24 January 2014

Bex's Guide to London: Top Ten Burgers

I've been doing the research for my London city guide posts at night; preparing my list of top ten coffee bars didn't make me crave caffeine, but considering all of my favourite burgers is making me hungry. A few years ago, I might have struggled to put together a list of ten places in London that serve really great burgers, and although New York it ain't, the Big Smoke has plenty to offer hamburgerologists these days. Here are some of my top choices.

Bleecker St Burger (various locations). This awesome little van serves up fantastic cheeseburgers and you can have sweet potato fries as well as regular fries. The service is efficient and the burgers are juicy and only £5.50. Luckily for me, they're often parked at KERB at King's Cross on Friday lunchtimes, but you can also catch them at Hawker House and other events requiring street food around the city. ReviewWebsite. Twitter.

Honest Burgers (King's Cross). It was an exciting day when I glimpsed the Honest Burgers branding on the Pentonville Road near King's Cross and realised that one of my favourite burgers in town was within lunching distance of my office. I've already been to the new branch several times. Even their veggie burger is good enough to tempt me, but honestly, just go for the Honest Burger with smoked bacon and cheddar. It'll set you back £9.50 but delicious rosemary salt chips are included; forks aren't. 251 Pentonville Road. Review (of the Soho branch). Website. Twitter.

Patty & Bun (Marylebone). Patty & Bun won the best new burger category in my London food and drink awards last year, and their Smokey Robinson burger with bacon, cheese, caramelised onions and smokey mayo is epic. Flavoursome, juicy and well worth the queue — which can be just as epic. The Smokey Robinson is £8.50, not including fries. P&B also get bonus points for their amazing peanut butter choc ices. 54 James Street. Review. Website. Twitter.

Dirty Burger (Vauxhall). I was so pleased to see a great burger brand make it onto the right (south) side of the river, although the arches under the London Bridge train tracks would have been preferable for this south-east Londoner. There are only a few seats in Dirty Burger's Vauxhall outpost, so grab one if you can and enjoy your juicy, drippy cheeseburger, which costs £5.50. The crinkle-cut fries are also excellent. Dirty, but very nice. Arch 54, 6 South Lambeth Road. Review. Website. Twitter.

Meat Liquor (Marylebone). Meat Liquor was one of the early adopters in the London burger Renaissance, and a long queue often tails out of the back of its Marylebone home, nestled between a car park and a strip club. It's dark and loud inside, and the burgers are top notch. I like the bacon cheeseburger best (£8) but when I've been exceptionally hungry and haven't ordered any sides, I've managed most of a Dead Hippie (£8.50): two patties and Dead Hippie sauce. Their cocktails are also great. Review. Website. Twitter.

Shake Shack (Covent Garden). The only place to appear on both my London and New York burger favourites, Shake Shack just knows its stuff when it comes to burgers. Happily, none of the successful formula was lost on the journey across the Atlantic. There is often a queue, but it moves pretty swiftly and there are plenty of places to sit in Covent Garden if the weather is clement. I usually order the Shack Burger (£5), a cheeseburger with ShackSauce, but sometimes upgrade to the Smoke Shack (£6.50), which also has smoked bacon and cherry pepper. Unsurprisingly, the shakes are top notch here too. 24 Market Building, The Piazza. Review. Website. Twitter.

Disco Bistro (TBC). Disco Bistro had a residency at the roller rink that was in King's Cross over the summer, where I tried the Roller Disco Burger, with cheese, bun sauce, bacon jam and pineapple. A quirky combination, but a very delicious one. At £10 (including fries), it was a little on the pricey side for what was essentially glorified street food, but it was so juicy and flavoursome, if more than a little messy. They are currently in the process of finding a permanent home, so stay tuned! Review. WebsiteTwitter.

Burger & Lobster (Soho). Easily the most expensive burger on the list, at £20 for a burger and fries, I had to include Burger & Lobster in this list because it was a great burger. Not as good value as the £20 lobster and fries, perhaps, although you do get bacon and cheese on your burger (if you want) and a hefty salad. The burger was huge, juicy and meaty, and the bacon was perfectly crispy. The main problem is the crazy queue length, so try going early or the the Farringdon branch, which is more boookable. 36 Dean Street. Review. Website. Twitter.

Grillshack (Soho). I knew I would like Grillshack as soon as I spied their signage on Beak Street before they opened last autumn, and I wasn't wrong. They have all of these technology quirks (ordering from your iPhone, and so on), but the burgers are really good and very reasonably priced, at only £7.95 for a pulled pork burger — and, because this isn't always true, yes, that does mean a burger with pulled pork on top. Good sides too. There are plans for more branches too. 61–63 Beak Street. ReviewWebsiteTwitter.

Tommi's Burger Joint (Marylebone). Tommi's has moved down the block since I reviewed the Icelandic burger joint soon after they opened in 2012, but not much has changed. D├ęcor-wise, it's sort of hipster greasy spoon meets Ikea. I usually order the cheeseburger (£6.50), which is oozey and delicious, but you can go posh and have a steak burger for £8.90. A good choice if you're in Marylebone and can't face the 90-minute wait at Meat Liquor. 30 Thayer Street. Review. Website. Twitter.

Part 1: Top 10 London coffee bars
Part 3: Top 10 London cocktails
Part 4: Mapping my London food and drink favourites

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