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1 August 2012

The Burger Bulletin: A Return to Karpo

I reviewed Karpo, a creative new restaurant with locavore leanings opposite King's Cross station, soon after it opened, back in February. I enjoyed my meal and although I have been back once more for dinner and numerous times for brownies, pastries and other sweet meats, I only recently tested out their burger. This is partly because the burger is only available at brunch/lunchtime and partly because it used to come with a fried egg and Gruyère cheese and although I could have ordered it au naturel, I don't like to do that when you are asking for a substantial proportion of the ingredients to be removed.

Anyway, the word on the street was that the burgers were good so we went back for lunch last week. For £9, you can have a "Karpo grass-fed beef burger, pickles & chips" and for an extra quid, you can add (Gruyère de) Comté, streaky bacon or a fried egg. Streaky bacon is one of my weaknesses but I like it really well done, whereas I prefer my burgers to be at most medium rare. Bearing this in mind, I should have given the bacon a miss and focused on getting a perfectly medium-rare burger. Instead, I took a risk and asked for a medium-rare burger with well-done bacon; I did emphasise the discrepancy but was told I had been understood.

Karpo's burger: must try harder

When my burger arrived, then, and it was almost immediately obvious that my burger was not medium rare, I was a little disappointed. Further investigation showed that even in the centre, the meat was medium to medium well. At no point was it medium rare. The meat itself was still really tasty and quite juicy despite its over-cooking. I did flag the problem to the waiter but as time was the essence and the burger was still fine to eat, I didn't send it back. On the bright side, the fries and garlic mayo were really nice and the bacon was cooked to my requirements.

I have by no means scratched Karpo off my burger bulletin yet. Next time, I might avoid any potential scope for ambiguity and leave the bacon out of the equation. The other food I've ordered at Karpo--the omelette, something with North African influence and, especially, the cakes--has been really good and it is a lovely restaurant. It's just a shame that for someone like me, a burger can make a break or place, so let's hope that next time Karpo takes it up a notch or two.

Karpo. 23 Euston Road, London, NW1 2SB (Tube: King's Cross). Website. Twitter.

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