I’d always heard about Pip’s Dish, the pop-up restaurant in an Islington garage, but somehow never managed to get around to trying it out before is closed. Luckily, they’ve moved a bit more central and to a more casual menu with Brioche just off the Strand. It’s primarily a burger joint so the menu is limited to a few choices but encompasses the important parts. The décor is rustic and vintage kitschy and gives it a very charming feel and you can spend a few hours entertaining yourself with the various signs on the wall. That being said, the seats aren’t the most comfortable so you’re most likely to pop in for a bite rather than linger over drinks.
What you need to know
- The burger is damn good but quite messy – it also doesn’t come with chips so you’ll need to order that sepearately
- Beer is a bit pricey but a bottle of tasty Prosecco is available for £20
- There is one large table for around 8 people but the rest seat 4 – and the whole place can manage around 20-25 covers at most
- Brioche does take reservations and is pet-friendly
Food: ★★★★☆ Service: ★★★★☆ Atmosphere: ★★☆☆☆ Value: ★★★☆☆ Overall: ★★★☆☆
This is not the place to gather your group, but there are plenty of places nearby. Sophie’s Steakhouse has an excellent range of cocktails (in particular martinis) and is just around the corner. Alternatively, pop into Champagne + Fromage for a glass of bubbles or any of the pubs along Bedford St for a pint. If the weather is nice, Somerset House runs a wonderful bar on the terrace facing the Thames or if you’re feeling flush head up to Radio Rooftop Bar at the ME hotel.
If you don’t fancy a drink, Primose Bakery is close by for a nibble and a cup of coffee. They make excellent cupcakes too if you want to front-load your dessert!
What to eat?
Naturally, get a burger. The three main choices were the classic beef burger, fried chicken, or pulled pork. I’m sure there was a veggie option too but I can’t say I spared it more than a glance. You then choose from a range of toppings (3 different cheeses, bacon, mushrooms, and braised onions) plus there are additional sauces and relishes. Unfortunately, the toppings and sauces are all extra, but the burger entry point is fairly reasonable so it’s not too much of a stretch to get a couple upgrades on the base.
We opted for both the beef burger with all the toppings and a fried chicken burger with tarragon and lime aioli plus a bowl of chips to share. The chicken was adequate but lacking any particular crunch on the batter or juiciness in the meat to make it exceptional. Granted, we have high standards for fried chicken with little being able to beat the DFC chicken we tried from the source and recreated at home. That being said, the brioche bun was spectacular and a serious challenger for the best bun in London title. It’s soft with a light toasty crunchy and is chewy enough to hold together despite the copious amounts of sauces I added in.
The burger was delicious – my dining companion voted it the best she’s had in London – with a good meaty flavour and spectacular tangy and sweet toppings all held in by brilliant brioche. My only wish would be for a thicker patty cooked more medium rare to enhance the beef to balance out the strong flavours from the toppings. The onions and mushrooms were both a step up above the standard caramelised options and I’d happily eat them on their own while the bacon was big on flavour and crunch yet light on saltiness so it supported rather than overpowered the burger.
The chips were a winner and were closer to American fries than thick cut British chips. They are lightly seasoned and boast a solid crunch yet maintain a fluffy interior. Paired with chipotle ketchup, they were quite moreish and we probably could have polished off another bowl.
Dessert was unimpressive with the sticky toffee pudding on the online menu being replaced by a “Dime Pie” which was a couple of small triangles of layered chocolate and cream ganache. It was unsatisfying and I’d recommend a pass given the chocolate fondant at Champagne + Fromage is just slightly more expensive, infinitely more enjoyable, and only a stone’s throw away. They did have an apple crumble if that’s your thing, but I can’t comment on the quality.
What about drinks?
The drinks menu looks to be limited to beer and wine rather than a full bar. Beers come in at £4-5 and house wine at £5, £10, and £15 for a glass, ½ carafe, and carafe respectively. We ended up going for the £20 bottle of Prosecco which was delicious and pretty good value for the two of us. It was possibly slightly more Prosecco than we really needed, but can you ever have too much?
There are a range of posh juices and sodas too if you don’t want to go the alcohol route.
Worth the dosh?
For the burger, definitely. It was delicious and if they increase the patty size it could be one of the best in London. The bun alone is a reason to try this place out – if nothing else they got their namesake spot on. I’d pass on the fried chicken but I’m curious about the pulled pork which did look quite appetising when it passed us by.
Our bill back to just over £50 including service and included two burgers, a bowl of chips, a few extras (cheese, bacon, and some sauces), a Dime Pie, and the bottle of Prosecco. While not the cheapest burger meal around, it’s very reasonable for the area and would drop to £15pp excluding drinks.
Find Brioche here
15 Exeter St, London, WC2E 7DT