Tuesday 3 January 2012

Upping the Game: GBK Responds to Burger Competition in London

On Northcote Road, a five minute walk from Clapham Junction, sits an outpost of the New Zealand embassy.

GBK Northcote Road is an experiment from GBK that they call 'upping the game'. It is clear from the success of Byron, Haché, The Diner, Kua'Aina, and the addition of burgers to the menus of many other restaurants, including Hawksmoor and Goodman, that burgers are hitting the big time. They're simple. They're comfort food. They're relatively cheap. And you (more of less) know what you're going to get.

I was invited by @lollipopdan to come and sample the new look GBK burger on Northcote Road and so I duly popped in to check out what all the fuss was about.

The inside of GBK on Northcote Road is completely different from the pre-pack feel you get across a number of their other branches. The floors are stripped pine. The walls bare, whitewashed brick. And there's a brocade, industrial feel to the place, stripped back to all but the bare essentials. In fact, they're going a bit Byron.

Anyway, sod the interior decorations, we're here for burgers. I had previously reviewed Gourmet Burger Kitchen St. Pauls and gave it a solid, if mid-range, 7/10. So how does the new look GBK Northcote Road burger compare?

Bacon Cheeseburger - £8.95
Matchstick fries - £2.95

Good. This is a sizeable looking burger served lid on and skewered with a wooden spike that also spears two vertically sliced halves of a cornichon.
Passable. Topping the patty are a wedge of Monterey Jack (chosen over American or Cheddar), streaky bacon, and barbecue relish. Also included above the meat are a couple of leaves of round lettuce and several slices of tomato. The outstanding item in this ensemble were the strips of unsmoked streaky bacon. Crisp and charred around the edges, there was a great charcoal barbecue taste. The Monterey Jack cheese is one of my favourite burger cheeses (ok I have a few favourites) as its creaminess beautifully colements the patty, wasn't melted at all. A cold thick wedge was skewered to the burger. Salad was fresh, but once unpinned ended up (in the words of Paul Simon) slip slidin' away. The bbq relish was quite good, with a decent tomato/smokey taste.
Good. The patty was pretty good. and despite its small (i'd say 6oz) size, it was cooked to medium rare. I did have a few tense moments when asking for medium rare, as my server didn't want to give it to me any less than medium, but thankfully sense won through and I received a nice, juicy patty. The meat is direct from several west country farms that serve the whole GBK empire.

Good. A soft, sesame seed bun that was fresh and nicely squeezy wrapped itself around the toppings and patty, and was man enough to soak up the juice and relish without collapsing.

Matchstick fries were bloody brilliant. Sprinkled with rosemary salt, they were crisp, crunchy and very tasty.

Overall rating: 8/10
The new, improved GBK burger is pretty decent, if you can get past the lump of unmelted cheese. It is clear that the team behind GBK are taking the increased burger competition seriously and I think this is a mid-range burger in London.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (Wandsworth) on Urbanspoon


  1. Hmm, I'm still skeptical. Non-melted cheese never wins favour with me :) Worth giving them another try though.

  2. Seriously? That is no way an 8... your scale needs some adjustment, folks, otherwise you'll soon be forced into Spinal Tap-ian areas...

  3. Ate there recently and when compared to the good burgers of London it's a 5/10 at best

  4. I recommend having a go at their monthly special, "Taxi Driver". It isn't available at the Northcote branch but most other places. It's not too bad at all.

  5. Thanks for all the comments guys!

    CulinaryCreep - I'd ask for your cheese melted - it was the main 'off' topping.

    Anonymous1 - thanks, I'm working on a secret differentiator to separate the boys from the men.

    Anonymous2 - if you take a look at the criteria, it scores highly in most boxes, see comment to Anonymous1

    Clint - What's in that?!


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