Friday 3 August 2012

Elliot's Cafe: The burger that blew my socks off

How could I avoid visiting a natural wine burger bar pop-up in Borough Market? Especially one which involved Elliot's Café, a well-respected and much raved-about restaurant located in Borough Market, just down from the Market Porter pub on Stoney Street. This burger pop-up market stall, in conjunction with RAWfair - a celebration of natural wine from growers who want to demonstrate the power of wine without additives - has a simple proposition: Sell the Elliot's burger, with their fries, alongside glasses of great wine. 

My kind of pop up.
Elliot's Burger in Borough Market
Elliot's Burger in Borough Market


Elliot's cheeseburger - £9.50. Glass of wine from £6.50.
RAW and Elliot's - Natural Wine and Burger Bar
RAW and Elliot's - Natural Wine and Burger Bar


From seeing the marbled patties and shining buns on the grill, through to my burger nestling in its plastic, greaseproof wrapper in front of me, it was a joy. The Elliot's chefs run a tight ship, and the space and tidiness of the open kitchen area (in spite of having a redundant Salamander grill on the corner counter) is impressive. Oh, and notable was the fact that my burger was in front of me about 6 minutes after I ordered - great stuff.
Elliot's cheeseburger in its full glory
Elliot's cheeseburger in its full glory


Elliot's have replicated their Café burger here with the only detail missing being the finishing with the Salamander grill. But as it happens, it's not needed. First beer-braised onions are added to the patty, still on the grill, then heaps of grated, aged Comté cheese are heaped over the onions and patty, which is then finished by steaming under cloche until melty. The icing on the bun however is the 'acidulated dill pickle' a brilliant mash-up of pickle liquor "blitzed in a £3,500 blender" (as Brett, Elliot's owner puts it) with butter and fresh, chopped up dill. Add a touch of olive oil to keep it soft and spread it liberally on the toasted bun - you're left with pretty much what it says on the tin - a great hit of acid and vinegar, with an overtone of sweet dill - couple that freshly pickled slices of skin-off cucumber and you get a stunning combination of flavours in the toppings - the mellow onions, the smooth Comté, the sharp bite of the pickle. It's a beautiful medley. 
Melty Comté on the Elliot's cheeseburger
Melty Comté on the Elliot's cheeseburger


Awesome. The patties are made up of 70% top rib cap, 40-day aged from The Ginger Pig, which gives them a massive fat content, and a huge beefy flavour. This is tempered with 30% rump, which is only (only!) aged for 30 days. It's coated with a squirt of oil before being slapped onto the grill, where the Maillard reaction works its magic. Cooked pink, this is bloody great meat.
Serious marbling in the Elliot's burger patties
Serious marbling in the Elliot's burger patties 


The bun is also pretty special. Baked in Elliot's in-house bakery, but Adam their resident 'bread wizard', this is a brioche style bun (it's not brioche as Adam substitutes the potentially cloying butter with a fine olive oil to make the whole thing taste lighter) and finished with linseed. Adam is something of a linseed fan... It's light, strong, toasted and fucking brilliant. And to be fair to Adam, the linseeds add an extra dimension to the whole thing - they're rich, yet have an green-astringency which works really well with the rest of the ensemble.
Linseed bun encompassing the Elliot's cheeseburger
Linseed bun encompassing the Elliot's cheeseburger


Fried segments of sliced maris piper potato were like big chips, slathered with red and yellow sauce, and lightly salted. These are great, but the burger absolutely steals the show.

Overall rating: 10/10

I have to say, it isn't very often I'm speechless. Frankly most people can't shut me up, but on this occasion I genuinely had nothing to say. Donald, who was my server for the evening, came over to ask me how it was, "fucking amazing" I managed to mumble. If you haven't had the Elliot's burger yet, what the hell are you waiting for. GO!

In all my excitement, I forgot about the wine. I had a great glass of red from the Languedoc region, a blend of Grenache and Syrah that was wonderfully smooth and complemented the burger really well. I should have been paying more attention as I can't remember what it was called. That's how good this burger is.

RAW and Elliot's will be continuing their collaboration in Borough Market until 12 August, so plenty of time to get involved.

Elliot's Café
12 Stoney Street   

Elliot's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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