I hope you are not a vegetarian reading this post… if you are please look away because this is all very carnivorous!
Burgers were never really a thing when I was growing up and for what matters only a few places would be proper burger places 10 years ago. At least in Greece.
Mainly, they would appeal to my 6-year-old self when I used to beg my dad, a veteran athlete, to take me to the nearest Goody’s chain (the Greek equivalent of Mcdonald’s but much more tasty, in my humble opinion), if I promised him that I would walk there instead of taking the bus or a taxi.
A few years down the line and I completely forgot about eating a burger before moving to London. Now, it’s one of my most enjoyable junk/ not-as-healthy-as-my-homemade-salad weekend guilty pleasure!
So, here we go, these are the best 5 burgers I’ve ever had!
- Smoked and Uncut festival – Let there be Meat:
You know that the meat quality is going to be great when you are only offered the option of condiments. This burger from Smoked and Uncut Festival at The Pig Near Bath was the best I ever had! The 8oz patty was medium cooked, deliciously juicy and rich an the patty was as as fluffy as air but without leaving you with a mountain of crumbles on your lap! Excellent tomato and onion ratio giving it an extra freshness and kick. I shouldn’t have added neither ketchup not mustard but there you have it!
Wine pairing: A few wines would beat a smooth Chianti Classico, with a little bit of Merlot in the blend!
When we first started exploring the burger scene in London, you would find us on Saturdays around the likes of Byron or Tommi’s Burger Joint. But we were craving something more… and then we found Sophie’s! Lovely place on Fulham Road with again very good meat quality. They cure and age their own and you can sneak a peek when you go downstairs to the loo area!
Slightly out of focus burger but you get the gist! Very juicy and fresh, with a lovely charcoal whiff and plenty of lettuce to wash it down. The ban is so fluffy but with more flavour than Smoked and Uncut and the fries are nicely crispy and light without leaving any grease on your fingers (you eat fries with your hands not me!)
Wine: An Australian Shiraz or a French Malbec would be great!
3. Patty & Bun
When Patty & Bun opened their first venue next to Christopher’s Place in Marylebone, it was all the rage! We would see the queue getting longer and longer, hungry burger-lovers waiting patiently outside under their umbrellas and the pouring rain while the smoky, charcoal aromas coming from the kitchen teased them! At one point, we caved in and joined the queue…! I never said I was strong when it comes to food.. Rumor had it that Ari Gold was the best burger ever so I went for it, of course. It comes with cheese (I rarely ask for cheeseburgers) tomato, lettuce, pickled onions, ketchup and Smokey P&B mayo. SO MANY TOPPINGS! But, there’s a big but.. I like it a lot! You get really messy, your hands smell of burger for hours after the feast, you leave the place with a red dot of ketchup on your nose ( true story -classy!) and it’s really delicious! Is it the best? No. Is it very good? Yes. The music is too loud or maybe I am getting older than I want to admit but my mum and I had a fabulous time! Brownie points for the rosemary salt chips!
Wine Pairing: That’s a tricky one. I would go for a nice, cold lager instead!
I was somehow skeptical until we were served. But it was a Sunday and we just left the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts starving due to the 2 hours of full-on excitement. George had already tried the burger and was vouching for it though and when we realised our pupils were slightly dilated because of hAnger, we made our way to the branch at Binney St. The 10oz patty was cooked medium rare and its juices started flowing as soon as I slightly pressed the ban. I liked the pickled cucumber addition (salt always elevates the overall flavour) but I was rather unimpressed with the fries. I could do without the salad, too.
Wine: Syrah. Northern Rhone, Australia, California, Italy. Syrah.
5. Unknown Cape Town Burger place (Edit: Engruna Eatery) on Main Road – Thanks Nadia!
I wish I could find this place again, but unfortunately I cannot.. I remember that we were sat next to a Greek restaurant, Mykonos, where a wedding was taking place and I could distinctively listen to Greek songs and cheers! And then this monster burger presented itself in front of me.. An ostrich patty, the leanest of meats, was topped up with a mountain of guacamole, cheese, spicy tomato sauce and lettuce! It was so delicious, rich but you could still (miraculously) taste the ostrich patty. Good chips, too.
Loved every bite of it.
Wine: South African Cabernet Sauvignon.
Last but by no means least, we have this miniature Leaning Tower of Piza! Well, its actual name is Little Italy, although there’s nothing little about this burger. Rucola salad and sauce, tomato, pancetta (hello fat!), tomato, grated mozzarella and, because one type of cheese was not enough, a parmesan crust to tie all this up! Our friends took us to Snooze after a long walk around the old city, a magical place! As they are big burger fans themselves, we had no doubt that we were in for a treat! My first reaction was “Noway, I am eating the whole thing”… a pint of beer and an hour of chatting later, my plate was almost empty. I say “almost” as a few chips and maybe some rucola leaves were still on there..
Wine: I would love this with a bold, Sicilian red like a Nero d’Avola or a rich Rioja Reserva.
What’s your favorite burger-wine combo?