As the burger craze continues to take London by storm I’ve come to notice that there are two types of burger joints:
1) The greasy American style burger (joint). With serious amounts of dripping cheese. And god knows what else. Burger 1 is usually a bit smaller than Burger Type 2. A bit more compact. With lots of sauce. Examples of restaurants: Meat Liquor, Patty & Bun.
2) The cleaner European style burger (joint). Not so fatty. Expect at least a slice of tomato and some lettuce which gives you the impression you’re being semi healthy (not true). Plenty of toppings recommended, which often make these huge burgers hard to consume. Examples of restaurants: Haché, Byron Burger, Honest Burger.
So which one do I prefer?
Let’s start with Burger Joint Type 1 first. Both Meat Liquor and Patty & Bun are very different in terms of restaurant. Meat Liquor is so noisy you can’t even hear yourself asking your date to pass the ketchup. It’s a real Friday night place and the thumping music certainly gets you in the mood for the weekend (as do their cocktails in jam jars). The Dead Hippy Burger is admittedly one of the best burgers I’ve had. That ‘secret sauce’ a true winner. But you leave the place feeling a bit…dirty? Greasy? And your vocal chords hurt from shouting above the music.
Patty & Bun has a few similarities to Meat Liquor. You can’t book. So you queue. For a very long time. And their burgers are a cheese-and-juice-dripping mess, a little like the Meat Liquor ones. Some people swear by these burgers. And I real enjoyed my Jose Jose Chili Burger. But my companions who ordered the Ari Gold Cheeseburger were not so convinced. They questioned whether the cheese was actually cheese. So if I had to pick a burger I would choose the Meat Liquor one. But if I had to choose a venue, I go with Patty & Bun, because it’s more intimate. It feels less like a nightclub and more like a cosy restaurant. And the staff were incredibly friendly.
Now as for Burger Joint Type 2. I personally prefer these burgers in general. And the size of these burgers does not bother me too much because I am one of those losers that (when in a restaurant) eats a burger with knife and fork. So it doesn’t get so messy.
Byron is a solid, classic choice. You can’t really go wrong here. They have a good choice of toppings and a delightful Skinny option (with a salad instead of a bun). I always like going to Byron but, maybe because I see it really as a chain, it perhaps lacks the excitement factor some of the other burger joints have.
I recently visited Haché on the Fulham Road. I’d walked passed it so many times, and read really good things, but had never eaten there. Haché has been around since 2004, so arrived quite some years before the London Burger Mania started. It feels less like a burger joint and more like a restaurant. Perhaps a bit less trendy and a bit more grown up than the rest. And their burgers are sensational (you have a choice of a brioche or a ciabatta – go for the brioche). Their Lamb Au Naturel Burger was easily one of the best burgers I’ve had.
And last but not least, the delightful Honest Burger. It tops many people’s lists. The Brixton one is the original, and has the best atmosphere. But the Soho and Nottinghill ones are better located. The burgers are top quality (the meat is sourced from the famous and reputable Ginger Pig Butcher).
On my still ‘to do’ list: Shake Shack, Dirty Burger, Mother Flipper and Advisory…