29 July 2013

The Burger Bulletin: Giant Robot Review

Update (2015): Giant Robot is no more, although a similarly New York-inspired restaurant, The Fourteenth Colonie, now occupies the same site.

Giant Robot, in Clerkenwell, is sort of on my way home from work, but is just that bit too far east along the Clerkenwell Road for me to get there and back in a lunchtime. Every time I walk past on a weekday evening, the place is rammed, with the sidewalk tables filled and a buzzy atmosphere inside. It's a quieter affair at the weekend, but that's Clerkenwell for you.

Giant Robot, Clerkenwell.

I went today for a girls' brunch and there were enough other people to give it some ambiance, but not so many that we were hurried out of the door; far from it, in fact, as we lingered for almost three hours over our food. With its casual, all-day-dining vibe, Giant Robot has a very New Yorky feel — I could easily see it in Nolita — and the menu is mainly American with dollop of Italian.

At the weekend, brunch is served from 10 until 3, and I ordered a bottomless coffee while I perused the menu. I was tempted by a dish that isn't on the online brunch menu: I think it involved scrambled eggs, as well as avocado, tomato, bacon and sourdough. That felt like the brunchier option, but then there was the burger. The Rotary burger, specifically, Rotary Bar & Diner being a sister restaurant to Giant Robot. The reason this attracted my attention was that at Disco Bistro N1C the other week, the burgerista had mentioned Disco Bistro were collaborating with Rotary. I don't know if this means that the Giant Robot burger is also a Disco Bistro burger, but decided to order it anyway.

The burger came medium rare, with cheese and grilled onions. The burger itself ("rare-breed beef") was great: juicy and flavoursome, although just on the more medium side of medium rare. The fries were a little less exciting and ever so slightly soggy. Overall, though, I'd recommend the burger, and I'm keen to try out the sliders and meatballs that are available on the main menu. My brunch companions went for the veggie brunch (with bacon), which also looked good; the portions were pretty generous.

Giant Robot is also open for drinks and nibbles (cicchetti) and the cocktail menu impressed be both with its design and its contents. Yes, a return visit is definitely in order.

Giant Robot. 45 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RS (Tube: Farringdon). Website. Twitter.

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