Tuesday 10 May 2011

8.5/10 - Barbecoa, 20 New Change Passage, City of London

Location: Up on the first floor, of the posh, shop-filled, and now not-so new, One New Change, sits Barbecoa - a collaboration between Jamie Oliver and Adam Perry Lang. The restaurant is a low-key affair, with simple wooden tables, and a wine rack that spans most of one wall. A Tuesday lunchtime was the setting for my first assault on this resaurant, and indeed only my second time eating in One New Change (my previous experience being in Byron, opposite on the first floor). Getting the early bird slot at around 12.15 meant we had our choice of table and so we sat right by the window, overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral - not a bad dining view!

£16 for the burger, which includes bacon and cheese toppings, and is accompanied by duck fat chips.

Immaculate. The works are presented on a chopping board, with my speared burger taking pride of place between a pile of mixed pickles, and a metal bowl of chips. There is something incredibly prehistoric about serving lunch on a big chunk of wood, and my first thought was that my knife and fork would be redundant for this meal!

Pretty good: there was a decent amount of thick, flavoursome, streaky bacon, and the Westcombe cheddar cheese was generously portioned, and nicely melted so that it stuck the burger patty to the top of the bun and left swathes of it hanging down the side. The flavour of the cheese was, in my humble opinion, too strong for the bun and the patty, so rather than complementing the juicy 6-week aged ground beef, it fought for supremacy.

Very good: a perfect sized pork fat brioche-style bun, with a dusting of seasame seeds on top complemented this burger nicely. The brioche-style was not overdone (too much sugar as per Corney and Barrow can kill brioche burger buns), was nice and soft on top, and lightly toasted on the inside, making it the perfect consistency to hold the burger together until the last, delicious bite. An honourable mention should be given to the size of the bun, which fitted the burger and toppings perfectly - leaving neither the 'empty promise bite' , nor the all filling no wrapping debacle. This, my fellow burgerites, is a custom-made bun for the patty that actually works! Speaking with Nathan Mills (of Barbecoa and Ginger Pig fame), their pastry chef, Colin, went through around 50 variations to get the bun right. Colin, we salute you (and all the staff who went through the rigourous 'burger tasting process' - tough life!)

Very good: the patty contains a load of wonderfully flavoursome, 6-week aged ground beef, in a combination of 30% fat to 70% lean steak. The grinding is quite fine so you don't get that course feeling as you bite into it, but it was moist, meaty and full of flavour. There was however one major issue with the meat, and that came down to the cooking...I asked for the burger rare but was told it had to be cooked through. I then asked the reasoning for full cooking and, in fairness to my waiter, I did get a good reason: apparently cooking a steak on each side kills any bacteria that may exist on the surface, but for ground beef the bacteria could be anywhere in the burger, so it needs to be cooked through. Luckily the burger was still juicy, and oh-so-flavoursome, but sadly no pink centre.

Plate Accessories:
Great. The chips were great, with delicious crisp outers, with nice fluffy insides, with a fabulous duck fatty unctuousness, sprinkled with sea salt. The pickles were also a great touch, piled in one corner and including several sliced cornichons, mini pickled onions, and a spicy pimiento pepper. All were polished off with gusto, save the stalk of the pimiento, even I wasn't that hungry today!

Overall rating: 8.5/10
Barbecoa is an excellent restaurant, with even more excellent views, and so scores a very good Burger Me! 8.5/10. For £16, the meat was flavoursome, and the bun excellent (Bun win...!) but I would have liked a softer, less mature flavour on the cheese, and a pinker inner burger to give this a higher mark.

One thing I'm really pleased to have done is pop into the Barbecoa butchery downstairs on Watling Street and check out their very own meat aging room. I would have a picture, but sadly the sun conspired against me and it was all reflection and no meat...:(. I do, however, have a great picture of their meat presentation counter, with none other than Matt in shot - currently in training for the International Young Butcher of the Year (thanks Nathan!)...Mmmmmmmm Meat!

What are your thoughts on Barbecoa - I'd be interested to hear what your experiences are!
Barbecoa on Urbanspoon


  1. So Jamie Oliver could be considered "Bun Winning"...!

  2. Anonymous11 May, 2011

    Very high mark for a place that won't cook to order. You can certainly get it medium whilst killing any nasties too, so it's not a valid argument from them really. Also very strange for a restaurant with steak tartare on the menu to be worried about the risk of not cooking a burger through. Slight lack of consistency.

    I agree on mature cheddar on a burger, if you're going with a cheese like that you have to be very careful on the amount otherwise it just fights with the meat.

    I don't like the look of the grind either, too fine for my taste.

  3. Well said, Josh.

    Looks like they're pre-salting their meat and grinding it way too fine.

  4. I'm with Josh on this one, you can still cook the meat nicely and kill the nasties. But that really is beside the point, E coli is from the intestinal tract and any good abattoir isn't going to be spilling shit on the meat when they butcher a carcass.

  5. Thanks for all the comments - I admit I was also slightly miffed about the cooking, but the meat had great flavour and still retained some of its juice - and the whole burger just....worked!

    You're right though Josh and Ibzo, the grinding was too fine - give me a nice rough Goodman grind (oo-er) any day over this one.

    Pavel, I agree - the burger is ground in the Barbecoa butcher on Watling street, so really the meat should be totally manure free...!

    Finally - the mental image of Jamie Oliver on telly saying 'I'm not bun polar, I'm bun WINNING!' Charlie Sheen-style, made me chuckle!


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