We were excited to check out this newcomer, both because it’s received rave reviews from the likes of Time Out London
and the Guardian’s Jay Rayner
, and also because the original location is part of Brixton Village, a funky artisanal market in one of the city’s best neighborhoods. But upon visiting, it didn’t take long to realize we’d been stitched up like a kipper: Even coming from the hype-fueled culture of New York City, we found the disparity between the critical plaudits and our actual experience to be extreme—the only explanations could be that the place had an off day, or Londoners simply aren’t used to eating good burgers.
The signature sandwich is a classic example of a fussy pub burger gone wrong (and the place doesn’t even have the excuse of actually being a pub).
Bone-dry glazed brioche bun? Check. Unnecessary sweet red-onion relish? Check. Oversized patties more akin to meatballs than discs of even thickness? Sadly, yes.
Given the emphasis on sourcing—25-day dry-aged British chuck steak from Ginger Pig butcher—the biggest letdown turned out to be the meat itself. Instead of the funk and metallic tang we’re used to from dry-aged beef, we encountered dry and bland protein, exacerbated by an uneven grind that hemorrhaged juices during the cooking process. The man at the griddle tried to cover it up by salting the patties as if he were trying to kill an army of garden slugs, but that only made matters worth—oversalted bland beef is exactly the stigma British burger slingers should be trying to get away from.
The final insult was rosemary salt on the fries, perhaps even more offensive than the mook-baiting truffle oil we’re used to back home. Unit 12, Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour Lane SW9 8PR +44 020 7733 7963; honestburgers.co.uk) * 4 Meard Street W1F 0EF (+44 020 3609 9524)
Others London burgers to know:
The benchmark gastropub burger, served-up in well-heeled Chelsea. theadmiralcodrington.co.uk
The solid-but-not-revelatory trailblazer chain. Bonus: Strong craft-beer selection. byronhamburgers.com
Burger & Lobster: The
new hot spot, so much so that we were quoted a two hour wait when attempting to eat there. The choices are a burger, a lobster, or a lobster roll, and everything is £20. burgerandlobster.com