Monday 21 December 2015

[Review] Le Bun - Burgers at Le Zetter

Late to the party, but fashionably so, I've just managed to try out the delights of Le Bun at Le Zetter with some burger loving work colleagues - five days before their residency ends. I'll give you the full brief after the jump, but if you're a fan of Le Bun (or if you've never tried it) you have to get yourself a booking for their next residency.

Sunday 13 December 2015

[Review] Burger & Lobster, Old Bailey, City of London

It's been a while since I last visited Burger & Lobster. In fact my review from back in the days when it was an emerging brand was more than three years ago. The reason I bring this up is I was contacted the other day on the back of the launch of their latest restaurant in Old Bailey (their 9th in London) and asked if I wanted to drop in, check out the new site, and to resample the burger.

Back when I reviewed it, it received a solid 8/10 - so a lifetime later, in London food days, is it still on the mark?

'The Blonde' and I dutifully set off to find out...

Thursday 26 November 2015

[Burger News] Double Up at The Diner on Black Friday

Hey, you know what, it's Black Friday tomorrow. As if you didn't know, right? And in case your inbox hasn't been flooded with deals from every retailer you happen to have accidentally shared your email address with, here's a Black Friday deal that I can get on board with.

The Diner are offering anyone who eat any of their burgers (that includes their cheeseburger, the arch burger, my favourite - the Diablo, and a host of others) a second burger patty for free. That's right, you can make your burger a DOUBLE and pay not a penny more.

Now surely that's something worth celebrating on Black Friday. Enjoy.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Food Hoods: Get your favourite burger featured on this beautifully illustrated Food Map

We're pretty spoilt, you know, in London, with all our great burgers. (Hi again, by the way, I haven't posted for a while as I've had a busy couple of months but hopefully a few more posts coming down the pipe shortly).

I would say we've got a pretty established set of great burger slingers, and so it would seem that now is the time to institutionalise them into something beautiful. This is what I'm talking about:

A couple of weeks ago a fellow burger enthusiast (let's call him a bit of a foodie), had a chat with me about a food map he was creating - codenamed "Food Hoods". The intention is that the map will be hand-illustrated and cover the crème de la crème of the city's best food and drink neighbourhoods. This obviously appeals to me because it means that as well as being able to plan to get my burger fix around the capital, I can explore other foods in the area - recommended by peers.

Hoods that have been confirmed already are:

  • Soho
  • Covent Garden
  • Fitzrovia
  • Marylebone
  • Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Hoxton
  • Hackney (London Fields, Dalston mainly)
  • Whitechapel & Spitalfields
  • Brixton
  • Clerkenwell
  • Bermondsey

Food Hoods is the creation of Will Moody and he wants to make sure your favourite burger joints are included on the map, which is where you lovely lot come in.

All you have to do is plug your favourite burger into the comments section below, or tweet me and Will (@HamburgerMe @FoodHoods) with your top burger restaurant in London.

Now, and this is important, you need to make sure you share your absolute number one. The place you'd go if it was your last burger in London. And Will will make sure the best ten make it onto his new illustrated map.

If you want to get your hands on a copy of Food Hoods you can pre-order your copy here - it comes as a fold-out map for sticking up on your wall or a small booklet (better for burger fans on the go). As great maps take time to produce, the first copies will be ready in early 2016. 

Monday 31 August 2015

New York Burger Tour in 36 hours

It’s not every day you get to play in New York and eat great burgers. But I had that chance very recently when I was travelliong to Washington D.C. with work and took the opportunity to spend a day and a half, a mere 36 hours, in NYC. I hopped onto AirBnB and booked myself into a flat in the heart of Greenwich Village (right on MacDougal Street, and a stone’s throw from Bleecker St.) arriving around midnight on Friday.

Inevitably I was stoked about being able to try out some of the New York burgers on my bucket list and with a host of recommendations from Fred Smith, Zan Kaufman, and Will Leigh (not to mention numerous others) I had a hard job picking and choosing.

This is where my recommendations took me:

Monday 24 August 2015

National Burger Day UK - 27 August 2015

National Burger Day is my wet dream. It's the UK's celebration of burgers that happens every year on 27 August, first launching in 2013.

For a burger blogger everyday is celebration of burgers, but National Burger Day brings a nation together over everyone's favourite comfort food and it's really kicking off at Dalston Yard where 18 burger joints are selling their wares for your pleasure.

