Elliot’s café is an established restaurant just on the edge of Borough Market and takes advantage of the location to focus a number of dishes on seasonal produce. Best described as Modern European/New American, the food is fresh, well executed and presented, and served in a rustic yet elegant setting. However, none of that mattered as I was here for the Burger Bar pop-up across the road which runs from July 16 to August 10.
Instead of formal, the Burger Bar has gone the other way with an open grill, unfinished wooden tables, metal stools, and drinks in buckets of ice. It’s a bit of an upscale picnic and I appreciate the open air atmosphere. Burgers are a fun, casual food and I much prefer someplace I can rock up in jeans and a tshirt and grab the beef with both hands.
Well, you could grab a table and wait but depending on how busy it is you may get some looks given there is fairly limited seating. Instead, try one of the pubs in the area such as the Wheatsheaf (recently renovated and still sparkly), the Barrowboy and the Banker (easiest to see as its on the corner of Tooley and Borough High St), or the Globe (steeped in history with rumours that Shakespeare wrote some plays while drinking there). All are good with the standard pub range and a few special items which vary between the pubs.
I’m starved. What to eat?
The menu is pretty simple here. You get the burger and fried potatoes for £10. That’s it. You can choose how you like your burger cooked although they recommend it medium-rare to get the full flavour of the beef. I’d second their recommendation as the thick beefy patty is absolutely delicious. I didn’t get around to finding out what meat blend they use, but I’d guess a mix of chuck and sirloin (and maybe some short rib) to account for the solid meaty flavour that oozes a copious amount of juices.
The burger is simply assembled on a soft seeded bun and the condiments are limited to sautéed onions, cheese, and dill butter. The chefs aren’t stingy with the butter so expect a bit of a messy meal although kudos to the bun for holding up throughout the entire meal instead of falling to pieces. The dill butter gives you a fresh springy note to balance out the richness of the patty and the sweet tones of the onions.
The fried potatoes that accompany the burger had a good crispy crust and fluffy interior but seemed to lack something in the taste. More salt helped, but I can’t help but think they could have added something to give them more flavour.
Oh, how about drinks?!
The simplicity of the food menu is balanced out by the diversity of drinks – to a degree of course. You have a choice of Camden Town Hells Lager (£4), New Forest Cider (£4), an IPA I think, and prosecco by the glass or bottle (£5/25). There is also a slushie machine with frozen lemon margaritas or a frozen negronis, both for £5 and fairly boozy to boot.
I tried out the margarita and it was perfect for the warm summer night. Enough tequila to give it a bit without being overwhelming, it was a great choice to accompany the burger. Win!
Worth the dosh?
Definitely a yes. It’s a sizeable beast and with the potatoes it’s a pretty good chance you’ll be stuffed when you finish – and for just a tenner. The drinks are a bit pricey for what you get, but not overly so. That being said, the burger was so tasty I almost wanted another one for the road. I’d heard Elliot’s burger was good, but I wasn’t convinced it was a top ten pick. Individually, I don’t think the components really stood out but that’s the basis of its strength. It’s one of the best put together burgers and I couldn’t fault a single element – in fact, I’m taking the Yelp BurgerQuest crew there next Tuesday – join us if you want!
Find Elliot’s Café & Burger Bar Pop-up here
12 Stoney Street
London, SE1 9AD
020 7403 7436