Tuesday 6 September 2011

#ByronBurgerUncleSamSwarm - Byron Hamburgers, Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN

This post is all about a group of hamburger junkies, a top London burger chain, and a swarm. This is the second in a series of swarms that appear to be gathering pace across London, fuelled by the fires of Twitter, and a mutual love of good company, great burgers, and quality booze. 
Byron's Uncle Sam burger
Previously on Burger Me! you will have read about the #AdmiralCodringtonBurgerSwarm which involved a three burger tasting menu in the Ad Cod in South Kensington. The evening was great fun, and such a success that we decided to do it again (with a bit of persuasion from Anthony), but this time in conjunction with one of London's premier burger chains, Byron Hamburger. At time of writing this, Byron Hamburgers has around 17 restaurants serving burgers across London, and in fact I'd sampled their Big D burger before, on this very blog. 
Tom, Byron's founder, agreed to host us in Covent Garden and suggested putting on a special menu to showcase some of his recent burger research, and an upcoming special item on the Byron menu - the only clue given away was that this was called the Uncle Sam - and so #ByronBurgerUncleSamSwarm was born.

Very sensibly, Tom had set us up downstairs, in the back of the restaurant, by the bar. Our welcome drink was an incredibly moreish Beef Bouillion Bloody Mary, the 'Bloody Bull'. This was a drink so beefy, and so tomato-y, you could barely taste the vodka...
Bloody Bull (pic courtesy of LadyVelo82)
Jools, Chloe, and Alex get started on the Beef Bloody Marys
I met a wide array of old friends from the previous burger swarm, and a host of new people, all with one thing in common, an unhealthy obsession with burgers. We were seated shortly after arrival, which is when Tom came to address the gathered burgerites and introduce the evening's menu.
Tom in full swing presenting the menus
The evenings entertainment would be a three course, two burger menu, consisting tortilla chips with a selection of guacamole and red onion dip, a 3oz bacon cheeseburger as a second starter, followed by the main entertainment - the Uncle Sam. This would be a full sized american cheeseburger complete with pickles, mustard, ketchup, and gummy American cheese. Sides would come out too, mac 'n' cheese, 'slaw, fries, and sweet potato fries. Oh and did I mention craft beer? Lots of craft beer!
Tortillas, guacamole, and red onion relish
The tortilla chips were thin, crispy, and tasty, the antithesis of supermarket tortilla chips. The red onion relish was unexpectedly mellow, and the guacamole was defined by it's generous portion of chilli (cue more craft beer to cleanse the taste buds!)

The first burger that arrived was the 3oz Bacon Cheeseburger. Served in a floured, toasted bap, this burger was topped with several pieces of streaky bacon, cheddar, beef tomato, lettuce, and a generous dollop of burger relish/thousand island dressing.

This burger proved that good things can come in small packages, as it packed a powerful punch, well above its weight. The salty cheese and bacon, and the thousand island relish combined with the heavily charred patty - which in spite of it's size remained beautifully pink on the inside - to give a classic fast food bacon cheeseburger taste. For me, this is an upgraded Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburger, made with much more attention to detail, bettter ingredients, and without the addition of fake char flavouring.
The bacon cheeseburger cut-through, click the image to see this in it's true glory!
With the 3oz-ers quickly dispatched, next came the star of the show, the Uncle Sam. Described by Tom as the cheeseburger of his youth, this was a fat patty, adorned only with the purest of hamburger ingredients - american cheese, French's mustard, tomato ketchup, and pickles - held together in a brioche bun.
The Uncle Sam burger, from Byron

This is a seriously nostalgic burger. It reminds me of the McDonalds Double Cheeseburger in style. The mustard/tomato sauces, the pickles, and the melted, gummy cheese. I was instantly transported back to 7 years old and a friend's Ronald McDonald birthday party, the smell, the taste, the excitement (nothing to do with craft beer...). And the wonderful first taste, sweet/sharp with a beefy centre. This for me is a classic cheeseburger and with Byron's attention to detail, it was ruddy great!
Some Uncle Sam badges, and a stray lens cap.
The evening finished with some stunning biscotti, made by Ian (@grobelaar), and sadly no photos as I ate mine sharpish, and more craft beer. We ended up with the inevitable proud group photo:
Quite a few burger lovers, yesterday.
This was a brilliant evening, so a massive thank you to Tom and Byron Hamburger. The Uncle Sam burger will be available to everyone from 5 September 2011, on the menu for £7.50.

Another thoroughly successful London burger swarm, I wonder where the next one will take us...?! 

This swarm was attended by the following fabulous Twitterati: @byronhamburgers, @gubgub08, @hayleymudge, @razzbingo, @marispiperbingo, @faerietalefoody, @meat_twoveg, @eatingsoho, @fredsmith_ @joelgershinson, @ladyvelo82, @grobelaar, @theskinnybib, @dave_rowlinson, @danpeters, @DolceDini, @aoafoodie, and @Hollyw2277.

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