Sunday, 21 October 2012

Restaurant review: Honest Burgers, Soho

Gourmet fast food has become really trendy over the last couple of years. Barely a week goes by without Twitter buzzing about a new burger, hot dog or fried chicken joint opening in central London. Everyone loves a burger, but the best thing about these new ventures is the care taken in preparation and the sourcing of ingredients. No longer does late night convenience food mean a dirty burger with dodgy mystery ingredients, these places are now using good quality meat, artisan breads and independently brewed booze. Good times all round! 

I don’t venture into central London too often, so it has taken me a little while to get around to seeing what all the fuss has been about. However, I recently was out in the West End to see a show, and thought that it would also be the perfect opportunity to grab a late night bite. Funnily enough, I managed to accidently get my hands on a quick bratwurst before the show had even started! Stumbling past Herman Ze German whilst looking for a quick early pint, I just had to pop in and grab one. It was just amazing. Nothing new or revolutionary about it, but every element was just really well executed. It was great to see that the meat came from master butchers The Ginger Pig too. Bun, sausage, mustard and joy. I feel sorry for Katie though, who had to put up with me raving about how bratwursts were the future of fast food for the following twenty minutes... It was early though, so I was still thinking about how I satisfy my stomach for when the hunger came around later on. I needed recommendations, so it was time to get onto Twitter and find out where the best burger lay.

Show over and there were tens of replies to my tweet, with most of them saying that we just had to visit Honest Burgers. It was as easy as that, and so we set off through Covent Garden and into Soho full of great expectations. The only problem was that it was getting late, and arriving 15 minutes before close, we were painfully aware that we going to be those annoying customers and worried that we would even get fed. These nerves were totally unfounded though, and we were welcomed in by the friendly staff as soon as we opened the door. 

Despite the time, the intimate space was still bustling. The menu was short and the prices reasonable, with a burger and chips coming in at well under a tenner. So refreshing when most other places cram in the add-ons for those wonderful “how did the bill come to that, I’ve been fleeced” moments. The food came quickly and everything was just right. Honest burgers is exactly what they were; perfectly sized, well cooked and more importantly, tasty.   The Ginger Pig must be doing a roaring trade in town, as their beef had also crept into these tender patties. It’s exciting that people are caring more and more about what is behind the burgers, and the quality shines through in the taste. 

My only complaints were slight and mostly down to my own weird ways. I have a slightly unhealthy love of gherkins, and they are an important part of a burger experience for me, so I was disappointed by the lack of pickle presence. I fully accept that this isn’t a feasible gripe though, but my other issue was a little more pressing. You cannot serve up a bucket of unseasoned chips and not have salt on the table. Crunching through well cooked yet bland chips wondering “what if” is the most frustrating thing ever. Step in the great staff again, who happily offered some of their delicious rosemary salt when I brought it up. Burgers eaten and another surprise, we were content and comfortable. Too often you leave a diner stuffed to explode, but it this case they had judged it bang on. 

We left way after the doors shut and didn’t feel pressured one bit. We eat a lot of burgers,, and these were some of the best. It’s brilliant that fast food is no longer a drunken afterthought, and I’m already finding excuses to eat some more.

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