Wednesday 22 October 2014

Honky Tonk Burger, London

Honky Tonk is a London-based chain of two American diner-style restaurants with branches in both Clapham and Mayfair. It follows the cookie cutter trend of stripped wooden floors, matte black painted walls with chalked quotes, and exposed filament bulbs hanging from the ceiling that have long been trending for a while. There's also a cupboard/door behind which more seating can be found, which is stolen directly from Callooh Callay (with even a Narnia quote above it, in case you didn't 'get' it).

I had been given a voucher for food, and so tried out a few items on the menu, as well as the all important burger. 


Honky Tonk Classic American with fries - £10.95 (add bacon for £1).


Not bad. The burger has a low profile on the wooden board, sitting squatly with its gleaming demi-brioche bun and the mini deep fryer bucket of french fries is full to the brim. It looks pretty inviting.


Where to begin? Let's start with the bacon, which I paid £2 for to top my cheeseburger. It looked the part - thicker than your usual streaky bacon, with a dark colour to it - but the flavour somehow wasn't quite right. You know, like it's been over-processed, or had some additive applied that made it 'hammy'. Yes, thank you, I know it's pork, but bacon shouldn't ever taste like that. 

As for the other toppings, well sadly it's the usual story. Flavourless cheese and tomato, rings of sharp red onion which I mostly removed, and some mayo slathered on the underside of the top bun. It's all just a bit, uninspiring. 


Ah, yes. The meat. The backbone of a good burger. That was pretty awful. Dense, grey, dry beef that had little flavour did the burger few favours. Meat fail.


The shining beacon of toasted demi-brioche was, in this instance, a fallacy. Simply grabbing the bun resulted in instant fissures running across the entire top of the bun, which on a resultant squish cause the bun to break up into many pieces. I see three reasons for this: 

1. the burger isn't anywhere near big enough for the bun
2. the bun recipe makes it too dry
3. there is no external toasting, which for a dry bun would have helped to keep it together. 


At £2.95 each, the accessories are great value. The rosemary-salted fries are light on the rosemary and heavy on the salt, but crispier sticks of fried potato you'll be pushed to find. Mac 'n Cheese moves away the small macaroni shapes to a much larger paccheri style of pasta - the sauce was flavoursome and sticky, with a layer of salamander-grilled cheese on top. Onion rings were frank'y brilliant - the super crunchy battered rings hadn't absorbed too much fat and were well seasoned. Sweet potato fries were equally good, long floury and crunchy sticks of sweet potato, with a slight stickiness clumping them together. All in all pretty good. 

Overall rating: 4/10

To be honest, the Honky Tonk burger is pretty disappointing. The fact the restaurant is on Clapham Common's high street won't hurt business, and they were doing a roaring trade on a Monday night, but the burger tastes cheap and is let down by a dry bun, dry dense beef and tasteless toppings.

Honky Tonk on Urbanspoon


The above completely contrasts the Honky Tonk creation of the most expensive burger in the world, certified by Record Setters on 2 October 2014

The burger, created with Groupon to celebrate their five millionth food and drink voucher being sold, is made up of the following ingredients:

  • Kobe Wagyu beef
  • New Zealand venison
  • Canadian lobster
  • Black truffle brie
  • Iranian saffron
  • Maple syrup coated streaky bacon
  • Beluga Caviar
  • Brioche bun
  • Hickory smoked duck egg
  • Edible gold leaf
  • Japanese matcha and cream mayonnaise
  • Mango and champagne jus
  • Grated white truffle

The burger was specially created for a Groupon deal with only one lucky winner getting the chance to taste the exclusive dish for free.

Head chef at Honky Tonk, Chris Large, said, “Creating The World’s Most Expensive Burger for one lucky Groupon winner has been a great experience and I know, after sourcing the best possible ingredients to create this masterpiece, the winner will certainly have a dinner to remember.”

1 comment:

  1. The world's most expensive burger! Pfffffft! Why not fire a shotgun full of diamonds at it as well? Good thing service is optional: why does it cost £137.50 just to carry this to your table, plonk it down and walk away, then returning afterwards with maybe a monotone, uninterested "Did you enjoy that? Anything else?"? Or are Group 4 involved here?


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