cheeseburger.

The Admiral Codrington is located on Mossop Street, several stone's throw from South Kensington Tube. I've had a number of burgers there before, but never from the main menu (see the Ad Cod burger swarm posts: Admiral Codrington three burger tasting, and the Admiral Codrington MockDonalds).

This visit it was time to try the much lauded Admiral Codrington Cheeseburger.

8oz Cheeseburger - £15. This includes burger, pickles and hand cut chips. 
Mac 'n' Cheese - £6.00.

Monday 10 October 2011

Lucky Chip, Burgers at Netil Market, Westgate Street, London Fields

There is very little I can say about Lucky Chip that you probably don't already know. They have, after all, just had a feature written about them in none other than EasyJet's in-flight magazine. When a place ascends to the altitude of in-flight entertainment, this humble burger blogger thought it was about time, four months after Lucky Chip arrived at Netil Market, to finally schlep across London to see what all the fuss is about?

As mentioned, Lucky Chip is in Netil Market. Actually, Lucky Chip is sat in a small car park off Westgate Street, just by London Fields, in Netil Market.

I rocked up to the car park on a Friday night, following a journey from the city that included the Central Line to Bethnal Green and then the 106 bus to London Fields, with 'the brunette' at the very civilized hour of 7pm. From the outset the style, like the location, is off-piste. 

Friday 7 October 2011

8.5/10 - Rivington Grill, Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London

Rivington Grill Location:

Set on the trendy Rivington Street a short walk from Old Street, Rivington Grill is set up in an old industrial unit, the black doors and windows contrast the white walled interior, and walking inside I felt transported back to Agatha Christie's time - Poirot, I felt, could be sitting in the corner with his waxed moustache, bowler hat and cane.

Rivington Luxury Burger £12.75 (includes chips and three toppings - egg, cheese and bacon). The plain Rivington Grill burger comes in at £10, and extra toppings can be added for £1 a topping (the extra toppings are as above).

Starters came out first (this is a rare pushing out of the boat for this burger blogger), which included lamb scrumpets (whatever they are - we felt we needed them in our lives - who can resist a good scrumpet). These were swiftly despatched by me and my fellow diner, along a delicious plate of grilled prawns and squid.

Friday 30 September 2011

Brand spanking new MEAT WIN clothing and accessories range!

Whilst busily eating my way through the highs and lows of London burger life to bring you the latest info on where's hot to eat a burger (and where's not!), this burger blogger doesn't rest on his laurels. In conjunction with a very talented designer, I have been working on a secret squirrel project to bring some of your favourite Burger Me! graphics to life.

I am incredibly excited to announce that the first range of Burger Me! clothing and accessories is now on sale. That's right folks, very soon you could be wearing and sharing some fabulous burger inspired art! 

The Products:
Working in partnership with Spreadshirt, a well established online retailer with a large range of high quality clothing and accessories, I've created a quirky, burger-inspired range.

The Range:
So without further ado, I am really proud to reveal the MEAT WIN range from Burger Me! which includes the following products:

MEAT WIN Chef's Apron
The MEAT WIN adult apron is an absolute classic. Sporting a white version of the MEAT WIN graphic, this apron would be the perfect gift for anyone who likes to sear big slabs of meat in the kitchen or on the barbie. This is the ideal present for that person who has everything.  

This apron is hard-wearing and completely machine washable. Available in Blue or White!

MEAT WIN Men's Boxer Shorts
Need I say more gents?! These MEAT WIN men's boxer shorts are 100% cotton boxers, printed with the MEAT WIN logo on the leg. The shorts have an elasticated waist band, double central pouch, and come in four different sizes - what's not to love!


MEAT WIN Men's Hoodie
As the autumn months begin to kick in, what better way to stay warm and fashionable than with your very own MEAT WIN men's hoodie.

Printed with the MEAT WIN logo on the chest, this hoodie will make you stand out from the crowd. This high quality, 80% cotton, 320g/sqm weight men's hoodie is lined inside with soft fleece to keep you warm whilst making a statement. Available in 6 colours!

MEAT WIN Organic Tote Bag
If you've already stocked up on aprons, hoodies and boxer shorts for the next few months, then why not take a look at our Organic MEAT WIN tote bag?

This rugged tote is made from 100% organic cotton, and has 12in handles to boot, making it easy to sling over your shoulder.

Not simply content with a monochrome version? This tote bag is available in a range of 6 fantastic colours, and with a white logo as well!

The boring but important stuff:
This is all really exciting stuff, and top quality to boot, but I'm sure you're wondering what the score is with delivery, payment methods etc. Well here it all is:

£2.20 (for orders under £17)
£4.00 (for orders £17 upwards)

You can pay by any of the following methods: Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Amex

Keep an eye out for Burger Me! on Twitter and on Facebook for exclusive monthly competitions where I'll be giving away an item from the latest range of Burger Me! designer clothing and accessories.

Monday 26 September 2011

Advance Preview: Diablo Burger at The Diner: Ganton Street, Soho, London

I was recently invited, with a couple of fellow burgerites, to preview a burger concept put together by the executive chef for The Diner's upcoming seasonal halloween menu.

The Diablo burger is an 8oz USDA beef patty, coarsely ground and consisting of a combination of cuts from the rib, sirloin, fillet and chuck. It is topped with pepperjack cheese, rashers of streaky bacon, and comes with fries. On the side sits a pot of blood-red (clearly highly oxygenated) devilish relish.

The Diner recommend this burger served medium-rare, so that's what we went for, and here's the low down:

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Cheeseburger in a Can: A truly 'unique' experience

UPDATE - September 2011!
The cheeseburger in a can (immortalised on Twitter under the hashtag #CannedCheeseburgerTweetUp) is a story that is best told in pictures, with few words, and perhaps a video clip.
A Cheeseburger in a can. These grow naturally in the wild but are difficult to find and harvest, due to their rare nature
With more ingredients than your average salon hair product, the Cheeseburger in a Can is not for those with allergies

Sunday 18 September 2011

The Diner, 18 Ganton Street, Soho, London, W1F 7BU

Location: Another Friday, another London burger joint off Carnaby Street in Soho. The area seems to have more than its fair share of them, with Kua'Aina and Carnaby Burger Co. also within a couple of streets of The Diner, Soho.

So, The Diner in Soho takes up a huge wedge of real estate in the middle of Ganton Street, black fronted with buzzing neon sign glowing red/orange over the outside seating area, you can't miss it as you walk by. I had been wanting to visit The Diner for a while, but with three outposts completely equi-distant from me, I could never make my mind up which one to eat in. Well, as it happened a friend from the US was visiting and had spent the day wandering in Soho - what better excuse, I thought, for a trip to The Diner for that authentic American diner burger experience in London.

Double Decker burger, £7.70 (extra Bacon £0.80, extra Cheese, £0.70). Fries, £2.60. Total Burger and Fries: £11.80. (Onion Rings £3.10. Mexican Burger - £6.70).
The diner menu in it's full laminated, faux leather encased glory
Classic diner. Food arrived in plastic bowls lined with Diner-branded greaseproof paper. The burgers arrived lid-off with patties and toppings on full display. Fries and Onion Rings were plentiful. My American dining companion said it felt like home. I was happy.

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