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Burgers

A long time ago now, three wise and sassy ladies made an almighty pilgrimage towards the bustling metropolis of London following the smell of bacon, cheese and brioche.  They swapped camels for the tube, sumptuous cloaks for jeans and battled heavy crowds to pay homage to a newly released burger.  Crowded around a table they stared at what was promised to be the saviour to their hunger.  After taking photos which were later destined to be Insta-hits, they lifted up the precious bundle and cooed in awe before taking a massive bite.

Ohhhh yes, me and my fellow burger fiends celebrated Cheesemas this year in the spirit of all things meaty.  If you’re not familiar with this new term, Byron Burger release a particularly cheesy burger every year with this years offering being the Holy Cheesemas with four different kinds of cheese – mature Cheddar, American, Monterey Jack and Red Leicester – as well as bacon, red onion, pickles and Cheesemas sauce.  Did I mention the two patties?  

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Now, I’m not going to lie to you, the Holy Cheesemas is not the best burger I have ever had the pleasure to eat, but it is pretty darn good.  The meat is cooked to a pink medium rare (unless you ask otherwise) and the bun maintains its integrity under the weight of the filling which is always good, but the patties could do with a more something, something, you know what I mean?  Well, I’m assuming you do anyway.

Aside from our burgers, we went all out and ordered chips, courgette fries and mac n’ cheese as well as two blue cheese dips to finish the cheese board of dairy goodness available.  I’m a big fan of courgette fries because I like to pretend to myself that they’re healthier than normal chips – they probably aren’t – and the Byron ones are pretty great as they aren’t too heavily battered.

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We left Bryon with stomachs and hearts full, ready to spread the word of the burger gospel.

Rejoice!  Christmas may be gone, but Cheesemas is still here.

Is there anything better than diving into a plate of food, hands first and coming out with ketchup smeered on your cheek?    While I love going to restaurants where you’re presented with a plethora of cutlery and plates of food which could win the Turner prize, getting back to basics just feels so right.  For me, the messier the meal, the more I enjoy it so when I realised that there was a Dirty Burger shack in Vauxhall which is only a couple of stops away from my flat, I just had to go.  

P1020174After a day at work, the hunger was real, so we all decided to go for the special burg which not only had a pattie, but also had pulled pork, cheese, pickles and BBQ sauce slathered on it.  Are you dribbling yet…?  Because I am. 

Now, Dirty Burgers live up to their name and come hot, sweaty and juicy which doesn’t make for the most attractive of photos but believe me, this was special.  We all made noises which are usually relegated to the bedroom when unwrapping our meaty packages.

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Crinkle chips and onion fries accompanied our feast

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Look guys, I never said it was going to be pretty

So dirty it’s almost criminal, these burgers are undeniably great and the added bonus of pulled pork was a bit of a game changer in my eyes.  Their crinkle chips are crispy and airy, just how I like a thick chip while Rachel couldn’t stop raving about the onion fries which came with a heavy golden brown batter.  Dirty Burger have four locations over London (and 1 in America) so you’re never too far from getting your hands dirty.  Check out their website here and while you’re aimlessly surfing the tinternet in search of #burgerporn, how about checking about the website for Suitcase magazine which I’m interning at until the end of December here!

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On Sunday morning my friends and I woke up to a grey sky hanging over the London skyline.  Not allowing our rain drenched coats to dampen our spirits, we made our way towards the Southbank centre for the Easter Weekend food festival.

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When visiting a food festival, there are a few rules to remember, first of all it’s important to not get overexcited.  Make at least one loop round all the stalls before deciding what you’re going to eat.  You’ll be sorely disappointed if you plump for the first stall selling a pulled pork burger when there are 10 others around the corner selling delicious melt-in-the-mouth salt beef sandwiches.  Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach either.  While we’d all love to be able to fit in one of everything, you’ll eventually get full, so be realistic!  If you’re anything like me, you will have researched which stalls were going to be attending and semi-decided before you’ve even got there – sad, I know.

