Join 3,573 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


FlavorBrit
December 19, 2012 8:06 AM   Subscribe

ShortList has been reviewing British high-end (gourmet) burgers for the last few months.

Elsewhere, Burger Me is a London-centric burger blog, while Burger Anarchy also has a London section.

Manchester Confidential has been sampling some of the recent wave of posh burger joints to open in the city, while 'James' has been reviewing the burgers of Scotland.

The largest burger sold in British burger establishments is the 14 pound, 18,000 calorie (with accessories) 'Beast', recently eaten by three people.

The current exchange rate is $1.63 = £1. Tipping in Britain is (usually) optional.
posted by Wordshore (37 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Those factory made buns are puisne and make me sad.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:11 AM on December 19, 2012


I have eaten some of these burgers and can vouch for the size and calorie count.
posted by pipeski at 8:20 AM on December 19, 2012


The first link seemed interesting and indeed made my mouth water, but when I got past the obviously fanciful pork-chorizo delicacy and the theoretically surprising kimchee burger to the third review, I read the phrase "perfectly pink middle" and realized this would be like reading music reviews by a Mariah Carey fan.

Great post, though. My stomach is now growling for something greasy and substantial. Perhaps it's a good day for my monthly meat treat.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:24 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


read the phrase "perfectly pink middle" and realized this would be like reading music reviews by a Mariah Carey fan.

What do you mean? When you have really good beef you want to undercook it. The best burgers I've ever had are pink in the middle, with some red juices oozing out.
posted by vacapinta at 8:31 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Note to OP and James vs Burger - Glasgow != Scotland.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:33 AM on December 19, 2012


Great article. Thank you. I'm surprised they've not been to Honest Burgers yet though.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:36 AM on December 19, 2012


The current exchange rate is $1.63 = £1

So some of those burger cost $25? Wow.
posted by octothorpe at 8:37 AM on December 19, 2012


Hah, MuffinMan, I was coming in to say the same thing. No Honest Burgers on either ShortList or Burger Anarchy? Surprising. Burger Me gave them 9/10 though.
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:39 AM on December 19, 2012


Note to Happy Dave - Edinburgh != Glasgow either...
posted by Wordshore at 8:52 AM on December 19, 2012


Glad Annie's Burger Shack in Notts made the list. Annie is a doll.
posted by dumdidumdum at 8:52 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


When you have really good beef you want to undercook it.

No, I don't, not in a burger. But you do, and that's fine with me.

When I have really good beef I don't grind it up. My preference in burgers runs to well done. I like diced onions mixed into the patty. My mom made them that way, so there's really no argument. It's just, as they say, a matter of taste.

I do like steaks pink on the inside. That's life: sometimes bewildering to others.

I meant to be clear in my first comment that I was talking about my own personal tastes, but perhaps I wasn't. I hope you can forgive me.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:52 AM on December 19, 2012


This is a relatively new phenomenon, isn't it? I spent a season in England 6 years ago and couldn't find a decent (let alone "gourmet") burger for love nor money.
posted by whuppy at 8:58 AM on December 19, 2012


I had hoped the descriptions of the burgers were more say, fleshed-out. The first one as Ice Cream Socialist points out, lists some of the ingredients in the burger and quite frankly, I was hoping for something that resembled a recipe for these yummy burgers. Or, at least an inspiration beyond a pink middle and juices flowing.
posted by noaccident at 9:06 AM on December 19, 2012


Honest Burgers is great as far is burgers go, but there fries are something else entirely - some sort of rosemary salt / pcp dusting on them and SWEET GOD DAMN. First time I've ever come outa that sort of place raving about the fries rather than the burger.

Meat Liquor is fully ace also, although again the chilli cheese fries - a staggeringly tasty plate bigger than your head for a fiver - almost outshine the burgers themselves.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]



The Manchester confidential page contains two of the things that annoy me most in restaurant reviews - It doesn't actually tell you all the main ingredients used (just the ones the reviewer thinks are worth mentioning) and it has no prices. No prices means its basically useless. I can get you some good eats in any city in the world if you aren't interested in prices...
posted by samworm at 9:12 AM on December 19, 2012


This is a relatively new phenomenon, isn't it? I spent a season in England 6 years ago and couldn't find a decent (let alone "gourmet") burger for love nor money.

That's about right yes. The first GBK opened in 2001 but it was quite out of the way, I think the trend really exploded around when they opened their restaurant in central London (near Leicester Square maybe?).
posted by atrazine at 9:14 AM on December 19, 2012


Yes, Honest Burgers have without a doubt the best burgers and chips I have ever tasted, whether in the UK or US. Hache is a mere upstart compared to Honest Burgers. GBK? Pshaw - they barely deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.
posted by adrianhon at 9:19 AM on December 19, 2012


NO. NO. If it's anything that American cuisine knows what to do, it's ground beef, from burgers to meatloaf. Yes, I maintain you can do meatloaf well. I make a mean meatloaf.

