Tuesday, 21 June 2011

7/10 - Bishop's Finger, West Smithfield, City of London

Location: On the corner of Long Acre and West Smithfield, sandwiched between Carluccio's and Ferrari's, resides The Bishop's Finger pub - part of the Shepherd Neame stable. We arrived early on a Tuesday lunchtime, and had our pick of the tables outside (a reckless decision during rare period of rain-free weather in the City this summer). The pub offers a range of real ales, which I will have to return to sample another day, as sadly this bear had to head back to work after lunch...

From the menu, a laminated affair that appears to be a pub staple, I didn't have very high expectations.

Straight burger (£7.95), Add Bacon and Cheese (£1), includes chips

Our meals came with the old 'wooden chopping board' classic execution. Even though it was not displayed quite as nicely as the Bistro du Vin burger (and costing a good £5 less), the burger was nevertheless almost as impressive looking. A large, roughly hewn and hand packed burger patty, in a dense, sourdough bun, bowl of skin-on chips, and a little pot of relish, served with a bucket of cutlery and condiments. Things were looking good.

Mature Cheddar and Bacon. Though the latter was somewhat lacking in quantity it was, at least, quite tasty. The cheddar on the other hand was completely tasteless. Add to that the fat in the burger, and the liberal spreading of mayo under the 'lid', it made for quite a greasy experience. The undersalad was solid, and the lambs lettuce worked quite well.

Pretty good. Speaking to the landlady, the meat used in the burger patty came fresh from Smithfields market daily, and is hand-moulded into the maxi-sized burger by the chef prior to cooking. It came out charred on the outside, and pink in the middle, with rough ground, course mince, and not even a hint of circular edge! The one problem with the meat was the amount of fat in the mince - as you can see below there was a veritable pool of grease that poured out, and with our slightly wonky outside table, it threatened to cover me with a tsunami of lard - luckily we had plenty of napkins! This however was minor compared to the size, and quality of the patty.

Actually pretty good. A sourdough bun, lightly grilled and very fresh was dense and yeilding, while holding the whole meaty munch-fest together.

Plate Accessories:
The accessories on the wooden board were fair, the tomato burger relish (straight out of a booker tub) was passable, but slightly acidic - which actually managed to cut through the grease a bit. The chips were single fried with skins on, and were fine, but needed a good dose of salt to bring the flavour out. All in all the combination worked well with the burger, and while I finished my portion (just!) my dining companion was defeated with just a few chips down...

Overall Rating: 7/10

This gets a grand 7/10 as for pub fayre under £10, it's pretty good. The Bishop's Finger burger has good meat, a great bun, but is sadly let down by the toppings and the slapped on wave of mayo on the bun - a bit of tweaking and this could be some much better. I'd recommend this as a jolly filling, and impressive looking burger - and next time I'll be having a pint of Whitstable Bay with it!

Bishop's Finger on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. It is fascinating as a food provider (I have a cafe in Brighton called Seven Bees Cafe) to see this level of scrutiny. It is terrifying yet at the same time exhilarating. Feedback like this can, and should be, invaluable to a committed chef. The chef here is clearly making an effort to provide an above average product, and there are comments in this review that offer simple yet effective tweaks to make the plate an even better offering than it already is. A thoughtful and balanced review like this is gold for an engaged chef.