Wednesday, 14 November 2012

[Review] Burger Breakout at The Old Crown

Burger Breakout is situated in The Old Crown on New Oxford Street, across from the site on which the former 'Ultimate Burger' restaurant resided (and which is now a Prezzo). I'd heard a lot of buzz around the Burger Breakout pop-ups over the summer, and was keen to take a down a burger or two to see what all the fuss was about. 
The Burger Breakout Whiskey Beast Burger
The Burger Breakout Whiskey Beast Burger
So on a Tuesday lunchtime, I gave them the Burger Me! once over, and so here's my take on Burger Breakout... 


Price:

The OC Burger with smoked horseradish salted chips: £12
The Whiskey Beast Burger with smoked horseradish salted chips: £12
Having some fun with the burger names...
Having some fun with the burger names...

Presentation:

Burger Breakout burgers are presented on wooden boards, bun-topped, with a silver bucket of chips. I was pleasantly surprised that the construction was solid enough to avoid the need for a wooden spike through the centre (got me thinking about the way Fred Smith creations used to be delivered, back when he was at the Ad Cod). Simply put, the presentation was good.
The O.C. Burger at Burger Breakout
The O.C. Burger at Burger Breakout

Toppings:

The O.C. burger is topped with three cheese sauce, and underneath the patty are layers of onion jam, lettuce, tomato, 1000 island dressing and hot pickles. The outright topping winner is the hot pickle - infinitesimally thin and devilishly hot - they really stand out in the ensemble, that and the onion jam - mellow and understated. Sadly that is all that stands out. The thousand island dressing is notable by its absence, the roughly torn lettuce and watery tomato are there for roughage as much as anything else, and the three cheese sauce is bland, with a touch of cheese, and slightly floury. None of the sticky joy of american cheese, none of the bite of a sharp cheddar. 

The Whiskey Beast burger is topped with treacle cured bacon, blue cheese, and whisky mustard riding the beef, and lettuce and tomato hiding underneath. Unfortunately the only thing that we tasted in this burger was mustard. Lots of mustard. But, to be fair, once we'd scraped off three-quarters of the mustard, the treacle-cured bacon was excellent. And once we'd scraped off three-quarters of the mustard, the blue cheese was lovely.

After the burgers were taken down, we were asked if everything was ok, and we flagged the fact that the mustard Whiskey Beast was dominated by a drowning in mustard. Our waiter kindly explained that this was the way the chef had designed it, and the blue cheese was there to cut through the mustard flavour. Suffice to say, it didn't.

Meat

The mince in O.C. burger patty is tightly packed, over-worked, and slightly dry. Seasoning is good, but there is no juice in the burger, which made chewing the meat a bit of a chore. It is cooked medium-rare, but that doesn't save it. It isn't bad, per se, but I've been spoilt with much juicier, dirtier burgers across London - and for my tastes, this doesn't make the grade.
The O.C. Burger cut-through...
The O.C. Burger cut-through...
The Whiskey Beast is juicier, but more on the medium cooked side, and who knows what the beef tasted like? It's lost in a spicy mustard explosion. 
The Whiskey Beast bite-through...
The Whiskey Beast bite-through...
The provenance of the beef is clearly very important to Burger Breakout. Again, our waiter explained the aged beef in their patties is sourced from two farms in Devon and Orkney. Revealingly, the O.C. burger patty is designed to have c. 5% fat, while the Whiskey Beast patty has around 15% fat. Go figure about why the O.C. was so dry.

Bun

Untoasted. Dry. Completely collapsed before either of us had reached the halfway point. As our waiter pointed out, these are the only part of the burger construction that's sourced from elsewhere - my advice (for what it's worth) is find another supplier. This is the first Bun Fail I've seen in a while.


Accessories:

Chips: Smoked horseradish salted chips. Not bad at all, a great savoury flavour, but lacked crispness and were slightly soggy.

BBQ battered onion rings: I love these - the chef grinds his own BBQ flour (according to our waiter) and these are deep-fried spicy joy in ring form. Dipping sauce is the same whiskey mustard, so dip carefully...


Burger Breakout BBQ Battered Onion Rings
Burger Breakout BBQ Battered Onion Rings

Overall Rating: 5/10

I don't like writing bad reviews. It's not fun. It means I've had a deeply average burger. This certainly wasn't an awful experience. I was dining with a long serving burger-fiend, the beer was good, the waiters/bar staff very friendly, the service polite and there were sparks of brilliance - the treacle-cured bacon, the bbq-battered onion rings - but in spite of the work and effort that has gone into the ingredients, sourcing, toppings, and construction, there's a lack of cohesion. Nothing worked in harmony. Every element was trying to lead. And in my humble opinion, this burger symphony needs a tune up.



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8 comments:

  1. Hannah BurgersAndBruce14 November, 2012

    Nooo! What a shame about the mustard, sounded good on paper but not in reality eh. Oh dear.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there! I am working on a project for In-N-Out Burgers. I am looking to chat with serious Burger Bloggers. Would you be willing to answer a couple of questions via email?? Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sure, you can get me on burgermelondon@gmail.com. thanks

      Delete
  3. You got luckier than us. Ours were cold, fries freezing and the buns (although they appeared to have come straight from the fridge) had already fallen apart by the time we took our first bite. Sent them back and left

    ReplyDelete
  4. Totally agree about the Epic Bun Fail - mate and I went last week and I had the venison burger and he had the OC. Mine was uneatable without knife and fork - the bun disintegrated within 2 bites. My mate was wise enough to keep the skewer in his while he ate. But whats the point of a burger that requires a wooden stake through, like some kind of beefy vampire? My burger was tasty enough, but vastly overpriced for what it was. The chips are more addictive than crack though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. in my book, if you gave to ready your burger with a knife and fork, the battle is already almost lost.

      Delete

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