Mr Hyde & Tweat Up’s inaugural #NationalBurgerDay was, by any measure, a resounding success. Ten of the best burger purveyors set up shop in Dalston Yard along with a few other special guests. £10 got you a pint of fresh Meantime beer, a Jameson pickleback, and a Jose Cuervo chilliback. The burger bosses took varying approaches to their dish of the day with some sticking with tried and true classics (MeatLiquor & Dirty Burger), others going for small yet punchy sliders (Roti Chai & Slider Bar), and Bleecker St taking a slightly different tack with a monster triple cheeseburger (which Zan agreed to enhance for me – see below!).
Was there a standout winner? I could go with the cliché and say we were all winners, but I won’t cop out like that. In my humble opinion, the top three spots to go:
- Carl Clarke’s Roller Disco Bistro was tops with a toasted sesame bun, juicy rare breed beef patty, and a succulent chunky pineapple and bacon jam topping.
- Bleecker St’s QUAD cheeseburger with chilli sauce and bacon (yes that’s right, why have a measly triple when you can get four patties of meat instead?) on a soft bun.
- Honest Burger’s Honest Plus+ which boasted a Ginger Pig sourced beef and bone marrow patty and crispy pigs cheek balanced out by a sharp Red Leicester cheese.
Alright, knowing which ones were the top dogs might be all you were looking for, in which case thanks for stopping by. But if you want some more details keep on reading and we’ll dig into each one.
Carl Clarke’s Roller Disco Bistro Burger: Rare breed beef patty, cheese, Carl’s special bun sauce and pineapple & bacon jam (£7)
A tasty beast that was as good to look at as it was to eat, CC’s burger had a lot going for it. The bun is soft and fluffy with a slight chewiness on the golden brown crust. The sesame added a bit of a change up in the texture and most importantly the bun held together for the entire burger. The patty was perfectly cooked medium rare and remained juicy without falling apart. Best of all, the pineapple and bacon jam was a moreish topping that provided a level of sweetness to cut through the fatty patty and a bit of saltiness to bring out the beef’s natural flavour.
Bleecker St Burger: Quad Bacon Chilli Cheese Burger (£10)
Without a doubt, this was the big mac daddy of burgers. A ridiculous temple to the burger gods, this beast boasted four thick coarse ground patties joined together with melted cheese then doused in Bleecker’s chilli sauce before being topped with a couple of strips of crispy bacon. As it was cut in half, the juices threatened to overwhelm the integrity of the plate and each half was a hefty handful. Sadly, the bun didn’t stand a chance and after a couple of bites the burger will disintegrate if you don’t keep a firm hold of it, but wow was it good. Bleecker’s bespoke beef patty is one of the tastiest I’ve come across and they make sure to showcase rather than overwhelm the flavour of the meat.
Extra points go to Zan for taking order and payment from the line in advance while the boys in the van focussed on getting the burgers out. Despite the size, the line moved rapidly and in no time at all I was chowing down on my heart-stopper Quad.
Honest Burger Honest Plus+: Ginger Pig beef & bone marrow patty topped with Red Leicester, crispy pigs cheek, shallot & parsley salad, red onion relish & homemade pickles. (£8)
HB consistently serves up a good burger and their Louisiana special was one of the best I’ve ever had so no surprise that the Honest Plus+ was a star. The Ginger Pig came through again with some delicious meat and the addition of the bone marrow resulted in a patty with a greater depth of flavour that rilled more towards medium to let the bone marrow melt. The unctuous marrow paired nicely with the bite of the Red Leicester cheese and the added crunch of the pig cheek was a great touch. The bun is the standard HB winner which holds together no matter what you do it and keeps the juices from staining your hands (for the most part, that is).
Slider Bar Short Rib Slider: Aged beef patty topped with orange habanero, mushy short rib, American cheese, hot sauce, lettuce and salsa. (£4)
The same team behind Breddos Tacos (and the infamous chilliback) put together one hell of a slider. It may be the smallest at just 75g, but it packed a punch with a simple beef patty topped with tender short rib that was knocked up a notch by a potent orange habanero sauce. I can’t tell you much about the beef as it was a bit overwhelmed by the other flavours but the patty was cooked well and acted as a great foundation. If the heat wasn’t enough, grab a chilliback to take it to a whole new level. Not since I tried a spoonful of the Ribman’s Judas sauce have I felt that much pain. Tasty, tasty pain.
