Thursday 12 July 2012

Sloppy Joe Burger at the Wenlock and Essex

Every now and again a burger pops up that's so filthy gorgeous you have to let the pictures do the talking, and one of them has popped up at the Wenlock & Essex in Islington.
The sloppy joe burger at the Wenlock and Essex
Chef James Morgan is somewhat of an unsung hero of mine, his attention to detail in all matters burger-related is impeccable. His braised fore-rib burger catapulted into my list of Top 10 best burgers in London after sampling it several times, so when I heard he'd put on a Sloppy Joe burger as a special, I was gutted I wasn't around to sample it. The good news, however, is that with massive amounts of positive feedback, he has finally put it on the menu full time so I popped up on a Friday lunchtime to see what the fuss was about...


Sloppy Joe burger with 'skinny' fries - £12


The Sloppy Joe is presented lid-on in the same fashion as the Wenlock's other burgers, together with a bowl of skinny fries and a pot of mustard-mayo, patty glistening under the weight of melted cheese and Sloppy Joe topping. I can't wait to get stuck in.


Classically, the Sloppy Joe has a base of ground beef, but Chef James Morgan has whipped up his own take on the popular American recipe and come up with a topping that includes pulled pork, braised fore-rib, red wine, brasied carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and chopped tomato and is reduced so far that it virtually sits up on the spoon. It's has rich, savoury flavour that melts in the mouth and makes you want to shovel piles of it into your mouth at once. The Montgomery cheddar is melted over the Sloppy Joe topping, sealing it in, which itself is topped with oven-roasted tomato and sliced dill pickles. Underneath the patty, the bun is smothered with a wild garlic mayonnaise. There are some big flavours here and yet they all combine for a filthy, dirty, stunning climax.


The Wenlock burger patty is the same 100% chuck as on the braised fore-rib burger, cooked med-rare and it's as good as ever in this combination.


The Wenlock bun is a special creation from Harvey Rinkoff bakery and is perfectly suited to the mass of joyful mess that it wraps itself around. 


Skinny chips with mustard-mayo sauce - read more about these in my first Wenlock & Essex burger review.

Overall rating: 9.5/10

This is the second burger from the Wenlock & Essex that's crashed straight into my Top 10 list of best burgers in London and it's well deserved. The range of carefully prepared ingredients that have then potential to punch significantly below their weight when combined, work in a harmony that's greater than the sum of their parts. The basics are spot on. The bun. The beef patty. The cheese. The chips. And the Sloppy Joe tops it all off.

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