Friday, 15 June 2012

The Joe Allen Secret Off-Menu Burger

It's been a while. I mean, I've eaten in Joe Allen before, back waaaaaay before I started this blog, and certainly at a time when the subtleties of burgers were lost on me. But I haven't had the incredibly 'secret' off-menu burger that no-one else knows about and is only passed on in whispers to the most privileged, seasoned Londoner.* It's a regular in Daniel Young's Top 10 list of best burgers in London and it's been one I've been wanting to try for a long, long time.
Joe Allen's secret burger, sticking its tongue out at people who don't know about it.
Joe Allen's secret burger, sticking its tongue out at people who don't know about it.

*actually they tell you about it on the the secret burger menu on their website...


So, with intrepid Burger Me! regular Steve 'Burger' Brett, I finally took an opportunity to make my way into Joe Allen's subterranean dining room for a proper sampling of their burger wares.

Having popped into Mishkin's for a quick 3oz slider just 45 minutes earlier, I wasn't too fussed about starters, but Steve was keen to crack into some so we opted for the black pudding, spinach and poached egg and a ham hock terrine, which were absolutely cracking. In fact Steve finished his so fast I didn't have time to even take a picture.
Joe Allen Black Pudding with wilted spinach and poached egg
Joe Allen Black Pudding with wilted spinach and poached egg

But you're not here to read about poncey starters (even ones that involve black pudding), so here's the burger bit:

Price: 

Joe Allen 'Secret' Burger with cheese and bacon - £8.50. Fries - £4.

Presentation:

A lot of people I've spoken to get irate about the presentation of this burger citing the small, child-sized plate, the haphazard ingredients strewn about the plate, the garnish of two spears of pickle and a wedge of raw onion as the subject of their wrath. I loved it. Well except the raw onion - the ingredient consistently being left on everyone's plates at the end of the meal. I say everyone's plates, as aside from me and Steve, EVERYONE was having the burger....
Child's play - the Joe Allen kids burger
Child's play - the Joe Allen kids burger

Toppings: 

I have mixed feelings about the toppings. Two thick tongues of delicious, salty char-griddled bacon lay across a case of melted, but cool and slightly coagulated cheese. 
Joe Allen 'secret' burger close up
Joe Allen 'secret' burger close up

Meat: 

Cutting through the Joe Allen burger is a beautiful thing. The perfect pink interior of the inch thick patty is an impressive feat, couple that with a coarse grind and rough charred outer, it's enough to make your mouth water...except...yes, there's a but...it is almost completely flavourless. Regular readers of the blog will know that for me, a bit of seasoning is paramount to a great burger experience. You can add all the toppings and/or condiments you like (I enhanced mine with French's and ketchup) but if the patty is unseasoned, it had better be some pretty amazing aged beef if it's to shine through - and it's pretty average.
The Joe Allen 'secret' Burger cut-through
The Joe Allen 'secret' Burger cut-through
Say ahhhh...

Bun:

A white, light and fluffy egg-glazed bun, nicely toasted with excellent squashability. It's good. And that, as they say, is that.
Egg-glazed, char-griddled bun wrapped around the Joe Allen 'secret' Burger
Egg-glazed, char-griddled bun wrapped around the Joe Allen 'secret' Burger

Accessories:

Fries. Good. Crispy. Salty. Yum.

Overall rating: 7/10

For me, this burger is a game of halves and of contrasts - the slap-dash presentation, which I loved - the beautiful melted cheese, which was cold - the perfectly pink and juicy patty, which was flavourless - the crunchy pickles, served with a wedge of raw onion - the secret burger, that everyone orders. I love the 'idea' of Joe Allen, but the burger is average.





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3 comments:

  1. How much is it? (Seeing as it's not on the menu it would be good to know before asking for it!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. £8.50 for the burger - £4 for the fries!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had this the other day, they've changed the burger. now comes with horseradish sauce on it already. no tomato /pickles/onion on the side and a different cheese. As usual the said the burger must be cooked medium, however it was over cooked and lacked flavour. I heard that Joe Allens has no owners recently not sure if this is the case, but one of my favourite Burgers in London has been ruined and I wont be back.

    ReplyDelete

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