Here they are:

Tickets sold out pretty quickly, but the good news for the rest of you is that Mr Hyde have negotiated a 20% discount with some serious burger slingers across the UK on the day in question - check out a restaurant near you and download a voucher to get involved:

Here's last year's video to get excited about.

I wrote about National Burger Day in 2013 here, and in 2014 here. Careful, there's burger porn involved.

Monday 10 August 2015

[Recipe] The Big Brunch Burger

I was up late the other day, it was about 10am so too late for breakfast, but I was hungry. The weather was nice. I had an urge to get a grill on but it wasn't time for lunch. So the Big Brunch Burger happened.
I've also submitted it in the Ladbrokes BBQ Bingo Challenge - so you can vote for my recipe here.

This recipe serves four. Or two really hungover people.

Saturday 25 July 2015

[Competition] Win two breakfast burgers from Burger & Lobster

Burger & Lobster, the Goodman sister brand that pairs luxury with comfort, has launched a new range of breakfast burgers at Threadneedle Street in the city. And yours truly gets to give two away as part of Great Little Place, London's Burger Week.
Here's the official line from Burger & Lobster

"Burger & Lobster DOES MORNINGS!

We travelled the world to find great farmers and what we consider to be some of the best beef in the world. Our 6oz Baby Burgers are 100% Nebraskan Angus Steak made from 3 cuts; Chuck, Tri Tip & Brisket. We also use our own recipe for the brioche bun. Comes with cheese and a soft poached egg. Dish served with beans and hash browns!

Exclusive to our Threadneedle Street restaurant as part of our Breakfast Menu."

So what do you have to do to be in with a chance of winning?

It's pretty simple. Just tweet "#BurgerWeekBreakfastBurgerBonanza" and mention @glpLondon and @burger_lobster on Twitter. Simples.

Winner drawn first thing on Sunday 26 July. G'luck.

COMP NOW CLOSED - congratulations to the winners!

Tuesday 21 July 2015

[Special] The Freddar Dawg Burger from Byron Hamburgers

Unless you've been under a stone for the last week or so, you can't have helped but hear about the latest special from Byron Hamburgers. The Freddar Dawg.
Simply put, it's the usual 6oz Byron hamburger, chopped in half and stuffed into a big demi-brioche hot dog bun. Topped with crispy bacon, mustard mayo, and pickles. There's melted American cheese on top and underneath there's an iceberg, Byron sauce, chopped onion 'slaw. It reminds me of the Uncle Sam, but with a greater depth of flavour. And bacon.

It's the first burger in a while that's put a smile on my face. The custom-made (more on that in a minute) American cheese is Fred Smith at his oh-so-very best, and the classic flavour combination of bacon, pickles, mustard mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce is a delight.
The cheese is actually a custom made job, combining Italian Parmesan (Grana Padano), mature cheddar, and Red Leicester (for colour), and it melts in festoons over the patties. As you can imagine, the flavours are deeply moreish and it has a pleasing stickiness on the palate, too. And so the Freddar in the Freddar Dawg is obviously a play on cheddar....
All I can say is that this burger is tried, tested, and Hamburger Me! recommended so make sure you get your chops around one in the next couple of months. Available at all Byron restaurants and priced at £10.95.

Read about the other Byron specials I've reviewed below:

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Burgers at Shake Shack, Covent Garden: The Definitive Guide

Shake Shack is one of the world’s most prestigious fast food chains, and it’s location in Covent Garden’s Jubilee Market is in one of London’s highest footfall locations. Founded by famous American restaurateur Danny Meyer, it slow, inexorable expansion from NY hot dog cart to global upmarket burger and hot dog chain has been carefully planned and deliberately executed. I wrote previously about Shake Shack's opening in July 2013 here.

Sunday 21 June 2015

[Burger Tour] Burgers in Copenhagen

With last week’s burger tour in Oslo still fresh on the palate, my next visit to Scandinavia takes me to Copenhagen – home to 1.5million Danes and arguably the most progressive of the Scandic bloc (although the Swedes, Finns, and Norwegians would disagree, I’m sure).
Arriving into Copenhagen airport in strong winds, horizontal rain, and darkened cloudy skies – it’s not the most conducive conditions for a walking burger tour of the city, but that’s why I’m here, so off we go.

Monday 15 June 2015

[Burger Tour] Burgers in Oslo

When thinking about where you might go for a decent burger or two, Oslo wouldn't be high up your list to visit, but across a number of Scandinavian countries a nascent burger scene is emerging that, while not on the scale and quality of the burger offering in the UK, will leave you pleasantly surprised.
So with my burger consultant hat on, I found myself travelling to Norway to present on London burger trends to a conference and took the opportunity to sample some (ten) burgers while I was there.

