Murray Blake

London food and coffee writer

The Draft House

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206-208 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP
Nearest tube: London Bridge
020 7378 9995
The Draft House Pub on Urbanspoon

There is a lot of online debate about who invented the hamburger: the most credible source I can find claims it originated from the Mongols who stashed raw beef under their saddles and over time the meat became tender enough to eat raw.  Many decades later as world trade routes expanded the idea was exported to Hamburg and the canny Germans decided to heat the meat up to make it easier to digest.  Many American towns on the Eastern seaboard lay claim to the first hamburger in a bun, and the folklore features many good ol’ American characters like Louis “Lunch” Lassen (New Haven, Connecticut), “Hamburger” Charlie Nagreen (Seymour, Wisconsin) and the Menches brothers (Hamburg, New York).  But it is very hard to trace the origin of a dish as simple and superfluous as a hamburger.  It is, however, much easier to trace the origins of the recent hamburger boom in London – the day, almost five years ago, when a canny entrepreneur called Tom Byng opened the first Byron Burger.  His restaurants raised the bar in terms of meat sourcing and cooking, also adding a bit of style to the mix.

The burger trend has spread far and wide in the London restaurant scene and is now also improving the quality of pub food.  The Draft House chain is famous for its burgers with the esteemed Jay Rayner having paid them a visit a couple of years ago.  They now boast five branches which all focus on proper beer and decent pub grub.  At Tower Bridge they have around 20 beers on tap ranging from continental weissbiers to British porters and bitters.  The clientele were a mix of office workers and students/creative types – the atmosphere was very congenial but it was certainly not buzzing on a wet Tuesday night.

The menu is short, boasting pub grub classics like fish and chips and macaroni cheese.  There are three kinds of beef burger and I opted for “The Poke” (£9.75).  It is a 8oz burger with Crushed Bird’s Eye Chillis, Old Amsterdam Cheese and an Onion Ring.  I was asked how I wanted it cooked and it arrived medium rare as requested.  The burger was encased in a slighly sweet seaseme seed bun and nicely topped off by the rich mature Dutch cheese.  In fact, I actually preferred my burger to the “Mo” I had at Byron – the meat had stronger seasoning and was nicely married with the sweet sticky bun.  My onion rings were equally pleasing, coming in a light tempura-esque batter and they had certainly been cooked in fresh oil.
The Draft House has a fantastic range of ales, continental and craft beers – their burgers are cooked to order using good quality ingredients and the rest of their small menu looks very tasty.
Food 2.5/5
Atmosphere 3/5
Service 2/5
Value 4/5

Also see: thecriticalcouple, burger feast by Burger Me! and GET FORKED!.


Author: murraycsblake

London food blogger.

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