Ode to a cheeseburger what a wonderful thing
With pickles, onions tomatoes and cheese
I’m easy to please
With its buns and seeds it has no needs
Except to fill you up even if you get stuck
And yell oh shucks!
With its cousin the French fry
It tells no lies
With ketchup in your right
and the last fry in your left
Its just the burger on your plate
It truly is impossible to hate
(by Matt Karger)
I stand corrected, because sometimes it’s justified. One of the ultimate american indulgences. There’s been a resurgence in the humble burger of late, with a number of establishments offering their take on the ‘Ultimate’ burger. Special attention has been paid to every individual element – from the Bun to the Cheese to the Patty and other accompaniments abound.
Burger Turf Wars have begun. From the various comments/reviews I have read there seems to be a significant amount of debate on what constitutes the Ultimate Burger, with most of these burger joints being slammed on one point or another. Rare vs. Medium, American Cheese vs. British, Relish vs. no Relish, Toasted Bun vs. Steamed Bun, Knife vs. Knife & Fork (you can’t please everyone).
So I arrive at Honest Burgers, “A London Restaurant inspired by great British produce”, located in the vibrant Brixton Village on a mid-week night to get my fill. The place is popular, we arrive a little later than planned and break into a frown when we see there are no free tables and there’s a 45 minute wait to be seated (I wouldn’t normally mind but we had somewhere to be). The smile quickly returns when we are told they do takeaway – “2 Specials Please! And 2 Samuel Smith’s To Go”.
10 minutes later, our burgers arrive and we pull up a couple of chairs at the end of the indoor market. Chomping away in our own private abyss, with the echo of the band drifting through. We have nothing to whinge about.
The current special is a Beef Patty with Bone Marrow, a rasher of Smoked Bacon, Red Leicester Cheese, Parsley, White Onion and House Pickled Cucumber, served with House Fries flavoured with Rosemary.
Honest Burgers have received criticism on numerous points (the bun is too dry, I don’t like relish, the burger is too small, I prefer American cheese, my Patty was rare not medium rare, my patty was over-cooked not rare). Perhaps I have too much spare time on my hands but I feel the need to be Honest about these Burgers. I happen to like British Red Leicester Cheese, and I like my meat rare, and I like relish, and I like Rosemary for that matter. And I’m not one to fret about why I’ve been given a knife instead of a knife and fork. It’s a Burger – pick it up with both hands and devour is my philosophy. Is this the Ultimate American Burger? No. Is this the Ultimate British Burger? Perhaps.
I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. Biting into the burger was engulfing and unctuous. I couldn’t especially distinguish the Bone Marrow from the rest of the flavours (I believe it is spread onto the Bun) but am sure it added to the overall umami savouriness of each bite. My Bun didn’t give way and I especially enjoyed the pickled cucumber, left in whole strips and giving a welcome sweetness and acidity to each bite. The Fries were well cooked, with the addition of Rosemary being a nice attention to detail. Although I agree with many comments that they were a touch over seasoned. For those who say their burgers are too small – it’s not a Wide Boy but a Phat Patty, and for me was a perfectly satisfying amount.
The (take-away) service was friendly and I can only commend their 10 minute turnaround for take-away when they had a full house. Not the cheapest haunt in Brixton Village – it came close to £30 for 2 Specials and 2 beers to takeout. But I’ve sampled many of the restaurants in the Village and don’t think this is over priced given the sourcing of their ingredients, home pickling and attention to detail that many other joints don’t offer.
Honest Burgers, I stand by you and I am glad your are on my doorstep. Till next time.