Thursday, July 8, 2010

Finally, London Gets A Decent Burger

Burgers have a bad reputation in London, deservedly so, and most of the ones I've tried there are pretty awful. That is, until Byron Proper Hamburgers came along and upended the game.

I was shooting a short job at Christie's London last week when an assistant at the auction house gave me a great tip on a burger. She was so effusive about this burger that I had to go and check it out.

We hit their Soho location and found an airy sitdown restaurant with a casual-hip crowd of 20-something Londoners. They were all drinking and eating burgers and I easily could have been at a new spot in Brooklyn had it not been for the British accent surrounding me.

I was shocked to find out that Byron serves Dixie Beer! I had not seen that in a while and found out why - turns out the brewery in New Orleans closed after Katrina and a brewer in England (?) is now making the beer under contract. It's a damn good drinkin' beer and I had another.

I ordered the Byron Burger which came with Byron sauce. The waiter was quick to tell me it was basically Thousand Island dressing which is what I suspected even before the burger hit my table.

If you go by the photo of the burger on their website you'd probably stay away. The bun looks like a dusty paving stone and the vegetables have no color. Thankfully, MY photo above is the real thing and it was damn good. Of course I pulled the goofy veggies off and the burger, cooked on an indoor flame, was pink inside. That's right, with the fears of Mad Cow now many years behind them, the Brits have finally stopped incinerating their burgers. The waiter told me that the beef comes to them from small farm grass-fed cattle in the Scottish Highlands. I'm not a fan of the taste of grass-fed beef but this was some of the tastiest I've had. Cheese and bacon completed the flavor profile and the bun was actually very soft.

So thank you Euthumia (Thymmie) from Christie's London for being the only person in that country to steer me in the right direction.