Thursday 28 May 2015

[Review] Fatburger UK, Jamestown Road, Camden

Fatburger is the latest in a line of American burger chains hitting up the capital. Founded in the nineteen fourties in California, they now have franchises in more than 47 countries across the world - my first Fatburger was in Dubai in 2012 and it's well known as California's second favourite burger joint (after In N Out).
The restaurant is situated on the Jamestown Road strip in Camden, rubbing shoulders with Byron, The Diner, and Rossopomodoro (sister restaurant to Ham Holy Burger in John Lewis) - all established and illustrious neighbours. It's furnished somewhere between the garish red and white of Five Guys, and the more refined wood, metal and green neon of Shake Shack which as you'll see, seems to fit perfectly with the positioning of their burger.

Thursday 23 April 2015

[Burger Away Day] Burgers at Bad Egg, CityPoint, London

Organised by the fantastic Camilla, Burger Away Day (#BAD) has become an institution amongst burger lovers. I attended the first BAD which saw Pop Up burger slingers Disco Bistro at The Rising Sun pub serving a French dipped masterpiece.

For it's ninth outing, we were treated with a visit to a new diner - Bad Egg - run by Neil Rankin (formerly of Pitt Cue Co.) and a 3 course special menu. I don't often write about these kind of one off "meat ups" as they tend to be fleeting, and not generally available outside the event. But I just HAD to write a few nice words about this one, because frankly it's burger pornography in motion.
Photo credit Fast Food London
Chicken fried burger with bone marrow cheese. That's what the menu said. And that's EXACTLY what we got. With a twist.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

[Special] The Yard Burger, Shake Shack Covent Garden

To celebrate St. George's Day, Shake Shack have come up with a special burger that migrates away from the usual mellow, tallowy styled burgers we're used to, to hit you in the face with a bit proper English flavour.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's The Yard Burger.

Saturday 18 April 2015

[Review] Ham Holy Burger - John Lewis, Oxford Street

An Italian burger joint? In a department store? In the centre of London? Are you MAD...?!

 It's the kind of randomness that you just can't make up. But it has happened, and it does exist, so if you can't beat them, eat them. Which is what I did with Ham Holy Burger in John Lewis, Oxford Street...

Tuesday 31 March 2015

The Bleecker Black from Bleecker St. Burger in Old Spitalfields

Every now and again, a burger stops me dead in my tracks. It's not something I ever expect, but when it happens it gives me immeasurable pleasure.
There are lots of great burgers in London these days, and everyone and their dog has an opinion (did you know there are now more than 15 blogs dedicated to the London burgers, most of which have sprung up in the last 18 months?!) but being the best burger in London is not a superlative I use lightly. The Bleecker Black could be exactly that. The best burger in London.

The make up of this burger is almost embarrassingly simple, but no less magical for it.  Let me explain.

Monday 16 March 2015

[Review] The Bountiful Cow burger, Eagle Street, London

Tucked away on an unassuming street, set back from the Holborn/Chancery Lane 'strip' sits one of the most tongue-in-cheek pub/restaurants I've been to in London. The Bountiful Cow.

Saturday 14 March 2015

[Review] Jerkkies Caribbean Restaurant

Those kind people at JUST EAT contacted me the other day and asked if I'd be willing to try out their booking engine and support their Tried & Tasted campaign - so I had a rootle around on the site and found a Caribbean place just around the corner - Jerkkies - that had never hit my radar and gave it a whirl...

For one day only, I decided to exchange my usual beef patty for a caribbean beef patty (hunger and an 'all afternoon meeting' may have had a hand in this), so I went for a one of those, along with a goat curry, plantain, and rice and 'peas'.
The beef patty was full of a sweet and spicy caribbean flavoured steak with a thick sauce, surrounded by a thin, and quite short, pastry coloured with turmeric. It's about 5 mouthfuls of food, but the intense bright flavours of fruit and juicy spice merge with the savoury beef brilliantly. I could probably eat a few of these in one sitting.

The second part of my meal was a goat curry, complete with plantain and kidney bean rice (anyone know why they call it rice and peas?). The dark curried goat meat literally melted on my tongue - with none of the sinew that you can get when using leaner and more active quadroped meat - and the mild curry sauce is packed with turmeric. Tie that in with the sweet mellow plantain and you've got yourself a fantastic lunch.

