Tuesday 12 November 2013

[Review] Wenlock and Essex Triple Steak Burger

I've been a big fan of the Wenlock & Essex in Angel for a while. The original Wenlock burger debuted straight into my Top 10 Burgers in London list back in March 2012. The head chef James Morgan (the driving force behind the Wenlock's burger renaissance) has since left for pastures new and the pub dropped off my radar...
Wenlock & Essex Triple Steak burger.
Wenlock & Essex Triple Steak burger
...until last week, when I spotted they'd launched a new 'triple steak' burger on the menu. Time for another visit.


Triple steak burger with parmesan fries - £15


The new chefs have eschewed the simple white plate of the previous Wenlock burger and instead moved towards the more rustic burger-onna-board methodology. The burger comes lidded, dripping with burger sauce and cheese, and looks pretty damn good.
The £15 triple steak burger with parmesan fries
The £15 triple steak burger with parmesan fries


Ok. There's a lot going on here. Burger sauce, Montgomery cheddar, beetroot braised onions, pickle slaw. That's a host of big flavours, so I'm interested how they're going to combine. A huge dollop of burger sauce kicks this off - a nod to the previous sauce (think mustard powder, mayo, ketchup, and blitzed pickles) - next a curtain of melted Montgomery cheddar covers a dollop of beetroot braised onions on top of the beef patty. It's a shame the cheddar is completely lost between the sharp acidity of the burger sauce and the mellow, slightly sickly sweetness, of the beetroot onions. The pickle slaw is crunchy and in my opinion is the pick of these toppings.


Two little words...MEAT FAIL.

Oh dear. Oh deary me.

Can you tell me what's wrong here...?

...yes, that's right, aside from being overcooked (I asked for the burger medium rare), the beef has been pre-salted WAAAAY before it was cooked. This is bad. Pre-salting beef (a while in advance of cooking) changes the structure of the protein in the meat and creates a spongey/rubbery, unappetizing mass. This is reflected in the structure you see in the pictures above.

The burger is a combination of three 30 day aged minced steaks: rump, sirloin, and rib-eye, but for all I knew it could have been brain and testicles, so bland and chewy was the beef. And it's £15. FIFTEEN POUNDS. That puts it on competing grounds with Hawksmoor. And Hawskmoor this certainly is not.

This is a deeply saddening experience from a place that used to bring a smile to my burger-smeared face.


Rinkoff custom brioche. Excellent as usual, though it should be very embarrassed to be associated with the rest of this burger.


Parmesan fries. These are actually pretty good. Hot, crisp, salty and covered in melted parmesan cheese. Crunching them helped take away the memory of the terrible bouncy, chewy patty.
Parmesan fries at the Wenlock & Essex
Parmesan fries at the Wenlock & Essex

Overall rating: 5/10

I really wanted to be blown away by this burger, but at the heart of it there's a fundamental misunderstanding about how to make a good beef patty. So, rather than a sustained place in my list of the best burgers in London, the Wenlock & Essex comes CRASHING out with a very poor 5/10.

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  2. Jamie Lockett13 November, 2013

    The Wenlock has definitely gone down hill dramatically in the past 12 months. This time last year they had weekly changing burger specials to rival if not eclipse that of P&B. It seem the new chef doesn't hold the same passion for food, especially burgers as the previously mentioned chef. A real shame, I used to eat at the W&E at least once, usually twice a month with friends but not sure we'll go back again.

    Great, honest review again nick! Loving the blog...do you know where we can find James' these days?

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  4. Andy Carroll13 November, 2013

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  5. Jemima Beanpole13 November, 2013

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