The occasion was an inpromptu work dinner with a colleague, hereafter known as 'The Aussie', and as my first visit to Riding House, we settled on covering off the both burger options on the menu. We had a couple of small plates to start, just to whet our appetites before the oncoming burger onslaught, hot and sour buttermilk chicken wings with celery blue cheese dip, and seared scallops, both were excellent and had us whipped our taste buds up into a frenzy before the main show.
Price:'Challenger' Cheeseburger - £11
'Champion' Longhorn and bone marrow burger - £20
|Riding House Cafe burger menu|
|Longhorn bone marrow burger and cheeseburger (back) from Riding House Cafe|
The champ it faced off against was the longhorn bone marrow burger, also served lid-on though displayed early disappointment with the bun-meat ratio. Crisp onion rings, dill pickles and little gem adorned the plate. Oh, and five (yes five!) chips. This is the Andre the Giant of burgers, just the sort you don't want to see squeezing into ill fitting lycra. Barely able to speak, this burger sits on the table, growling.
Toppings:The cheeseburger is topped with a magnificent smoked cheese which dominates the ensemble - beautiful light touch smoke that's making my mouth water just to think of it. There was also a tomato and onion salsa which didn't add or detract, but added juice to the ensemble, coupled with mayo underneath. Not a bad set of toppings. This challenger has the moves and the flair, but does it have the stamina to go the distance...
|Riding House Cheeseburger - topped with smoked cheese and salsa|
|Riding House Longhorn Bone Marrow burger - topped with truffled liver parfait|
Meat:The beef in the Riding House Cafe cheeseburger was over seasoned and cooked more medium rare than medium (as requested by the Aussie). Not only that, but the texture was slightly rubbery suggesting preseasoning, and on top of all that the mince was mixed with onion and parsley. Don't get me wrong, it tasted good, and was juicy, but it was being pulled by its tight-fitting leotard into satisfactory by the cheese and gave an off-putting texture in the mouth.
|Riding House Cheeseburger cut-through|
|Pre-seasoned beef in the Riding House cheeseburger|
|Riding House Longhorn burger cut-through|
Bun:On the cheeseburger, the bun was a heavily toasted, chargriddled, sesame seed white roll and it was excellent. Light and fluffy and capable of lasting the distance.
The Longhorn burger sported a brioche bun which worked really well with the truffled liver, and stood up to a some serious squishing of the massive patty. It had a lovely crisp exterior as well, rare in brioche buns from places like Hawksmoor, the Admiral Codrington etc.
Accessories:The cheeseburger comes with skin on chips, which were pretty good, perfectly seasoned and very crunchy.
The Longhorn comes with 5 chips which seemed to have arrived fresh from a Canadian logging factory. Plus they were al dente and did I mention there were JUST FIVE of them.
The onion rings were good, though, nice and crunchy, and the dill pickles were excellent.
I loved Riding House Cafe, it was buzzing, the FOH staff delivered excellent service, but go for drinks and small plates 'cos, a bit like the terrible WWE match between The Ultimate Warrior and Goldust, they've got a long way to go. The Aussie loved her cheeseburger, but agreed the cheese was what pulled it up from mediocre to good.
The bun, fries and cheese gave this burger a score it barely deserves as the meat was very disappointing. This burger has been taken down for the count.
Longhorn bone marrow burger 6.5/10
This made me sad. At £20, that's TWENTY POUNDS. This is one of the most expensive burgers in London at the moment. And it should be better. I'm happy with expensive ingredients being chucked in, and I'm happy to pay good money for a really well thought out burger. Sadly this had the former without the latter. Strip out the parfait, drop the price, and this would have been a great burger. As it stands, I can't recommend it. As some in the industry would say, #WWFfail.