So trading my usual burger for something a bit different paid off. Don't worry...I won't make a habit of it :)

About the Tried & Tasted Awards

JUST EAT feedback has given Food Lovers across the country the ability to rate their favourite local takeaways. The Tried and Tasted awards gives people from all around the UK who vote for their favourite takeaways via the JUST EAT website the chance to rate their locals who focus on quality and consistency. The consistency award is an uber award that, out of 8,000 restaurants rated every year, recognises a handful of just 20 as the best of the best - receiving the highest ratings and reviews from those cities that had accumulated the most T&T winners overall.

For further details about the Tried and Tasted Awards, read what JUST EAT have to say here:

Tuesday 10 March 2015

[Review] Big Fernand burgers, Percy Street, London

*Update* Big Fernand have now tweaked pricing so burgers are £7-£10, and Fernandines (chips) are £3.

The latest edition to London's burgeoning burger scene, Big Fernand, has just opened in its soft launch phase, which ends on 12 March.
Big Fernand is a VERY French hamburger concept. which makes sense as they hail from Paris where they're already operating five restaurants. In London, their gaff is staffed with a huge number of stereotypically moustachioed, stripey shirted servers and chefs, the majority of whom are actually French - there's a real feel that the whole place has been plucked out of a Paris arrondissement and dropped into Fitzrovia - except they're not taking themselves to seriously.

So, on Day 1, and having never visited the Big Fernand HQ, how do the burgers stack up?

Friday 6 March 2015

[Competition] Burger Craft opens in Euston at The Exmouth Arms

Burger Craft, originally named Juicy Bastard, launched their forth pop-up kitchen in their brand new flagship Euston pub - The Exmouth Arms - at the start of February following a £150k refurbishment.

It's traditional Victorian pub, a short walk from Euston station on Starcross Street and seats 80. They're serving from their new ‘Burger Craft Does..’ menu which sees 12 classic British dishes reinvented and served in a demi brioche bun - as well as The Juicy Bastard burger which we all know and love.

As well as serving award-winning burgers, The Exmouth Arms will serve a London-focused product range including 15 brands of gin and 50% of their bottled and draught beer coming from London-based breweries.

To celebrate their new pub, they've given Hamburger Me! a meal for 4 to give away. To be in with a chance to win, simply Tweet "I want a #JuicyBastard @hamburgerme @Burger_Craft" or post on my Facebook wall.

Monday 23 February 2015

[Burger News] Big Fernand soft launch 10 - 12 March 2015

As I reported back in January, French Burger chain Big Fernand are crossing the channel and setting up shop on Percy Street in Fitzrovia. 

Well now they've announced their soft launch dates 10-12 March and they'll be giving away 100 FREE BURGERS every day to those dressed up in striped shirts, and/or with a mustache (real or fake). 
Big Fernand was launched in 2012 and now has 8 restaurants in France. This is part of a roll out strategy that will see another 15 restaurants open in 2015, in London, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in France. 

Sunday 22 February 2015

[Burger News] Bleecker St. Burger launch permanent home in Old Spitalfields Market

Hey, burger lovers - here's comes THE burger news of the month.

On Thursday 26th February 2015 Bleecker St Burger will open their first permanent London home for their own brand of unfussy burgers.

Thursday 12 February 2015

[Interview] Zan Kaufman, Bleecker St. Burger Boss

Zan loves the street. It's what's drawn her to serve her burgers from the now familiar black Bleecker St. Burger truck for so long. But things are changing...
I'm sitting opposite Zan in a newly opened restaurant and bar on the corner of Old Spitalfields Market, just around the corner from the brand new permanent home for Bleecker St. Burger in the city. which has been a long time coming...but more on that later. I'm talking to Zan in the latest in a series of interviews with the people behind the best burgers in London, so say hi to straight-talking New Yorker Zan Kaufman who talks to me about beginnings, burgers, beef and taking things back to basics.

Friday 6 February 2015

Butchery Skills - The Flat Iron and The Rump

I had the good fortune of working with Quality Standard beef and lamb and Red Tractor in 2013 as a judge in their Battle of the Burgers competition, which pitted eight lucky finalists – whittled down from 100s of entries – to cook their best burgers for a panel of judges. So it was with great pleasure that I agreed to join master butcher Martin Eccles for a butchery demonstration, hosted by Quality Standard beef and lamb.

Friday 30 January 2015

[Burger News] Shake Shack to launch the ShackMeister burger in Covent Garden

Good news shack fans - Shake Shack in Covent Garden are FINALLY launching the ShackMeister burger in the UK.

