- Food & Drink
Before I started food blogging, I didn’t think about hamburgers much. In the summer, when barbecue smoke is drifting from everyone’s balcony and back garden, I’d think about burgers. I’d imagine a burnt slab of mince in a bun with some ketchup, a can of lager and a fat hot dog to follow. But other than that, burgers didn’t feature in my mental foodscape.
And then I started spending time on Twitter, where a coterie of London food bloggers are on the hunt for an authentic West Coast burger experience. It’s an ongoing mission and, given the results so far, a never ending one.
So every day I read fanatical burger chat and, as proof that advertising works, hamburgers now dot my daydreams and lurk in the back of my mind, ready to leap out and dance deliciously in front of me whenever I wonder what to have for lunch.
After a long day in the office last week, I was considering the trudge home to a fridge full of limp vegetables and a box of broken pasta when a burger shimmied to the front of my mind and gyrated before me. I had to concede: it was burger time.
I went to Byron at The Intrepid Fox on Wardour Street, an old Goth pub that’s been carefully redecorated to look like it hasn’t been decorated at all. I was seated at a small table in the middle and ordered a classic 6oz hamburger, French fries and an Oreo Cookie milkshake.
My waitress nodded and said: “I was going to say that’s a bit of a small meal, but with the milkshake I think you’ll be fine.” Less than 10 minutes later, I had my burger and fries.
Happily, the burger was one of the best I’ve eaten in a long time. A juicy slab of beef with a tiny heap of lettuce, tomato and onion, it dripped amazing meat juices down my arm and onto the plate. I swirled my fries in them in so I wouldn’t miss out on a scrap of meatiness.
To make the burger perfect, I’m going to agree with the consensus that a burger needs a sweetish bun. The plain white bun was dull and ordinary tasting compared to the flavour slap of the burger. And having a huge pickle on the side is a problem for burger perverts like me, who enjoy a slice of gherkin in their burger sandwich.
I tried to cut slices off the pickle, but my knife was so blunt it would’ve had trouble hacking its way through warm butter. In the end I had to bite the burger and then slide some gherkin into my full and bulging mouth. Not an attractive sight.
The fries were too thick to be proper fries. They were chips on a diet and, being chips, they needed vinegar. The condiment tray on every table has many fine sauces to splash over your food, but it doesn’t have vinegar. I suppose bottles of Sarsons don’t feature much in Californian drive thrus.
I finished with the Oreo Cookie milkshake, which doubled up as a drink and dessert. It came in a huge frosted metal cup and tasted like satiny liquid ice cream that someone had helpfully blended the wafer into. I loved it.
The bill came to £12.50 without service, which was speedy, smiley and kind enough to suggest that a burger, fries and milkshake meal is a ‘just right’ rather than ‘quite piggy’. I’m afraid that after this meal burgers are going to be on my even more on my mind. This could be the beginning of a terrible burger addiction.