Location:Ember is a small bar with a warehouse-style interior, situated just by Farringdon tube station. Part of the wider Faucet Inn group, which operate a number of bars across the capital. My visit was on a Thursday lunchtime, sans reservation, but the bar was bereft of guests, a solitary older couple being the other beneficiaries of the slightly surly barmaid's attentions.
Price: £8.75 for bacon cheeseburger including chunky chips.
Great. The burger arrived avec chips on a ergonomic wooden board, sauces to the left of me, burger to the right, here I am , stuck in the middle with chips. Not what I expected (from seeing the food served to the only other diners in the bar). The burger seemed quite small, almost mean if I'm being fair to it, but the whole ensemble looked quite impressive.
Ok. The toppings (bacon, cheese, onion chutney, huge pile of lettuce) were alright. The shining star in this ensemble was the bacon, which was meaty and full of unsmoked flavour. Sadly that's where the quality of toppings end. A huge forest of lettuce hid a pool of sharp red onion chutney and a cold, tasteless cheese - still trying to work out how the cheese was both melted and freezing cold.
Meat: Clearly Ember's policy with the burger is 'eating is cheating'. This was a sorry sized patty - I estimated it at less than 100g. The patty was cooked medium, which was no mean feat considering it was about 0.5cm thick, and the grind was fairly fine. I had the feeling that the burger was a frozen patty, but I'm guessing (and asking my less than attentive waitress was a no-go). As you can see from the hand image below, the actual burger was significantly smaller than my, albeit piano players, hands.
Errrrm..I'm not sure what was going on with this bun, it seemed to be a cross between a soft pretzel (philly-style) and a white bap - although something in then creation suggested the chef had too much time on his hands as it was more a Frankenstein's monster of doughy bits than bun. A strange series of curls on the lid meant it fell apart almost immediately when picked up, and although the texture was lightly toasted and fluffy, sadly it lacked cohesion with the burger.
Ok. Chips were on target, chunky, crispy and unsalted, and actually the most generous part of this meal. The tomato sauce was fine, and the mean portion of coleslaw was tasty, although it was a mere forkful.
Overall rating: 5/10
Despite having a small menu, and even smaller Thursday lunchtime clientele, Ember sadly fails to make the grade with this small and poorly executed burger. In my opinion it is a clear case of style over substance and having paid almost £9 for this, I could have easily knocked back a couple more, which would have taken the total cost to around £27, and I'd still have been disappointed. In short, a mean portion from a place that could do with upping their game for more passing trade.