This is a big deal because it's awesome. It's their classic cheeseburger, topped with crispy ShackMeister Ale marinated shallots and ShackSauce, and it's making its debut on Monday 16th February.
Eat it and bathe in it's glory.

Also significant is the recent comment by Shake Shack UK Managing Director, Nigel Sherwood, about the Shack's expansion in the UK, starting with Westfield Stratford later this year. They're ready to roll and looking to have seven or eight more restaurants in high footfall areas in London and further afield - probably using some of the cash from their latest round of fund-raising.

Monday 26 January 2015

[Review] Ruby Burger from Ruby Modern Diner, Exeter, Devon

I took a couple of weeks out of London over Christmas and New Year (c'mon, even burger bloggers need a holiday sometimes) and part of this period was spent in Devon.
Inevitably I'd been craving a decent burger, especially as once again I'm going Meat Free in January 2015, and so New Year's Eve would be my last mouthful of beef for 31 days. Luckily I'd been hearing some good things about a recent addition to the Exeter dining scene, Ruby Burger, so this is where I went for my final burger in 2014. And I'm jolly glad I did.

Thursday 22 January 2015

[Meat Free January] Bean Me Up burger at Burger Shack, Edgware Road

Once again I find myself spending a month without meat.

The annual self-flagellation of Meat Free January has been in full swing for just over three weeks, and this year has been the toughest so far (ok, so I’m not drinking for a month, either, but that’s a different story). What makes it doubly tough is the number of places that are running burger specials, and offers, to lure in those who want to cheer up their cold, dark January with some meaty comfort food. I can’t say I haven’t been tempted, but I have maintained my integrity…so far.
Lunch at Burger Shack, however, has been by far my toughest test, as my 20+ dining companions tucked into their Big Shack burgers, pulled pork amazeballs, and beef chilli cheese fries – washed down with Meantime Pale Ale and Kopparberg cider – I waited for my “Bean Me Up” veggie burger, silently screaming…

Tuesday 20 January 2015

[Burger News] French Connection: Big Fernand Burger to launch in London in March 2015

First we had Icelandic Burgers, then the Lebanese had a shot, then we had the American Burger Wars (Five Guys and Shake Shack), but now there's another nation muscling in on London's booming burger scene - the French are coming...

Big Fernand is crossing the channel this March, setting up shop on Percy Street in Fitzrovia. Their press release says they're "putting the va va voom into burgers, these fabulous French patties are getting ready to shake up the capital with a burger joint big on French flavours and Parisian savoir-faire. With super fast service and a cool, quirky vibe that doesn’t try too hard, Big Fernand puts the bistro bling into burgers."

Apparently they'll be "serving only the crème de la crème of hamburgés, Big Fernand takes the American classic and blends with French gastronomy to deliver a burger with a difference. Think artisan buns, made in London using a French baker’s secret recipe, locally-sourced Charolais and Aberdeen Angus meat, unpasteurised French cheeses such as Tomme de Savoie, Raclette or Fourme d'Ambert, freshly chopped herbs and home-made sauces created by Chef Thomas Boutin."

"Served blue through to well-done, choose from five classic combinations including beef, chicken and veal. Alternatively, ‘build your own’ with over 3,840 distinctly French possibilities. Eat with fingers, accompanied by Fernandines – home-made hand cut French fries from potatoes peeled and sliced at the restaurant each morning. The drinks list features a red, white and a rosé wine as well as beer, all French naturellement."

Service is touted to be "speedy and sometimes cheeky – expect your hamburger with a smile in around 40 seconds from order to service."

Big Fernand was launched in 2012 and now has 8 restaurants in France. This is part of a roll out strategy that will see another 15 restaurants open in 2015, in London, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in France. 

Saturday 10 January 2015

[Review] Patty Melt at Chop Shop, Haymarket

I’d go so far to say that Chop Shop on Haymarket, that odd, triple-lane one way system that connects Piccadilly Circus with Trafalgar Square, is a hidden gem. Certainly in terms of real estate, it’s got nothing on the wide-fronted Byron Hamburgers opposite, or the generic pizza/pasta places that rely on unwitting tourist traffic and out of town theatre goers  to pay their Westminster rents, but in quality eating, it’s gold.

Chop Shop, as you’d expect, is a predominantly meat-focused affair, serving steaks, roasts and a weekly burger alongside potted crab, liver pate and smoked trout, as well as a host of other British deli bar snacks. They also have a patty melt on the menu, which is the focus of this review.
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