Tuesday, 6 August 2013

[Review] Burgers at The Admiral Codrington, Mossop Street

An email popped into my inbox the other day with an old, familiar name in the subject line. 'New Lobster Burger at the Admiral Codrington' it proclaimed, and immediately memories were stirred of the most marvellous and exciting burgers I've ever eaten. A Big Mac styled Big Boy as part of a MockDonalds burger tasting, The Ad Cod cheeseburger, a trio of burgers that included a triple chilli burger.
Admiral Codrington Lobster Burger
Admiral Codrington Lobster Burger
So with PR invite in hand, I collected a couple of seasoned burger eaters and we made the journey to South Kensington to see how the burger matches up a year on from my last visit.
Going back to visit the Admiral Codrington in its post-Fred Smith era is a bit like going back to school years after you left. Everything seems familiar, but smaller, with a nostalgic sense of excitement as memories flood back.

The three of us had a quick pint at the bar and then went through to the Cod's dining room, topped with it's fantastic retractable roof.

Price:

Lobster Burger with chips - £19.50

Presentation:

Poor. Following the Goodman school of presentation - our burgers arrived on a white plate, accompanied by a bowl of triple cooked chips. This is the only similarity with Goodman, as the burger itself is a leaning tower of Pisa - mismatched bun cut at an angle, oversized patty wrapped in a layer of insipid cheese on an unchopped (horror!) bed of bitter lettuce.

Toppings:

Ok. A look under the hood reveals a 40g pile of lobster - a quick taste finds it sweet and meaty - but with three burgers served to our table, consistency of portion size, and form, varies wildly. We had everything from a large single piece from the tail to a smaller portion made up of bits puller from various crevices. This makes a massive difference to actually being able to taste the lobster as part of the burger, the former being quite pleasant, the latter being undetectable.
Lobster on the Admiral Codrington burger
Lobster on the Admiral Codrington burger
A little less lobster on the Admiral Codrington burger
A little less lobster on the Admiral Codrington burger
The coating of cheese that covers the patty is an insipid, anaemic-looking translucent affair, but it spite of appearances it's a Montgomery cheddar so tastes much better than it looks. The salad, however, was offensive in almost every way. Bitter, unchopped lettuce that pulled out in swathes. Watery tomato added no flavour, but did give a much needed hit of moisture. The homemade barbecue sauce is poured over the lobster and adds another layer of sweetness, while a tomato reduction pooled in the bottom of the bun adds a touch of savoury to the ensemble.

Meat:

Poor. Ok, so that's unfair, there was nothing wrong with it per se, it was just unremarkable in EVERY single way. The beef was cooked perfectly to order, but was under-seasoned. Almost criminally, however, it was super lean, which translates to super dry. So all the good work cooking it perfectly medium-rare was wasted. For the first time in my burger eating career I found myself enjoying the slice of watery tomato, as an aid to swallow my burger.
Medium-rare beef, but almost entirely without fat.
Medium-rare beef, but almost entirely without fat.

Bun:

Ok. Slightly cack-handed construction aside, this isn't a bad bun. It's a brioche of course, slightly over-baked, but still fresh. But coupled with the lobster and the sweet barbecue sauce, it all becomes a bit sickly.

Accessories:

Excellent. I'm pleased to say the quality of both the triple cooked chips and the mac 'n' cheese is still very good AND the chips come with the burger (I should bloody well hope so for £19.50).
Triple cooked chips
Trip chips

Overall rating: 5/10


The PR pre-amble states The Admiral Codrington is a wonderful pub tucked away in the heart of fashionable Chelsea and is renowned for its fabulous burgers...", but I wonder if anyone who had a burger presided over by previous head chef. Fred Smith would see any resemblance in the current offering. It's uninspired and, at £19.50, is one of London's most expensive burgers. Yet there's no shortage of diners, a good majority of whom were ordering burgers (there's also a £16.50 lobster-free version).

We had two of our three burgers comped, but also took down an array of starters and desserts which were very good, but very much like the patty in the bun, our mains were the weak link.
For me, revisiting the Admiral Codrington for the burger draws into sharp relief just how good the burger used to be...still, they've got rid of the £2 per person cover charge, so that's an improvement.

Flashback:

For those of you who experienced the Fred Smith Ad Cod cheeseburger, and those who never got the chance, here's a video of it being constructed. Watch it, and shed a tear for a past legend.





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