Sunday, 13 January 2013

Patty & Bun

The burger craze that has taken London by storm has been around for so long that I can’t remember when it started. Did it start with Meat Wagon, the burger truck that became Meat Liquor? And what’s the appeal of a Burger anyway? The staple of fast food menus, made of sub standard ingredients: dubious meat, limp vegetables, artificial cheese and soggy bread, thrown together by minimum wage workers and offering nothing nutritious but calories. All this is true until you encounter a great burger that makes you grab it tightly between your hands and open wide, wide enough so that you get all the layers into your mouth. I’ve had my fair share of burgers in London, from the dirty (Meat Liquor) to the fancy (THE Foie Gras Truffle Burger Bar Boulud used to serve), and a tasty burger is just as fulfilling to me as a fancy tasting menu at a Michelin starred restaurant. Why? Because “Burger and Fries” is the kind of comfort food that you know isn’t great for you but find irresistible, every bite induces a mixture of sinful guilt and heavenly satisfaction, because when it’s done right, a burger just hits the spot.

My recent visit to new burger joint Patty & Bun was a completely new experience; there was all the satisfaction but none of the guilt. Despite its fastfood-esque presentation: wrapped in paper and presented on a plastic tray along with the rest of our order, it couldn’t be further from the atrocities found in fast food chains. There was a flashback to Christmas as I excitedly unwrapped the paper revealing a shiny bun and layers upon layers of scrumptious and fresh looking ingredients. As I pulled the paper away from the burger, a bit of melted cheese gets caught on the paper and forms a lingering cheese string, teasing me for a bite. I bit into my Smokey Robinson and I instantly fell in love with it. There was a subtle hint of smokiness, nothing artificial or overwhelming. The P&B mayo is creamy but light with a bit of tanginess, the bread soft and the veg as fresh as they looked, with the crispness of the lettuce being particularly impressive. The patty is cooked to medium rare, just the way I like my meat and was bursting with flavour and juice. Add to that caramelised onions that brought sweetness, cheese and bacon and you have what I would say is the best burger London has to offer right now.

And the greatness doesn’t stop there. We ordered a rum punch, tropical and refreshing with pineapple and lemonade flavours. The fries were hand cut and cooked with rosemary, they were crispy but I would have preferred more seasoning (maybe optional garlic salt on the side?) The coleslaw was initially disappointing: just shredded cabbage and carrots, (no mayo, I think); but after eating it with a mouthful of burger, I came to appreciate it’s simplicity and its acidity cut through the creaminess of the mayo, making the burger lighter and healthier tasting. But the side that deserves crowning glory is the chicken wings. It came out smothered in a dark as black sauce and topped with spring onions, but don’t let its unassuming (even slightly unattractive) appearance fool you. Slow cooked till the meat falls off the bone, this is chicken getting The Rib Treatment. The flavour was interesting too, not your standard BBQ sauce, it was more intense, more flavoursome. I could have easily had the whole pot of 6 to myself.

I liked the no frills décor: just simple wood tables, hanging bulbs and a few posters. Service was great, the waitresses were friendly and we got our food quickly. We finished off a great meal with peanut butter ice cream bars. Like everything else, while it tasted good, I didn’t feel like I was eating synthetic food, P&B does real food and they do it well. Looking to the left and right of our table, I caught glimpses of the Jose Jose Chilli Burger and the Lambshank Redemption Burger, both looked mouth-wateringly good. As we left, a large queue of hungry diners waited outside in the freezing cold. Is it worth waiting? Yes! But with a takeaway option, I wouldn’t mind buying it and eating it outside. I’ve found my Burger in P&B, I intend to make it my regular spot. 

Patty and Bun on Urbanspoon

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