Wednesday 27 February 2013

[Review] Reform Social and Grill Burger

Located on the corner of Mandeville Place and Hinde Street, Reform Social and Grill is attached to the Mandeville Hotel and it's suitably understated. I'd been invited to try out the house cheeseburger and the lobster burger - however my walk from Bond Street station took me past Patty & Bun on James Street and I was sorely tempted to sack it off and grab an Ari Gold instead, but the sub-zero temperatures and queues rolling out the door and down the street kept me on track to Reform Social.  
Reform Social and Grill cheeseburger
Reform Social and Grill cheeseburger
So I arrive with regular burger dining companion Steve, and we grab a quick beer in the bar. The drinks list a pleasant selection of independents so we take a Meantime Pale Ale and a Curious Brew lager, the latter a new one for me - brewed in Kent - and a bloody lovely start to the evening. We picked up a a couple more and took them to our table. 

First of all, and worthy of note - I recommend you order the black pudding duck scotch egg. It's very, very good. Righty ho, onto the burgers.
Duck egg scotch egg with black pudding
Duck egg scotch egg with black pudding 


Reform 8oz Cheese Burger - £12
Lobster Burger - £18
Hand cut chunky chips - £3.50

Satellite view of  the Reform burgers
Satellite view of  the Reform burgers


Cheeseburger. The burger arrives lid-on, melted Ogleshield cheese pouring down over the patty. On first look this burger suffers from some of the dreaded 'bun overhang', the risks of which are two-fold in a) a potential massive air bite and b) a much more unsatisfactory bun to meat ratio. Salad is served in a pile to the side - leaving you open to add garnish to taste.

Lobster burger. The lobster burger presentation leaves slightly more to be desired. I get that the idea is to display various layers of the burger, but the effect was more like it had fallen over on the plate. And there's a lot going on in the burger - we'll have to see how it marries together...
Lobster burger from Reform Social and Grill
Lobster burger from Reform Social and Grill


Cheeseburger: The melted Ogleshield cheese is excellent, and in spite of my (albeit slight) terror at having tabaso in the mayonnaise, it worked well without blowing my head off. The salad is standard, and I would have liked a bit more vinegar in the pickle, but this is a solid set of cheeseburger toppings.

Lobster burger: As I mentioned before, there's a LOT going on. This is how it breaks down - chopped pickles, rarebit, red onion, tomato, sliced chicory and tartare sauce - but does it work? The answer, thankfully, is a resounding YES. The same pickle as the cheeseburger is perfectly mellow for this ensemble, and the rarebit has a touch of umami, but it's not overpowering. Underneath the lobster patty, the bitter chicory adds structure. More miss than hit, however, was the tartare sauce which was insipid and needed a hit of caper and a stronger vinegar kick, but the red onion was a step too far.
Reform Social and Grill Lobster Burger
Reform Social and Grill Lobster Burger


Cheeseburger: The cuts of beef in the Reform Cheeseburger are predominantly ox cheek and sirloin, meaning this patty is pretty low in fat. However, what it lacks in dripping juiciness, it more than makes up for with a big hit of beefiness - good judgement with the cuts of beef used make this a tasty patty. The meat is sourced from Reform's butcher on Marylebone Lane, and aged for 28 days.
Reform Cheeseburger cut through
Reform Cheeseburger cut through
Lobster burger: This is a blend of lobster, pollack and crayfish, giving a rich meaty fish burger. It has great texture with whole pieces of fish and crustacean discernible in each bite. 


The bun is the same for each burger - toasted brioche - the workhorse of the London burger scene, and it's a good choice. In spite of the overhang issue, a quick readjustment lines the burger and bun up well enough, and there are no further problems here.


Chunky chips come with the burger at no extra cost (although you can order extra for £3.50), and one of my biggest bug bears about this style of chip is they are quite often underdone meaning a bite through the crunchy exterior ends with a mouthful of raw potato. Thankfully these were judged perfectly. Beer battered red onion rings were also executed well and were light and crispy.
The burger experience at Reform Social and Grill 

Overall Ratings: 

Cheeseburger: 8/10
This is a pretty solid burger. I can see it leaning towards the slightly dry side with the cuts that are used, but the tabasco mayo keeps it moist enough. 

Lobster burger: 
This burger needs a bit of work - more bite in the tartare and the pickles - less chicory to ratchet the bitterness down a notch or two. It's getting there, but the cheeseburger is still the star of this burger show. Reform currently have an offer with theirlobster burger, a portion of chips and half a bottle of house white Chardonnay all for £14.

So in summary, Reform Social and Grill is well worth a visit. The beer's great, the atmosphere relaxed, and the bar has a whole section dedicated to bourbon - which we inevitably got stuck into later in the evening...and maybe, just maybe, you can grab a late night Ari Gold at Patty & Bun on your way home, too.

This visit was kindly comped by Reform Social and Grill.

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  1. Jeez stop doing this to us. Have a list of burger joints we need to visit as long as our collective arms now!

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