Wednesday 4 April 2012

Honest Burgers, Brixton Market, London

I'm a bad burger blogger. 

I don't mean because of the all the typos, the dead-end ramblings, or the shameless self-promotion of my burger print tees (check them out, they're cool). I mean because it's taken me so long to get to Honest Burgers.
Honest Burger from Honest Burgers
Honest Burger from Honest Burgers
For me, Honest has been like Captain Ahab's white whale, except that I didn't lose a leg to Tom @honestburgers, the heavens have merely conspired against me and my schedule to be available for Honest's Wednesday-Sunday opening hours for the last four months.

Anyway, I have now been, and so here is my honest review.

Set in the heart of Brixton Village Market, among restaurants, takeaways, and curio shops, Honest is a brilliant British burger bolt-hole. It looks and feels like a blue collar worker's canteen - whitewashed walls, exposed lightbulbs - I half expected to see pie'n'mash appearing across the pass.

I made the trip for the first time early on a Friday evening, as part of my awesome burger double header, taking in Honest and Patty & Bun (check out my Patty & Bun review) and our advance party had managed to secure an outside table which meant we could relax with a beer and wait for our burgers in relative comfort.

The first thing to say, before I dive into the full review, is Honest NO LONGER HAVE A BYO POLICY. We all rocked up with four packs clunking in our bags, but were informed that as they now sell beer, we couldn't drink our own. This was slightly annoying as, although I love the Honest Burgers website, it doesn't say they have a drinks menu. That, and £3.50 for a bottle of Amstel was as much as the four pack of Brahma I'd picked up at the offie! Not unusual pricing for a bottle of beer, but it's an expectation thing...

Still, shut up and move on, as they say. Here comes the burger bit.

Cheeseburger (choice of Stilton, Red Leicester or Mature Cheddar): £7.50
Honest Burger (Bacon, Mature Cheddar, Pickles): £8.50
Honest Special (Bone Marrow, Smoked Bacon): £8.50

Lovely. The burgers come fully-loaded, lid on with accompanying triple cooked chips, stacked on greaseproof paper in the kind of dish you'd expect to see a resident steak and kidney pie. As one of my dining companions commented "I bloody love white enamel retro crockery". 
Honest Cheeseburger with Red Leicester
I went for the signature burger on the menu, the Honest. Topped with rashers of crisp, streaky bacon, melted mature cheddar, house onion relish, sliced pickles and lettuce. The bacon was good, crisp, and salty, the cheddar was present, but not overwhelming. Both were topped with a big dollop of mellow onion relish which combined with the other flavours well, but I'd have preferred the burger without.
The 'Honest' burger, from Honest Burgers, honestly.
A quick mention of the bone marrow special (below) which included glorious, unctuous chunks of bone marrow that permeated through the burger. Yummy.
Honestly special - the bone marrow burger from Honest Burgers
Excellent. This is a fat, hand-formed beef patty, cooked on the rare side of medium, and dripping with juicy joy. If there was one improvement I'd make, it would be to up the seasoning - whilst the beefiness was present, it could have done with an extra pinch of salt to perk it up a little. There have been discussions recently among the burger-loving community about the liberal application of salt to some of London's best burgers, but this, for me, goes too far in the other direction. 

Here's a little picture-story for visual learners:

Great. The Honest Burgers bun is a beautifully glazed, toasted, fluffy-soft affair, enclosing the hand-formed patty and toppings in a teetering tower of burger. In spite of its austere appearance, this bun is satisfyingly squishable and wraps itself around it's juicy cargo like a bread-y slanket. Firm, yet yielding.

GLORIOUS! Honest burgers house cooked chips sprinkled liberally with rosemary salt are a masterpiece - some of the best chips I've tasted, and on a par with the Patty & Bun chips I scoffed later in the evening!

Overall rating: 9/10
I really enjoyed my Honest Burger experience. It's a burger built by the British, for the British, and it's blooming lovely - but don't expect to keep a stiff upper lip whilst stuffing it in your gob!

You can find Honest Burgers at the following address, Wednesday to Sunday:

Square Meal


  1.  I went here last week and was actually a bit disappointed in the cheese (I also went for an Honest burger). The cheddar flavour completely overpowered the burger for me,

  2. Sad face :(

    I found the cheese was actually quite mellow - likely because my burger was underseasoned, though I wonder if Honest are testing different cheeses? Seems like there's a bit of work they need to do on consistency...

  3. It's true, it was basically a tragedy. (I feel compelled to report that Patty & Bun was amaaaaaaazing as reported.) Testing different cheeses would make sense - they did have several on offer when I went, including Stilton, so I'd believe it's something they're experimenting with.

    DEAR HONEST BURGERS: Too far! It was too far!


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