Jamie's Wine Bar and Restaurant is set back from the main drag of Holborn
Viaduct, in the courtyard that takes you to the entrance to the Thameslink station. A favourite city haunt for lovers of fine wine, Jamie's is first and foremost a winebar (and I might add, one that I love as it introduced me to one of the best value Californian wines I have tasted, and 6 of which are now sitting in my wine cellar at home!) Part of a chain of around seven square mile wine bars (and part of the Kornicis company which owns Smollensky's and Henry J Bean's among others), Jamie's Fleet Place has more of an independent feel.
Our visit took place over a weekday lunchtime, with three dining companions. Three of us ordered the burger, and the fourth plumped for fish and chips. I was very excited with what they had to offer, as I regularly have a glass of wine in the bar, and have shared some of their platters before, which are great.
Guinness burger with chips, £9.95. Extra toppings (max. 2 - bacon, cheese, jalapeños, onion rings), £1.50.
Delivered on a large wooden board, the burger arrived (lid off) with chips and little pot of coleslaw. The patty looked hand-made, and the cheese was nicely melted over it, the bacon was then perched at a jaunty angle finishing the base off. On the lid of the bun curly lettuce and salad tomato resided under a splash of salad dressing.
The medium-flavoured cheese was quite good, and nicely melted, but the smoked bacon left little impact. I expect this was due to the patty being well over-seasoned, cancelling out most other flavours in the burger. The salad was fine, it stayed in place in the bun, but like the bacon, was cancelled out by the seasoning in the patty.
Oh dear, meat fail. This meat was everything a good burger patty isn't. Overseasoned with pepper and salt, overcooked to a pinky/grey mass (yes I did ask for med-rare, no they couldn't do it for H&S reasons), overground beef to a fine, sawdust-like consistency (I likened it to the fine grind inside a routine keema naan in a cheap Indian restaurant). In fact the only redeeming quality this meat had was that it did taste of Guinness!
Bun win! Funnily enough, with the meat being so bad I didn't expect the sourdough bun to be any good at all, but it was magnificent! Toasted, fluffy, tasty, and squashable were all words I used in quick succession to my bemused dining companions. The execution was a simple, flour-dusted, and fully toasted sourdough specimen. This bun wrapped itself heartily around the patty, toppings and all, and squashed down to perfectly fit my mouth. This is not just a good bun, it's a great bun!
Chips were fine, a little boring in taste, but crispy and hot. The pot of coleslaw was tasty, but not being diced finely made it surprisingly difficult to hook out of its mini ramekin.
Overall rating: 6/10
For a burger that is priced (and priced naked) just £0.05 shy of a tenner, and with toppings @ £11.45, this should be a whole lot better. In this instance, we had a Taste London card which reduced our food bill by 50%, so this burger was under £6. This is actually not a bad burger for that price, though you would still struggle to enjoy the meat, and compared to the #Meateasy, this would score about 2/10!.
As any burger aficionado will know, for the higher marks (see my review of Goodman for example), all the elements of a burger need to work together in harmony, there is no excuse for the core element, i.e. the patty, to be so poor, and sadly at Jamie's, it is.
I am sad about the burger, as I love this place, so in future I'll be sticking to the wine and sharing platters, and getting my #burgerlove elsewhere.