Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Honest Burgers

When I first came to Britain I didn’t care much about the burgers found at McD or Wimpy as the humble ones from my hometown were vastly superior in every way, shape or form. The quality of beef in Malaysia then, and as ever for that matter, has always been inferior to what we expect in Blighty. But give any bland tasting morsel of meat to a South East Asian, they’ll season it better than most and transform it into something that blows your palate away (and I don’t mean chillis). I had my first decent UK burger hereabouts back in 1983 when I was skiving repeatedly during college days. The place was called Peppers and they served genuine American-style burgers (please note that I haven’t been back since 1984 so I can’t vouch for their present offerings). The delicious charbroiled cheeseburgers had a profound effect on me, as it was also my first ever experience of the onset of rigor mortis on a plate; the burger was cooked medium rare and quite quite bloody! Eureka! From thence I learnt more about how to appreciate one’s beef dinner ought to be cooked than the Engineering Science degree I was struggling with and clueless about! Burgers are succinctly pleasurable.

I first heard about Honest Burgers from Limster, a prolific contributor on Chowhound. It’s located in Brixton Village, a redevelopment of nearby Brixton Market. Truth be told the last time I came to Brixton was a couple decades ago and that’s for no other reason than a lame one; I falter at the thought of crossing over the river.

The place is a shack, well at least size-wise it is. Turn up during peak-hours at your peril and you’ll be fussing about the queues and lack of tables. The cooking area alone occupies around 40% of the c.24m² space. Furniture is strictly self-made and at best raw and rickety. A few additional tables are available outside for pseudo al fresco dining (‘tis a covered market after all).

Here’s Tom, one of the head flakes at HB for he’s the one who does the cooking. A rather splendid and convivial chap I might add. And as scoops go, he was fond of the burger at Bar Boulud and the one at the Admiral Codrington pub was to be respected as well.

The no-nonsense menu on the wall.
Non-beef eaters and veggies are made to feel welcome as well.

Home-made lemonade.
Very good it was.

The cheeseburger.
All the burgers are served with triple cooked hand-cut chips seasoned with rosemary salt.

The beef comes from the legendary Ginger Pig butchers and has been dry-aged for more than a month. The cheeseburger comes with a choice of either cheddar or Stilton, much as I love the latter on its own I’ve always found it too overpowering when applied on a patty of good provenance, so cheddar for me instead. For those harbouring a fear of tomatoes, your wish is by default granted; slices of tomatoes are mandatorily excluded as they intrude on and drown the essential bits of an Honest burger.

One’s not asked about how they want their burger cooked. House rules suggest medium rare and so be it, and hip hip hooray for that! It was perhaps the juiciest, beefiest, tastiest, and most satisfying burger I’ve had to date. Alas, the chips were not to my liking; skin left on chips are a no-no in my books, tad too limp and soggy although I must admit the rosemary salt seasoning was pure genius.

If the very good burgers offered here and here are eights then HB deserves a nine. The home of the best and original London Burger does exist; it’s found at Honest Burgers.

Unit 12
Brixton Village
London SW9 8PR



Krista said...

I trust Limster above all. He KNOWS.

Mr Noodles said...

You should make more trips south of the river! There's so much going on, especially at Brixton Village. From the pictures, the burger looks mighty fine, the chips less so.

PS: Admirable restraint in not mentioning that other burger. That said, damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Rachel said...

Peppers still exists! I last went there about 5 years ago and it looked like it hadn't be refurbed since 1984...

Bar Boulod is definitely worth a visit.

miss south said...

Seriously, Brixton is where it's at right now...

Interesting review. So contraversially no tomato? What about the gherkin? I've heard they've skipped that too and it puts me off going. Burgers need gherkins.

I heart cupcakes said...

I work near here now and I've still got to try it.

You were two minutes away from a damn fine coffee shop and some amazing baking - come back soon ;)

Dad said...

Dammit man, you came "Sahf" of the river and didn't announce it??!?

Jeepers creepers ......

I agree with Mr Noodles and Cupcakes (and have alluded to it before myself) - you need to review more food over "our" way. We're a sensitive bunch y'know!

Ben said...

Good to see you back - thought you'd gone a bit loopy for a bit

OldLag said...

Peppers does still exist but the original owner sold it to his staff (I think) about five years ago & it is not nearly as good.

bellaphon said...

Krista- If only he started blogging as he’s easily A-lister material.

Mr Noodles- Indeed I shall, there are enough eateries in BV to prevent me from retiring the blog too soon.
Enough of The-Burger-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named please!

Rachel- Thanks for passing by and if someone’s prepared to treat me, I would certainly love to give the Piggie Burger a go.

miss south- And thank you for stopping too. I’m not the gherkin’s greatest fan so it was perhaps the audacity of HB to leave it out in the place that the score crept to a nine.

I heart cupcakes- I’m going back soon to appraise the Flat White at Federation Coffee.

Dad- Stealthily does it, that’s me!

Ben- Nice to see you traipsing about here. You’re mistaken; I’m forever loopy and always will be till the day when I fall to the ground!

OldLag- Thank you for your comments. I thought that might be the case with Peppers especially after taking a peep at their website.

steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

damn, and i was so close.balham/clapham first time i've ever visited south london too other than going directly to brixton academy and then directly home. (that's quite slack of me seeing as i've lived in camden for 11 years!)i ate here instead http://www.hacheburgers.com/ it tasted good but i can't give a proper opinion as i'd had a few before we arrived. well cooked though, nicely medium at my request and i really liked the bun. i can see i shall have to make a special journey just to try this place.