DEREK ROBERTSON, SEPT 2017
Mac’n’cheese, fried chicken, pizza. The list of comfort foods that have been elevated to an art form by London’s booming restaurant scene over the last few years is as long as it is mouth watering. But few dishes endure, or inspire such salivating devotion, as the humble hamburger.
There’s no shortage of burger chains or places where it’s a staple menu item, but for truly great examples, steer clear of Shake Shack, Five Guys, and those simply trying to cash in on its popularity. Here are five places where chowing down on a beef patty is something skin to a religious experience.
Mac & Wild – “The Veni Moo”
The double patty is nothing new, but nobody does it quite as inventively as Mac & Wild, whose two restaurants celebrate Scottish produce handpicked from Highland producers and suppliers. Boasting one venison and one beef patty – their meat is impeccably sourced – nestled between a tasty brioche bun, it’s smothered in melted cheese and pickles for extra flavour. Not convinced? Just add candied bacon for some extra crunch and even more “wow” factor.
Tongue ‘n’ Cheek – “The Heartbreaker”
The key to any successful burger is a juicy, succulent patty, oozing goodness, but achieving this is no mean feat. For their iconic – and delicious – Heartbreaker burger, meat masters Tongue ‘n’ Cheek mix dry-aged native breed beef with ox heart in a 50/50 blend; the richness has to be tasted to be believed. Add in watercress, sour cream, cheddar, and chimichurri, and you have one of the capital’s most decadent creations.
Bad Egg – “The Cheeseburger”
While many places attempt to dress up burgers with fancy toppings, sauces, and unconventional ingredients, there’s something deeply satisfying about a simple cheeseburger done to perfection. The Bad Egg, a wonderful little diner close to the Barbican, do precisely this, with one important twist – fondue. That’s right, this delight comes drenched in a flood of Red Leicester fondue (eating it gets exceptionally messy). Caramelized onions, pickles, burger sauce, and a perfectly toasted bun complete this little package of perfection.
Stokey Bears – “The Grizzly Bear” The vibe at this fun, Stoke Newington hangout is almost as enticing as their grass fed Sussex beef – the tunes are great and they do killer cocktails. But the real reason to grab a pew here is to tuck into a Grizzly Bear – a cheeseburger topped with Oak smoked bacon and tangy bacon jam. And if your appetite can handle it, go for the Greedy Bear – basically a double stacked Grizzly. Meaty goodness doesn’t come much better.
Meat Liquor – “The Dead Hippie”
One of the original gourmet London burgers, and still one of the best. Yianni Papoutis started Meat Liquor back in 2011, his unique take on US style burgers and wings proving so popular that he now helms a 17-location empire. The Dead Hippie is their signature – two mustard-fried patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, white onion, and their oh-so-addictive “secret sauce”. This is perfection in bun form. Be sure to try their famous Monkey Fingers as well – surely one of the capital’s greatest guilty comfort food pleasures.
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