After the downright success that was our visit to Honest Burgers last October, Katie and I have been eager to try another of the new burger joints that have been clogging the arteries of my Twitter feed recently. The burger revolution of London just keeps on rolling on, being taken to more and more extravagant levels. The trend of elevating simple fast food into something posh has fallen on the humble patty, and now you can pop out and indulge in lobster, Iberico ham or even a lump of foie gras as part of the experience. But for now I’m not bothered about all that gloss; it’s all about how a patty, bun and condiments alone can be elevated into something special. I must have forgotten the names of half of the new eateries that have opened, but the place that kept cropping up was Patty and Bun in Marylebone.
There seems to be a formula with the modern trendy burger joint: find a small pipe of a shop in a busy area of town, cram it elbow-to-elbow with tables, turn the lights right down and hire someone to play music that was considered cheesy and awful at the time and is somehow now seen as edgy. Slap a long queuing time with that you’re there. Service will be fast and there will visibly be people eyeballing you for your table. But that said, when has eating a burger every been long and comfortable experience? They are the very essence of fast food (apart from those bloggers who might still be waiting for their burger to arrive at Meat Liquor, although I haven’t had the experience myself).
And although to a certain extent Patty and Bun fits into this rhythm, I would urge you to overcome these factors for the sheer pleasure of the food that you are about to eat. It is almost torture having to queue outside for half an hour staring at the words ‘confit chicken wings’. The menu at Patty and Bun is minimal, but you want to eat every last word of it in one glutinous sitting. Once you have finished firing laser beams from your eyes at slow diners and a table becomes available, you just cannot order quickly enough.
One mouthful of burger and all the waiting and hanging around is forgotten. It was not a pretty burger to look at, it was the dirty variety that makes your stomach want to jump out of your mouth and grab it before your hands get the chance. Below the golden shiny bun gushed cheese and burger juices, and the perfectly seasoned patty cooked a perfect pink. All of this hype certainly stands, it is right up there with the best.
But you have no time to grab for that extra napkin, as it’s time for those wings. They sounded amazing on the menu, but I was curious having never tried chicken cooked in that manner. My word. Beneath the crunchy spiced crust they just fell apart, and all I could do was fight Katie for who got that last one. They were good to the point that a shop selling them and only them would do very well indeed. They were truly memorable, and the taste that I now want every wing I ever eat in my life to match.
Likewise, the coleslaw was the finest I have eaten in a burger joint. Often they are a sad afterthought, badly dressed and seasoned. But like everything else at Patty and Bun, the attention to detail was evident.
We finished with peanut choc ices, as you do. And they were exactly the right thing to eat after a dense main. Not too big, just enough to refresh you and leave you tasting something sweet. I hadn’t eaten a choc ice since I was about 12, but these ones conjured all of those memories back in a second. Mostly of those ones that had been carried in a bag on a warm day for far too long, and were a glorious dissolving mess when opened.
This was madness. I am a grown man, and the thought of sitting in a crammed room with disposable paper covering the table and the woman at your elbow swaying genuinely to Craig David would not be up there on my dining experiences wish list. But I cannot wait to go back. Unlike many places before, I still have the taste of that burger and those wings in my mouth, and not even the surroundings can deter my want. I would thoroughly, thoroughly recommend it.
It is difficult to compare to Honest, as they both make really excellent burgers. I would happily take friends to either. But for overall experience, I still think that the former edges it. As fun as the Big Mac greaseproof wrap is on the surface, I still like to eat my burger on a plate, and the ambience is not quite so intense at Honest. Patty and Bun nailed the food though. It is only the difference of a few small deeply-rooted faults at either. Reviews of this nature do have a habit of making the writer an unnecessary pedant...
But the search still goes on, and as the London burger wheel keeps on churning I am excited as to where my next burger will be.