|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|
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.
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|
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|
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|
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|
Accessories:Fries. Good. Crispy. Salty. Yum.
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.