Two onions, diced
Bell peppers, either fresh or frozen
2 or so pounds of ground beef
2 or three eggs
Cup of bread crumbs, preferably the Italian flavor of whatever you use
*and!* Cup of oatmeal, the proper steel-cut ones. (I resolve the oatmeal v. bread crumb debate by using both: provides the proper moisture and texture ratio.)
Pepper, lots of it, since you're using 2 or so pounds of beef.
Salt (only a quarter-size worth, you probably have way too much sodium in your diet. A little goes a long way.)

Mix with clean bare hands. Form into a loaf.

Top with sauce:

Ketchup
Powder mustard
Three spoons of brown sugar
A dash of water

Blend sauce with a fork and pour over loaf; feel free to make as much sauce as needed.

Cook at 375 degrees F for 1 hour and fifteen minutes.

There, is how you have proper meatloaf.
posted by lineofsight at 9:20 AM on December 19, 2012


This is a relatively new phenomenon, isn't it? I spent a season in England 6 years ago and couldn't find a decent (let alone "gourmet") burger for love nor money.

The changes in the food scene just since I first landed in London in 2008 have been so radical that anyone who hasn't been to London in the past few years cannot really offer an informed opinion on London food. It's been a good thing, mostly. Britain has always had amazing, fresh food and, combined with everything from nearby Europe, has had no excuse really. Suddenly, the cooking is coming up to par with the quality of the ingredients.
posted by vacapinta at 9:32 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is interesting and also I'm going to go get a burger now so thanks for that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:34 AM on December 19, 2012


Wordshore: "Note to Happy Dave - Edinburgh != Glasgow either..."

Ah, fair point, the lone not-Glasgow review I didn't spot. Never mind.

Can highly recommend Wannaburger for not-too-wanky burgers - they're just really well made and consistent, along the lines of Shake Shack and Five Guys.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:43 AM on December 19, 2012


I had a really excellent burger at Bukowski Grill in Brixton Market Hall. (Honest Burger was closed the day we tried to go there). The triple-fried beef tallow chips and Dunkerton's Black Fox were also stellar. I haven't found any reviews online that match up with my experience, but they are mostly from the Shoreditch pop-up it seems. Anyway, it was one of the best burgers I've had recently, and here in Oakland we have many really good burgers. Next time we're in London I'm looking forward to trying some of these other places.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:44 AM on December 19, 2012


So, the first "burger" featured (in the first link) is...pork and sausage? With a topping of pulled pork?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:51 AM on December 19, 2012


Strange.
This seems to imply that I should eat something other than cod and chips when I visit the motherland.

Thus, I reject it unreservedly.
posted by madajb at 9:52 AM on December 19, 2012


The problem I had with burgers when I lived in London (2009-10) wasn't how gourmet they were, it was with the beef itself. Outside of an outstanding piece of wagyu I had at a sushi restaurant, all of the beef I ate in England was just not very good (or at least not to my taste preference, being a native Texan). I never had a single burger I enjoyed, in fact most were pretty off-putting, and that was the first thing I usually ate when visiting Texas. The dairy in England, however... I far prefer the flavor of the milk, butter, and cheese in England over America. I still miss Borough market. I don't know if it's in the way the respective cow products are processed in either country, but my palate has developed a simplistic view of cows:

Union Jack Cow: meat -- / milk ++
Stars and Stripes Cow: meat ++ / milk --
posted by blendor at 10:24 AM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


@whuppy yeah, pretty recent.

I'm told the gourmet burger thing isn't all that old in New York either. I spent a while finding my favourite there and eventually settled on the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridian (www). I like that place because of its atmosphere and straight up, no effort, just nice burgers. I also like JG Melon and the Corner Bistro. Plus Jimmys in Brooklyn.

In London my new favourite is Dirty Burger (www) after deciding that Meat Liquor is all hype. I like Dirty Burger because it reminds me of the Burger Joint and I dislike Meat Liquor because it tries to hard. Thats actually what annoys me the most about these new gourmet burger places in England. It feels to me that they're trying too hard to be a trendy hipster New York place. And having been to those places in New York, which don't seem to me to be trying too hard or very hipster - it just gets on my nerve.

The London chain of Byron burgers is worth a mention. If only because I had a good chat with a Brazillian chap in the Angel branch.

This week I'm in Paris, which has terrible and surprisingly expensive burgers. Yet young Parisians seem to love them.