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So after leisurely making the rounds around the Southbank, I had my heart set on a burger from the Bleecker Street Van which is currently enjoying a residency on the riverbank opposite the skatepark.  I opted for a single cheeseburger (medium rare) with some angry fries.

The burger was absolutely delicious, with the cheese melted to perfection and the burger sauce tangy, while the bun could have been left to toast for a little bit longer I really could not fault this burger any further than that.  In fact, I wish I had gone for the double (I was trying to exercise some self-restraint)!  The angry fries were a revelation in themselves.  Cheesy, spicy, AND crispy; what more could you possibly want?!  I’m definitely going to be trying to recreate these at home with some Franks Hot Sauce!  My meal costs £9 which I thought was good value for the quality of the meat and tastiness of the food in general, so I would definitely head back (in fact, I did today when I visited the Hayward gallery – oops!) 

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We all had a great time at the food fest and waddled our way over to the TATE Modern where we spent more time laughing and being giddy then we did appreciating any of the art (IS THAT KANYE WEST?!)!  

One day we’ll grow up…maybe…probably not though…

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You may not know it yet, but I am on a quest to find London’s best burger.  

Having already ventured to the city’s newest transatlantic imports, Five Guys and Shake Shack with Emily and Rachel who have been my two faithful companions in this taxing but necessary mission,  it was time for us to try something a little more homegrown.

Behold Patty & Bun!

The legend that is P&B began as a pop-up restaurant, with locations in Soho and Battersea helping them gain a cult-like following.  After giving it’s loyal followers the run around, P&B finally put it’s roots down on James Street, just behind Selfridges making it the perfect destination for a mid-day shopping break.

This foodie destination is no well kept secret on the artisan burger scene – yes, there is such a scene – so it was no surprise to me to see a queue of eager patrons waiting to be ushered inside the little red door when I arrived.  After a quick half hour wait, we were beckoned inside.  The decor in Patty & Bun is eclectic with recycled tables, classroom style chairs and kooky cardboard canvas art hanging on whitewash walls.  We were lucky enough to be protected by the one and only BURGERMAN while we ate!  To food coma and beyond!  

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After marvelling at the Dr Marten wearing Burgerman, we all took to the serious business of deciding what we were going to eat.  I like a menu which is compact, there are two reasons for this.  First of all, I am one of those annoying people who can never decide what she wants and I always end up going round the table and asking everyone else what they’re going to have before finally making a snap decision when the server arrives; so the smaller the menu, the less I worry.  And secondly, whenever I see a huge 20 page list of the food on offer I can’t help but think back to Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and question how can they cook all these meals from fresh so quick?! So when I saw that Patty & Bun’s menu only fit on one page and remembered their dedication to finding the best of British, I was ready to dive straight in to a meatalicious taste experience.

I went for the classic Ari Gold burger, while Emily, Rachel and James (Emily’s boyfriend who had joined us on our journey) decided on the Smokey Robinson burger.  Of course, a burger is nothing without a few sides, so we all decided to share two portions of Winger Winger Chicken Dinner wings and Rosemary Salt Chips.  Now that is what I call a meat feast.  

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Unwrapping this package was like Christmas day all over again…

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Emily’s Smokey Robinson

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All the burgers are cooked to medium rare perfection so they arrive deliciously pink in the middle and so tasty that each one is the definition of that ever popular Instagram tag #foodporn.  Infact, the burgers are so tasty that I committed the food bloggers cardinal sin and forgot to take a photo, don’t hate me.

I was a little skeptical of the rosemary salt chips at first and although they’re not as good as Five Guys’ Cajun Salt version in my opinion, these babies are still worth a taste.  The wings however, are an absolute triumph.  The meat comes straight off the bone and the sauce makes them literally finger lickin’ good  order a portion, you will not regret it.

I’m going to go out on a whim here and say that Patty & Bun has just edged infront of Five Guys in the burger stakes – which are obviously quite high – because of the deliciousness of the pattie, the price of the food and of course, the heavenly chicken wings.

When it comes to Patty & Bun, you better believe the hype.  

Have you been before?  What did you think?

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