Sunday 7 August 2011

#AdmiralCodringtonBurgerSwarm - Admiral Codrington, 17 Mossop Street, London SW3 2LY

For those of you slightly less geeky than me, let me induct you in the world of the burger swarm. To give you an idea of what we're talking about, here's a definition:

Swarm noun [Swawrm]
A great number of things or persons, especially in motion

Which really sums up very nicely, exactly what it looked like when 13 hungry burger lovers descended on the Admiral Codrington for Chef Fred Smith's burger tasting menu. The #AdmiralCodringtonBurgerSwarm.

The first Wednesday in August happened to be a rather fortuitous occasion for a visit to the Admiral Codrington on Mossop Street. The fact it was a burger swarm, and my first, made it an incredibly exciting event to look forward to. The day had been gloriously hot, and the evening was warm and sunny. For those who haven't eaten in the restaurant at the Ad Cod, on sunny days the roof is peeled back to open the tables up to the skies, in a Roman atrium style, giving diners a peaceful window to the open air, surround by classic South Kensington suburban architecture, so it's well worth a visit just for 'calm in the heart of a city' feel.

On this particular evening, my fellow burger swarmers were Jools, Ian, Gav, Pete, Tom, Hayley, Anthony, Steven, Dave, Holly, Alex, and K, and by the time I made it to the Admiral Codrington, they were all seated and tucking into their starter snacks...

...but I'm getting ahead of myself, let me take a moment to show you the menu for our burger swarm, which Chef Fred Smith thoughtfully put together upon hearing about our intentions to swarm his restaurant:

The menu comprise three major sections.
Starting with snacks, these were followed by a three burger tasting menu (that's right - THREE BURGERS!), accompanied by sides of mac 'n' cheese and chips, all for a nice round £22. 

The snacks came out first, consisting of small cast iron pots filled with honey and mustard glazed sausages, and ramekins filled with lightly battered, chilli squid.

The sausages were scrumdiddilyumptious. Succulent pork covered with a sticky, moreish honey and wholegrain mustard glaze, but the squid was on another level. Tender pieces of squid, perfectly fried in a light batter, served with sliced medium-hot green chillies atop, like a rakish fascinator at Ladies Day. All were devoured by the hungry burger swarmers in a matter of minutes - no doubt as they were getting in the way of the main event, our upcoming three burger tasting menu!

Starter duly cleared, our attentions turned to the trays of burgers being plated up in the kitchen, presented to our table on a wooden chopping board. 

The Lardo Burger was the first to arrive.
Lardo burgers racked up for the munching. 
Lardo burger with brioche bun

The Lardo burger combined a brioche bun with a slice of melted Morbier cheese, and a piece of pata negra, resting on top of a roughly ground, hand-formed beef patty. Under the patty sat a slice of beef tomato resting on a bed of French 'slaw.

The whole combination was very well thought out. The creamy flavours of the morbier cheese melded nicely with the patty, and the mustard vinagrette in the French 'slaw' greatly enhanced the beef tomato, encasing the meat in complementary flavours. The brioche bun was spot on the mark as well. The only thing that disappointed me was my inability to taste the pata negra - I think the flavour was just too subtle.

Deserving an honourable mention at this stage was the Mac 'n' Cheese, one of the sides that accompanied the burgers. It was a yummy, seething, bubbling mass of grilled cheese-covered, slightly al dente macaroni, with a phenomenal depth of flavour and moreish cheese...mmmmmm!

Once we had truly sated ourselves with burger one (and no small measure of mac 'n' cheese), burger two rocked up. Under the no-nonsense name of Isle of Avalon Cheeseburger, this burger combined a slice of melted Avalon cheese atop a wedge of old spot pork resting on the burger patty, and dressing the bottom but, lay a bed of dill-infused cucumber 'slaw. This burger was served on a classic sesame seed bun.

Capturing the Isle of Avalon Cheeseburger in its natural habitat

The powerful cheese in this burger made it a force to be reckoned with, and coupled with the dill seasoning in the cucumber 'slaw, made the toppings the feature of this burger, almost overpowering the patty. Sadly the Old Spot pork, although there in texture, was too subtle, and the Avalon cheese totally made the pork its bitch. 

This burger was marmite for the burger swarm, with some loving the depth of flavour, whilst the majority left at least a couple of bites, and in one case only managed a couple of bites!

The third and final burger was the aptly-named 333 Chilli Burger. An ancho chilli braised shortrib patty riding in the middle of a chipotle and jalapeƱo topping, all resting on a bed of medium-heat, green chilli 'slaw, and sandwiched into the same brioche-style bun as the Lardo burger.

333 Chilli Burgers racked up (Courtesy of @LadyVelo82)

333 Chilli Burger bite through (Courtesy of @LadyVelo82)
This burger had bite, but it wasn't too overpowering, more a lingering heat than a burning inferno, combining the chipotle with its dry heat, and the green chillies with their juicy, spicy heat worked in an almost perfect harmony with the smooth, creamy flavour of the shortrib burger patty. This was the group's most popular burger for the evening, but my feeling was it needed a Monterey Jack to set off the acidity of the chillies, and combine with the light flavour of the shortrib patty.

The Mac 'n' Cheese I've already mentioned, but the chips are also worthy of mention. Big, crisp chunks of perfectly fried potato, these bad boys mixed beautifully with the 'slaw and mac cheese juices on the plate. The word lip-smacking is an appropriate adjective for these little chunks of potato-y joy!

Some chunky crisp, chunky chips, Ad Cod style
And of course no evening is complete without dessert, kindly provided by Anthony in the form of a wedge of moreish homemade brownie. Delish!

So what was the best burger of the evening? 

Controversially, I thought number two, the Isle of Avalon Cheeseburger had the most potential. The change in bun, the cucumber 'slaw, and strong, mature cheese all combined to give a powerful burger 'hit', but I would have liked to have tasted the Old Spot pork a bit more. The Lardo Burger was a good, solid burger, which was kept in contention by the French 'slaw, but I'd class this as a session burger rather than a signature burger as the morbier and pata negra were both muted (though that may be down to my addled tastebuds...!) On the night, however, the 333 Chilli burger won it for me, the fresh green chilli, deep flavoured ancho and chipotle, and the creamy shortrib patty making the best combination of the evening.

A huge thank you must go to Fred Smith (find him on Twitter @FredSmith_) for organising our burger tasting menu, it's bloody exciting to have a chef who's willing to experiment with burgers (especially to such a critical crowd...!), drawing on his experiences in the UK and the US, and be a great guy to boot. Roll on the next #burgerswarm!

P.s. If you haven't been to the Ad Cod, GO!

Admiral Codrington
17 Mossop Street
London SW3 2LY

Admiral Codrington on Urbanspoon


  1. Nick, another brilliant write up of an outstanding evening.

    Much thanks rightly goes to Fred who went out of his way with the creation of the 3 tasting burgers and the specially designed menu for our Swarm (Which I think was technically a MeatUp!)

    On another note, you are far to kind re the brownies!

    Look forward to the next Swarm/MeatUp/PopUp.....

  2. That sounds amazing... I went to Cod a couple months back and got a special Iberico burger that was to die for... I can't imagine to have the chance to try a trilogy for 22 quids... Unbelievable...

  3. Thanks Anthony, certainly looking forward to the next burger swarm....!

    It was great Odo, I'm hoping to go back and take a second look at the Ad Cod cheeseburger as well!

  4. I had to come back as well, the day I went I was focus on having the cheeseburger but they got this special Iberico burger in the menu I couldn't resist... same happened in Bar Boulud with the Piggie burger and a special Moroccan burger...


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