Oh and the free slider card was a nice touch – I’ll be seeing you boys soon!
Roti Chai Street Kitchen: Toddy Shop Burger No 5 – Angus steak “Keralan Beef Fry” Burger (£4)
Beside the Breddo Boys, Roti Chai was serving up a mini-version of the Toddy Shop Burger. I love what these guys come up with in blending traditional Indian flavours with more typical Western foods. Their Ribstock offering was incredible and my favourite so it’s not surprise I enjoyed their slider too. Although the patty was a bit dry, the pungent flavours and aromas of a Keralan Beef Fry (incidentally the one thing my Dad can really cook) were strongly and deliciously represented. The shot sized drink served up helped cool the tongue afterwards and was an added bonus.
Two Nights Only: Rib Fat ‘n’ Marrow burger (£5)
Possibly the best value burger of the night, TNO had a killer (and I mean that in all ways) burger offering which was 50% fillet, 25% aged rib fat, and 25% marrow. The result is a very juicy burger that sent twin trails of grease and burger juice squirting out with each bite. It was a delicious way to get stuck in however not even the copious amounts of tasty drippings was enough to hide the overly dry bun.
The ox cheek cronut had brilliantly cooked and flavoured meat but the “cronut” was all grease and no taste which made the whole thing a bit too rich.
Mother Flipper Dirty Barbie: Double Patty, American cheese, candy bacon, candy fried onions, tomato relish and BBQ sauce
Mother Flipper’s Double Bacon Candy burger is what started me on my passionate love affair with burgers. The Dirty Barbie was no slouch either and hit all the key tastebuds – sweet and salty from the candy bacon, tangy BBQ sauce and tomato relish, and of course the bespoke meaty patty. The bun remains one of the seven wonders of the burger world and is a closely guarded secret – which to be fair it should be because if they told me who makes it I’d start begging the baker for the recipe myself.
Byron’s Le Smokey: Smoked Cheddar, streaky bacon, crispy fried onions, and a special smoked chilli BBQ sauce (£5)
The guys at Byron serve up a pretty decent burger but it seemed a little lacking among the giants of London’s burger scene. Although it had all the right ingredients, I felt there was something missing in the patty to give it enough oomph to stand out. The smoked chilli BBQ sauce was fantastic and very moreish – in fact if I could get a bottle of that to spice up my lunches that would be an absolute win. At £5, it’s a reasonable deal although more of a slider/burger hybrid that a proper burger in its own right.
Both these shops were serving up their signature burger but as I’ve had both I opted to give them a miss and save the stomach space. But it’s worth highlighting that the MEATWagon made a return!
Because just having a range of burgers wasn’t enough, Mr Hyde and Tweat Up got a few special treats for London’s burger lovers. This included a crafty PieBurger from Andy Bates (@eatmypies) which was served up by not only Andy but Mama and Papa Bates too! The recipe is on Food Network if you fancy giving it a go yourself.
SmokeStak was slinging some spicy and sticky BBQ ribs – I missed them at StreetFeast a couple of weeks ago and was thrilled to get a chance to try them this time. They lived up to the hype and I took an extra order home for lunch the next day…
Desserts came in the form of Sorbitum ices – we tried the salted caramel and a couple of sorbets which were brilliant as usual – and a range of burgeroons (burger shaped macaroons) from The Crumbery. New traders from Kent, the Crumbery girls know their way around a macaroon and all four options were delicious – they won my undying affection by including a mango gel slice as the “cheese” in 3 of the four burgeroons. I hear they are dishing up their take on the cronut at Urban Food Fest on Saturday and you can bet I’ll be first in line. I’ve got to keep up the Cronut Crawl after all, right?
After all that, I reckon my Top Ten Burger List needs a bit of a revamp. Updates will be coming soon!