Friday 27 July 2012

Burger Bear at Red Market London

Set on a development site owned by a 5* hotel, Red Market can be found just off Old Street roundabout. It's a fully licenced area with its own bar, a pile of street food stalls - a couple of original giant Banksy's, and a Burger Bear. 
The Grizzly Burger from Burger Bear, Red Market
The Grizzly Burger from Burger Bear, Red Market
Burger Bear is a steak burger concept from Tom, who's a relative newcomer to the burger scene (I know, Tom is a popular name for those in the world of burgers, but he's in good company for Tom from Byron and Tom from Honest Burgers are supporting the evolution of good burgers in London). He'd been at Red Market for a couple of weeks when I visited, and had just finished a series of evenings serving at Zoo Lates - London Zoo's evening festival.
Every ingredient (save the lettuce which comes for a distant Cambridge) is sourced from London, within the M25, a point Tom is passionate about as he talks to me about provenance and saving food miles.

So that's the background - how does the burger fare?


I had a Grizzly Bear for £6.50. Also on the menu are the Burger Bear - £5, Angry Bear - £6, and Greedy Bear - £7.
Burger Bear Tom busy on the grill
Burger Bear Tom busy on the grill
Burger Bear - warning can lead to bear-related food puns
Burger Bear - warning can lead to bear-related food puns


Street. Carefully dished up on a paper plate, the Grizzly Burger is a solid piece of burger engineering. 
The Grizzly burger arriving in its natural habitat


Excellent. Standard American cheese slices are steamed onto the most amazingly bacony bacon I've tasted in a long while. These rashers come from free-range saddleback pigs and are first old oak-smoked at the farm, before getting a second wave of newer oak by Burger Bear Tom - it means they are BUZZING with flavour. Under the bacon, sits a layer of homemade bacon jam, an intense, bourbon-infused, oak-smoked layer that left spicy notes on my palate for a good few minutes after I'd finished the burger - it really is excellent.

Underneath the burger sits a composition of chopped lettuce, red onion, dill pickles (Mrs Elwood) ketchup, and mustard. If anything this could be a touch better constructed, it feels dropped on, rather than arranged for optimal juice catching, but I'm nit-picking. 


Good. The meat in this burger a mix of 70% chuck / 30% sirloin, and comes in at a fat content around 10%. This is not a fatty, juicy burger like Lucky Chip, or MeatLiquor, but a leaner steak burger. All the beef comes from a single farm, is twice ground and then made into balls which are squashed onto the griddle. Salt and pepper seasoning is all that's added at point of cooking. My fear with the leaner beef was this burger would be too dry, but cooked medium-rare it had enough juice to fill up the paper plate and drizzle down my arm.
A Grizzly Bear from Burger Bear on the griddle
A Grizzly Bear from Burger Bear on the griddle
Grizzly Burger bite-through from Burger Bear
Grizzly Burger bite-through from Burger Bear


The bun is custom-designed for Burger Bear, and comes from a small bakery in North London. It is a 60:40 mix of brioche and white bread flour. The recipe took fifteen or so attempts to get right, and it manages its filling magnificently, staying strong yet supple for the duration of my chomping.


None. Pretty standard for £6.50.

Overall rating: 8/10

This is a good burger from a street food player who is keen to experiment and plans to continually tweak his burgers based on the feedback he receives. I, for one, will be back to see how Burger Bear is getting on and at some point look forward to poking the Angry Bear - topped with a naga/chipotle salsa!

You can find Burger Bear at Red Market, 288-299 Old Street, opposite the Holiday Inn.

Tonight (27 July) he'll be at London Zoo's ZooLates, tomorrow (28 July) at Red Market, and Sunday (29 July) at Harringay Market. Tweet @burgerbeartom for more details.


  1. Francesco27 July, 2012

    One of the best street burgers you can have in London, if not THE best! Try the Greedy Bear, with a delicious Bacon Jam!!

  2. ChairmanJuan30 July, 2012


  3. Great article, looks delicious!

  4. Great article looks mouthwatering!


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