“Good lord, this was a wet and sloppy delight – I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.” Samphire & Salsify
Patty & Bun, purveyors of the best burgers in London, opened a second site near Liverpool Street in the spring of last year. The small restaurant is just round the corner from the station entrance and is more geared towards takeaway customers than their original perma-rammed James St. site. Their menu offers 3 beefburgers (£7.5-8.5) along with chicken and veggie options, as well as a daily burger special. And in effort to cater to hungover city boys they have also branched out into breakfast burgers – with P&B bacon, sausage and veggie rolls (£4).
I couldn’t resist the “smoke cheese everyday” (£11.5) special of a beef patty, packed with bacon, green chilli relish, chipotle ketchup, smoked cheese mayo and smoked cheddar. The bun was the usual (and now much copied) P&B glazed brioche effort – it was slightly sweet, nicely sticky and did a great job of holding all the components together. The highlight of the condiments was the smoked cheese mayo (they make the mayo in-house and keep their recipes a closely guarded secret) – it was decadently rich and a perfect texture, being thick but still runny enough to integrate with the juicy burger. Chips were cut medium-thick and served skin-on with rosemary salt – they were definitely freshly prepared and nicely crispy, the hints of potato skin adding good texture.
For me, the burger was exemplary – the meat was moist, well-seasoned and full of character. The general consensus still seems to be that P&B serve up the best burgers in London, although there has been some debate about the Liverpool St branch doing some sneaky pre-cooking (explained by the management as holding burgers in a thermodyne). You should also note that whilst you can sit in at P&B Liverpool St it is not a place to linger – the few high seats and tables are not very comfortable and we were politely but swiftly told to sling our hook as soon as our final morsel of food was dispatched……this is proper fast food.
Verdict: bring a bib 9/10
“Five Guys fails at EVERYTHING it attempts to be. Like many of my compatriots, my overwhelming feeling after leaving Five Guys was that I had just been on the receiving end of a lot of broken promises.” fatmanclaphand
Five Guys is an American burger franchise (think of a slightly posher McDonald’s) that first came to London a couple of years ago and now has 8 outlets across the capital and 16 in the rest of the country. The Five Guys moniker comes from the founders Janie and Jerry Murrell who had four sons when the company was formed in 1986; another son arrived two years later and all five are currently involved in the business. I went along to the flagship Covent Garden branch which opened on the 4th of July (when else?) 2013 when London was going burger crazy – initially the queues were long and the reviews lukewarm, but the hype has now died down and I only needed to wait about 10 minutes for my meal on a Saturday lunchtime.
The burger was a very flat, fairly dry affair – it was cooked through and a bit underseasoned, especially compared to the highly salted chips. They offer a good range of toppings and I opted for grilled onions (which were undercooked and not quite caramelised enough), green peppers (decent) and relish (slightly sweet but with a nice gooey texture). The roll was heavily seeded and quite dense/bready, but looked rather sad and collapsed after it’s imprisonment in silver foil.
I opted for “small” fries which were jammed into a small cup and then placed into a paper bag into which another shovelful of fries was liberally sprinkled – this would have been enough for two and despite my best attempts I couldn’t finish them. The origin of the potatoes used for the fries is displayed on a whiteboard which is a nice little touch and the Dutch potatoes used for my fries had a bit of character – they were moist and well coloured. Novelties for London customers will be the unlimited soft drinks refills (a dentists nightmare which is common in the US) and the wide range of extra toppings which can be added in any quantity for no extra cost.
Verdict: an unremarkable and overpriced burger 5/10