Monday 17 September 2012

Burgers at The Thirsty Bear, Stamford Street

The Thirsty Bear on Stamford Street, just by Waterloo Station, is owned and operated by the Robot Pub Group. It's an iPad-driven pub, and the concept is simple, yet massively effective....
Enjoy a pint of Meantime Pale Ale while you peruse burgers on your inbuilt iPad
Enjoy a pint of Meantime Pale Ale while you peruse burgers on your inbuilt iPad

mmm...Meantime London Pale Ale on your own tap!
mmm...Meantime London Pale Ale on your own tap!
iPad-driven beer. Check. 

Put your card behind the bar and pick up an iPad swipe card. Choose your table based on the beer pumps available - this includes a range of lagers, but more importantly Meantime Pale Ale.

Build your own burger. Check. 

Enter the menu on the iPad and choose either from a selection of pre-loaded burgers or go off piste and 'build your own'...

Browse the internet. Check. 

Check out the latest news and reviews on from the comfort of your table by switching across the the iPad's built in browser.

Stumble out at closing time. Probably check...can't quite remember...

So let's talk burgers, which to be honest is what you're here for. I was invited to give their new burger recipe a once over against my five pillars of the Hamburger Me! rating system. So how did it fare?


'Build Your Own' Bacon Cheeseburger £12.15
BYOB 2012 Winner: Redneck Burger £11.95
Beer, Burger, iPad at The Thirsty Bear
Beer, Burger, iPad @ The Thirsty Bear


The burgers are both presented on alpha male chopping boards, massive two foot long jobs that must be a good inch thick. They're skewered from head to toe with a wooden spike (to hold the masses of toppings together), and they come with a pile of either triple cooked chips, or French Fries. Impactful presentation!


The Redneck burger comes piled with masses of bbq pulled pork (double smoked, so it has some kick to it) on top of a melted pile of cheddar, and with a really good, smokey chipotle mayo spread under the lid of the bun. Sliced dill pickles are crunchy and sweet, but the bed of frilly lettuce is a bit much for us.
You dirty redneck, you killed my brother.
You dirty redneck, you killed my brother. 
My 'Build Your Own' bacon cheeseburger was, probably fairly predictably, topped with a couple of thick rashers of great chargrilled back bacon and had melted American Cheese over the top. Underneath the same cruhchy, sliced dill pickles and smokey chipotle mayo completed the ensemble. 
Build your own Bacon Cheeseburger at The Thirsty Bear
Build your own Bacon Cheeseburger at The Thirsty Bear


The meat in the Thirsty Bear burger is a blend of fillet, rib eye and bone marrow in a ratio of 50/40/10. I'd previously found the chef's blend of fillet/sirloin too 'tinny', lacking in the beefiness that defines some of London's great burgers, so the bone marrow is a welcome addition to mix. The patty also gets a jolly good charring on the chargrill, which I quite enjoyed, especially as the patty retained its medium rare centre. One minor point was that whilst the burger was moist, it is lacking the fat content to turn the bacon cheeseburger into my favourite kind of gushing juice monster - something the redneck burger didn't need with its mountain of pulled pork, and chipotle mayo.
Redneck cut-through at The Thirsty Bear
Redneck cut-through at The Thirsty Bear


Surprise bun win! The burger comes wrapped in what is effectively a bastardized rosemary Foccacia bun. That's right, you heard me correctly, Foccacia. WTF? Yes, that's what I thought...but it works, and really well at that. It's made with a strong bread flour which makes it a hardy (yet still light and fluffy) bun, and the kick of rosemary is magic. It's baked in Bermondsey especially for The Thirsty Bear, and works jolly well with the burgers. 
Bacon Cheeseburger cut-through at The Thirsty Bear
Bacon Cheeseburger cut-through at The Thirsty Bear


You get a choice of French Fries or triple cooked chips with your burger, so we had a portion of each. French Fries were great - hot, salty, crisp and fluffy. Triple cooked chips were were underdone and soggy. We had a chat with the chef afterwards and he's changed his triple cooking technique - so they are likely to be better when you get down there - if they are, let me know!

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 

Mmm...that is a tasty burger. Maybe it was the six pints of meantime, or maybe the fact that England had just managed to scrape a penalty draw with Ukraine, but I found this is a really solid burger - that said, it wouldn't hurt to hit a higher fat content in the patty, and a bit of work on the triple cooked chips is definitely needed, oh, and reduce or get rid of the lettuce in the Redneck... A really solid burger and one I'm sure you'll enjoy. And of course where else in London is there a pub where you can you pour your own pints using a tap on your table, order your food from iPads AND use it to call your waitress to bring you bourbon from the bar?! Go. I am convinced you'll love it!

You can find The Thirsty Bear at 62 Stamford Street, Blackfriars, London, SE1 9LX

Square Meal


  1. David Grenter18 September, 2012

    I was here not too long ago didn't get chance to try the burger but will have to go back and try it. The iPad innovation amazing and I wrote a blog about it too.

  2. Nick, been meaning to say, love the site. Not sure who you do the review with but if you are ever in need of company for a review visit then let me know, would love to come along.


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