Tuesday 28 June 2011

The Burgermat Show: #burgermonday with burger art!

Twitter has been alive with the buzz of Daniel Young and Burgerac's #BurgerMatShow for a few weeks now, and those who have heard of, or previously visited, Burgermonday know the format. The events are held on Monday nights in Andrew's cafe (160 Gray's Inn Road), which is one of a breed of greasy spoon caffs whose heyday was the 50s and 60s, complete with Formica tables, glass-covered 'sneeze guard' counter, and open kitchen space comprising work surfaces, and an almost wall-to-wall flat grill, which some might say is the perfect burger grilling surface (just ask Lionel or Richard!).

Over the course of the evening, a series of rolling sittings take place, of roughly two hours each, and in that time guests are served a three-course meal, with the burger taking centre stage, with free flowing beer and wine.

Where this #burgermonday differed was the addition of an art show curated by London's very own burger detective, Burgerac. The BurgermatShow included 24 illustrators and artists who each produced signed copies of their burger-themed artwork as placemats, upon which guests could create their own, unique burger juice splattered work of art. What better way to spend a fine summer's evening than with a celebration of burgers in visual and edible form, with my fellow burger lovers (by Twitter handle, namely @eatingsoho, @gubgub08, @HayleyMudge, @Dave_Rowlinson, @DanPeters, @LadyVelo82, and @Grobelaar to name but a few).

The evening's weather was pretty hot and sticky, being rather more like Washington D.C. than London, ( my sympathy goes to those running the show - it can't have been pleasant dashing around cooking and serving in that heat!) Needless to say chilled beer was in high demand, and the evening's fare was a number of different beers from North East Scotland brewer Brew Dog. The brews available were 5am Saint, Punk IPA and Trashy Blonde. 5am Saint was an interesting beer - and the label gives you some insight into how Brew Dog think - brilliant! 

An analysis of the burgermats on our table revealed art from the following artists: Know your condiments by Crispin Finn, Amazeballs! by Richard Hogg, Burgermat by Nishant Choksi, and Unnamed by Gemma Shiel. Prints of these fabulous works of art are available at Print Process.
Gemma Shiel burger mat

Our table's burger mats on display


Promptly after beers came the starter, a TV dinner-style tray of sharing nibbles and dips. Working my way around the tray, I sampled the delights of grilled Padrón peppers (classically used as part of Padrón roulette, where one unlucky diner would bite into a raging inferno of pain - lucky these were all mild and full-flavoured!), next up were thin, crispy fingers of pork crackling, and a delicious puréed apple sauce to go with them, followed by thinly sliced crostini, and the most divine taramasalata (made lovingly by hand using smoked cod roe, bread crumbs, lemon juice, olive oil and milk). The whole starter was finished off with shots of Gazpacho soup, which were fantastic (probably in part due to the fact they were chilled, and at this point it was heating up in Andrew's!).

A #burgermonday sharing platter, on Monday

Gazpacho, baby!
Starter dispatched, it was time for the main event of the evening, Fred Smith's bacon cheeseburger. No words I write can do this bad boy justice, I mean LOOK AT IT, it's just so beautiful!

So here's the science bit, let's do some deconstruction: The bun was a light yet firm brioche style bun, procured from Millers of Wimbledon (the same supplier of buns to city powerhouse Hawksmoor), it took some punishment from the burger and its toppings, and for the most part held up under the pressure - the base of my bun began to disintegrate towards my last couple of mouthfuls, but I just didn't care as I had glorious meat juice dripping down my hands and chin.

Working from the top down, the toppings were simple, bacon and cheese, and each had distinct characteristics. The bacon was a ventreche rolled pork belly and had a fabulous rich flavour, while the cheese was a new variety from William Oglethorpe (of Kappacasein Dairy), simply named Bermondsey Frier, a halloumi-like cheese with a delightful rubbery texture, which acted as a glue to hold the patty together.

And then comes the meat. And the fireworks. This was possibly the most orgasmic beef patty I've ever eaten. The patty was composed of a thick grind mix of Chuck (50%), Short Rib (25%)  and Rib Cap (25%) with Chef Fred Smith estimating a fat ratio of close to 25%. Cooked as rare as I think it's possible to get, the meat was fatty, drippy, gooey and lots of other dwarves. 11/10!

But that wasn't it. Below the patty sat a layer of gherkins, connected to the thin slice of beef tomato, which in turn was connected to a moreish wholegrain mustard and iceberg lettuce slaw - reminiscent of the big mac burger sauce, but with much more punch - a fantastic way to finish this burger in style!

Dessert was a New York Cheesecake that was light, biscuity and far too much after that massive burger (though I finished every last crumb!)

The chefs in the kitchen did a fabulous job of rolling through the covers in the pretty hot and humid conditions, as did the waitresses:

Burger Monday chefs, Niall, Fred, Cary and Simon
And of course, you know it's good when Daniel gets excited!

While Chef Fred Smith (of Admiral Codrington fame) created his masterpieces in the kitchen, we created masterpieces of our own on our burgermats, beer, burger juice, sauce, and wine made it a unique evening, and left everyone buzzing!

For all the latest photos from event attendees visit the BurgerMonday facebook page, and join the Young & Foodish email list, and never miss out on another #burgermonday!


  1. I really wish I'd gone to this, looks like it was a great night.

  2. Thanks for the great write-up! Glad you enjoyed the show - it was a blast to work with Daniel and all the artists to make it happen!


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