Jack Peat’s honest review of Honest Burgers
If we’re to accept the premise that blaming the noisy f*ckwits on the table next to me on Honest Burgers would be unfair, then I would have to conclude that this is a pretty spot on burger joint.
Nestled behind Oxford Street amongst a group of likeminded eateries Honest Burgers is an evolution of an artisan festival burger stand that turned semi-pro in Brixton Village (all good things turn semi-pro in Brixton) before going big time in central. The menu is quality-focussed and follows a spider diagram down the page allowing you to craft your perfect burger which is a simple but effective incarnation of free range chicken, Ginger Pig dry aged beef (I’m not sure what that means either) or market vegetables in a bun.
If we must deal with the negatives then I should point out that the restaurant is conducive of a rowdy crowd and at times that can get a little tiresome for old ears (I’m turning 30 a year in March for goodness sake). It’s also a little cramped and securing a table in the winter months can be a troublesome task, but once you’ve been sat your toil is repaid with a reincarnated market feel of artisan décor and tasty, locally sourced food.
The wine is served in carafes and tumblers which I endorse from the bottom of my heart. Reminiscent of the Sicilian Bar Vitelli in The Godfather Part 1 (it’s probably the best one) I’ve long said drinking from tumblers makes people at ease. Drinking vin de table (table wine) from wine glasses is superfluous, but unfortunately commonplace in Britain.
I chose the Christmas Special burger from the menu, a combination of beef, smoked bacon, deep fried camembert, cranberry sauce and rocket that just about worked, although I felt a few ingredients served to neutralise other ingredients rather than bring them to life. My girlfriend chose the Honest burger that is a plentiful offering for a ‘classic’ burger and looked delicious.
In fact, both meals were a feast for the eyes. Rosemary salted chips littered the paper-layered dish and exuberant colours akin to a farmer’s lunchbox popped out at all corners.
It’s one of the few burger joints where the chefs had been introduced to the concept of mixing fresh herbs with their dishes, rather than experimenting with the number of foods that taste ok out of the deep fat fryer. It’s honest, sure, but there’s plenty more adjectives that would suit. The food has integrity, a degree of class and is almost proud in its conception. Byron Burgers is honest, this is a step up.
Like the excellent pizzerias popping up around Soho and the steak and lobster ventures littered across London, Honest Burgers is another fine example of good food done well. However, I’m sort of waiting for these things to become more mainstream than they are cool, less queuing out the door and more being sat at a quiet table. But that’s more a reflection of the man than the restaurant. If you’re an ounce cooler than me, go check it out.