I'm back in Manchester next week and I might try an Almost Famous burger. Some people I follow on twitter who think they know about food after watching some Gordon Ramsey on the television rant and rave about it. Actually so much that, that also annoys me lol
posted by 13twelve at 10:36 AM on December 19, 2012


Thinking about it, I've had that many burgers from that many places and right now they all just seem to me to be - well - just a fucking burger.

Good job I've started eating Tacos instead...
posted by 13twelve at 10:36 AM on December 19, 2012


In Amsterdam there's the Burger Bar which does high end (well, for Amsterdam) burgers. They're about the best burgers I've ever eaten, but when it's largely been either Burger King or pub burgers I've had that's not necessarily saying much.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:08 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've eaten many of these, in search of the best burger including the monstrosity in the video link.

There are a lot of better burgers missing from the shortlist article.
Young and Foodish is a pretty good link for the best of London burgers.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:08 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm all for gourmet burger places, but I'm tired of how ubiquitous they've become in higher-end restaurants (in the US especially, though I've seen it in the UK and Australia) -- and looking around a restaurant and seeing half the customers eating them instead of the vastly more interesting and creative things on offer. Every chef I know hates serving them (I know some who just refuse to do it, even though they know they lose customers and money), but they do it to attract customers who a) are tight wads, and/or b) have the palate of 12 year old.

I say, if you're going to a nice restaurant, spend the extra $10 and take a chance on something new and original.
posted by retrograde at 12:11 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


MartinWisse: "In Amsterdam there's the Burger Bar which does high end (well, for Amsterdam) burgers."
Thanks, bookmarked for my next visit. I only knew of one good restaurant in Amsterdam, so it's nice to expand the options :)
posted by brokkr at 1:57 PM on December 19, 2012


If you’re after a little more kick – and they like the look of you – the coarse chilli jam is the business.

So, salsa?

Also: it's worth noting that these are all gourmet burgers. Does the UK have any burger joints/pubs/whatever where you can go and get a fairly nice burger and fries for, say, under ten pounds? And how do they compare to the well-loved In-n-Out (again, for the category of 'better than McDonalds but not as good as a steak house')?
posted by librarylis at 2:33 PM on December 19, 2012


librarylis, there are a fair few British pub chains that do decent burgers, but apart from All Bar One, pubs in the UK tend to go by the name of the pub rather than the name of the format they belong to. I can tell you that Ember Inns pubs do decent burgers, but most people who go to The Bell near my parents' couldn't tell you that's an M&B pub in the Ember Inns format (of which there are 200, doing reliably nice food at a decent price - £7 for a burger & no tip needed). And Greene King have the Proper Pubs format, which has a menu cooked mainly on site and is also fresh and tasty, but I have to look very hard to find that my nearby pub The Westgate is part of that pub scheme.

It's kind of the antithesis of branding. But yes, you can get decent burgers for £6-9 in the UK. And some pub chains, like Wetherspoons serve sub-Burger King quality fare, certainly as far as burgers are concerned.
posted by ambrosen at 3:33 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Would just like to give GBK a quick shoeing, seeing as they've been mentioned. Burgers are just about ok, portions are unendearingly ungenerous (oh my! A tiny tin bucket with four chips in!) and prices are far too high for what they're selling. It feels like the absolute archetype of what was wrong with Brit attempts to do American-diner type food before we started doing things better these last few years.

(would maybe put Byron somewhere in this category too, though that might be a bit harsh)
posted by ominous_paws at 12:16 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would just like to give GBK a quick shoeing, seeing as they've been mentioned. Burgers are just about ok, portions are unendearingly ungenerous (oh my! A tiny tin bucket with four chips in!) and prices are far too high for what they're selling. It feels like the absolute archetype of what was wrong with Brit attempts to do American-diner type food before we started doing things better these last few years.

To be fair, it's NZ style food rather than American. Or so the guys who started it claim anyway.
posted by atrazine at 2:10 AM on December 20, 2012


Ah, yes. Unfortunately their lime milkshakes are also pretty blah.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:28 AM on December 20, 2012


Oh hey, I did not realize that there were pub chains (somehow I thought they were all independent--and all called 'the Nelson Arms' or 'the Parson's Pint' or what have you). The menus at those pubs look pretty non-gourmet, if not quite what I was thinking of. Fascinating to learn about--thank you, ambrosen!

(I have actually been to an English pub or two, mind, but clearly I wasn't paying sufficient attention to their branding. Also I had fish and chips because, of course.)
posted by librarylis at 10:50 AM on December 20, 2012


« Older Gigapixel image of the Khumbu Glacier and Mount Ev...   |   "So his view of what’s going o... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments