Sunday 13 November 2011

#BurgerMonday: Henry Harris, Racine Kitchen, 24 October 2011

I haven't been to a #BurgerMonday event for a while. It's not for a lack of trying, but every time Daniel Young (the Young in Young&Foodish) arranges something, I'm either on holiday or have plans I can't change - like my brother visiting from Australia for a week - I though tempting I couldn't cancel. So I was pretty excited to secure a ticket for Henry Harris' Racine burger pop-up at Andrew's Cafe on Grays Inn Road.

I always love these events as I get to meet great people, eat stunning burgers that test the boundaries of burger construction and delivery, and get a bit boozed as well!   

The Racine 3-course menu took a European twist, starting with a smoked salmon choucroute which was both meaty and smokey and, resting on its bed of pickled cabbage, tasted more like a pork dish than salmon. It was totally moreish.
So onto the main entertainment. The veal cheeseburger, in fact my first veal cheeseburger, served with crispy white/yellow french fries. 
The first thing you notice about this burger is the bun, and it is a thing of beauty. Double egg glazed, it shines brightly under the florescent light of Andrew's Cafe. When speaking to Henry Harris about the bun, he refused to give away who had designed it for him, but he was open about its roots based on a bridge roll, but round rather than sub/hotdog shaped.
It actually felt wrong plunging a knife through the centre of this work of art, but I was keen to get to the heart of this and sample the Dutch farm assured veal within.

The rest of the burger was made up of multiple layers which included some Morbier cheese, a lovely melted and elastic-y cheese, with rich creamy tones and an acidic aftertaste, chopped red onion and endive leaves. a 'Racine Relish' of Espelette pepper and dijon mustard aioli, and the crowning glory, a veal patty consisting of cuts from the rib cap, forequarter and cuts of rib-space fat.
The veal was so light and so creamy that it almost belied it's beef origins. The fatty, coarsely ground veal gave way to gushes of juice, and it was the job of the red onion and dijon mustard dressing (along with the subtle Morbier cheese) to added balance to the smooth and creamy ensemble.

I took my time eating this burger, savouring every mouthful, but it was only after I took my last mouthful that I was convinced of the genius behind this burger. Its sublety creeps up on you - it's not a burger that stands in the middle of the room demanding attention, but instead it whispers sweet nothings in your ear, convincing you of its pedigree. If this burger were a book, it wouldn't be a brash Dan Brown, it would be subtle Henry James or Jane Austen. It was really rather nice.
Henry Harris and one of his chefs at the griddle.
Dessert was a version of a sherbert with armagnac, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce which somehow was hoovered before I could get a picture of it.
This was a great burger, and one I really look forward to trying at home in the future!

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