Sunday 11 May 2014

[Review] The Heartbreaker Burger from Tongue 'n Cheeks,

Tongue 'n Cheek is not your usual burger slinging, street food set up, oh no. They're focused on nose-to-tail eating, using the parts of the animal that don't tend to make it onto mainstream restaurant menus.
And at the heart of their offering (no pun intended) sits the Heartbreaker burger - a glorious blend of beef and ox heart.

I caught up with them at Kerb to find out how good their burgers actually are, but you can also sample their wares at The Joker on Penton St. in Angel.


Heartbreaker 'Cheesy' - £6
Heartbreaker 'Belly Connection' - £7


Tongue 'N Cheek burgers are presented open in a wrap of greaseproof paper, wrapped in a napkin. Being streetfood, the burgers are cooked and built in front of you with the care and attention you'd hope for . Peeking out of the wrapper, the poppy and sesame seed bun gives this burger great visual appeal and the fantastic smells emanating from the packet mean you won't go far before chowing down.


On the 'Cheesy' burger, the cheese has been superbly melted under cloche with steam, coating the patty with a cloack of oozing dairy that fills in all the cracks in the patty. Add in ketchup and mustard and this is Tongue 'N Cheek take on the classic cheeseburger. They don't stop there, however, as under the lid also reside some sharp and crunchy slices of pickled radish, which give a great contrast to the soft patty and cheese. They're also rather moreish.

The 'Belly Connection' burger, on the other hand, is topped with an almost japanese-style sweet mayo, pickled onions and a couple of slices of griddled belly pork. The sweet mayo works an absolute treat with the aged beef, complelementing the rich earthy flavours of the patty, but the sheer volume of it sadly drowned out the flavours of the pork belly - which on its own was excellent. The long strands of pickled onion were sharp and offered a great balance to the rest of the mellow burger.


The meat at the heart of all the Heartbreaker burgers from Tongue 'N Cheek are a thick, coarsely ground blend of ox heart and dry aged chuck, which is loosely packed into thick patties. For each burger, the patties are seared on a flat-top grill for a good long time, which results in a dark brown, and super crunchy crust around the beef, whilst retaining a juicy, pink interior. These patties have a great earthy aged beef flavour and high fat content, which should come as no surprise as they're supplied by butcher Nathan Mills who runs The Butchery in Bermondsey.


White, and studded with poppy & sunflower seeds, the Tongue 'N Cheek bun looks beautiful. It is toasted, but I still found this to be a little firm for the rest of the soft furnishings inside the sandwich. I found it compressed when squeezed together, but didn't spring back, leaving solid lumps where my fingers had pressed. But I'm nit-picking here - yes, it's denser than other street food burger buns I'm used to, but looking at the practicality it's good for structure, particularly when the recipients are going to be eating it on the hoof, and it works well with the juicy patty.

The buns are supplied from The Spence bakery, based in Stoke Newington.

Overall rating: 9/10

I'm really impressed with the heartbreaker burger - it's charm lies in the combination of earthy, beefy flavours played off against sharp and sweet elements of the build, as well as great texture throughout the burger. Cristiano, Tongue 'N Cheek's founder, has created a thing of beauty from parts of a cow that aren't first choice on many people's list, and for that I salute him.

Tongue 'N Cheek can be found serving as part of Kerb around the capital.

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