The gourmet burger trend is something that really took off in London in 2012, not being a great burger fanatic I didn’t really get massively involved. My adventures into the burger world went as far as going to GBK (there’s a restaurant directly opposite my office) for a naughty lunch occasionally when they had a voucher on, and I’ve stopped doing that because they’ve taken all the good bits off the menu and the food’s gone really downhill. Not really inspired by my somewhat limited experiences of burger restaurants I hadn’t really bothered to try out any of the other offerings popping up all over the city, until Thursday that is…
When all the trains at Liverpool Street had come to a standstill with no sign of movement or any info as to when there might be, unwilling to remain being squashed and shoved about by angry commuters for hours my Dad and I decided to escape and go and get something to eat. I don’t really know the area around Liverpool St very well so we ventured out and just started to walk down the main road hoping not to have to go to far so we could get back to the station easily later on. It all began looking very unpromising as every pub was rammed, the likes of La Tasca and Pizza Express had queues out the door and the majority of establishments serving food came with hefty price tags and swanky dress codes (I wear jeans and converse to work, I hardly fitted in). Eventually heading down towards Spitalfields we came across the shining beacon of hope that was Byron… and they had free tables!
When the waitress came to seat us wearing a checked shirt and high tops I felt much more at home. The diner style restaurant was bright and welcoming on a cold January evening and the staff were all chatty and helpful.
We both ordered cheese burgers and I opted for blue cheese in mine while Dad had Monterey Jack. They came with lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo in a perfectly squishy bun with a pickle on the side. The burgers all come cooked medium unless otherwise requested but this was perfect for my taste: pink and juicy. The blue cheese was quite mild, which at first disappointed me a little because I quite like a strong blue cheese flavour but as I munched my way through I think this was a good choice. The meat had plenty of flavour of it’s own and a stronger cheese might have overpowered this.
The squishy buns Byron use were ideal and a really nice change from the heavier, floured varieties you sometimes come across. It made the burger easier and less messy to pick up. I also find a heavier bun can ruin a burger as it’s just too stodgy and makes you feel really bloated afterwards. I didn’t feel like this after I left Byron, which I found extraordinary having polished off a burger and chips.
My one criticism of the burger is the pickle. I think it’s a great idea that they put it on the side as quite a lot of people aren’t big fans, however for those of us that do like pickles in their burger, it was cut into a wedge shape which you couldn’t have easily fitted into the bun. It was a very pleasant pickle and I still ate it separately but I’d suggest they dish them up in slices so that you have the option to put it into the bun if you want to.
On the side we shared a bowl of courgette fries and a bowl of french fries. Courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables and these were great and not too soft or overcooked. The french fries were okay, nothing to write home about. In hindsight I wish we’d ordered the skin on chips which might have been tastier and a bit more exciting.
Byron definitely came to my rescue on Thursday evening! I’ll be going back and I’m glad I’ve finally tried out the burger restaurant scene. I was always of the opinion ‘how great can a boring old burger really be?’ but I was pleasantly surprised and I’m keen to go and try some of the other restaurants causing a burger buzz!
(The trains were still delayed when I got back to Liverpool Street but the crowds had cleared away at least!)