Patty. Bun. Cheese.
London is one of the best cities for chowing down on filthy delicious burgers, with no shortage of burgerias to be found within the M25. I bring you my ultimate top 5, and crown Bleecker Street Burgers the winner. Long gone are the days when McDonalds and Burger King shared a seat on the Iron Throne of Burgeros, now a distant, fading memory of the 90s.
Cheeseburger – beef, American cheese, lettuce & secret sauce – £6.00
I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was in the very same moment that I sunk my teeth into the burger, effortlessly slicing through equal parts patty and bun, that I knew.
As the juices began to pour into my mouth, cheese and sauce melting over my taste buds, the whole burger unraveling and combining gloriously onto my palate. That’s when I knew it was the one.
It’s the perfect patty, seasoned rare-breed, dry-aged beef, tender, juicy, moist. The seeded bun is so light and airy you can be pardoned for thinking it is a brioche. It is not a brioche, but it comes out as good in fact better than a brioche. The secret sauce, so perfectly secret and saucy.
Bleecker Street do regular pop-ups around London, I visited their summer pop-up at Southbank, and have a permanent location in Spitalfields and a truck in Canary Wharf (yes, I know, that’s east). However, they will most definitely be back with more centrally located pop-ups and food trucks once the weather improves!
Their £10 ‘Bleecker Black’ burger, black pudding sandwiched between two beef patties sandwiched between a bun, is considered by many as the best burger in London.
‘Ari Gold’ Cheeseburger – beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, ketchup, smokey P&B mayo, brioche – £8.00
Patty & Bun is up there with Bleecker Street. It nearly always gets a mention in any burger top whatever you’ll read. It’s aptly named patty & bun because this is what they have gotten down to a T, the beef patty is divine and the bun is a perfectly sweet brioche.
With great names such as Ari Gold, Smokey Robinson, Jose Jose and the Lambshank Redemption, Patty & Bun have narrowed it down to the only six burgers you’ll ever need.
You can find them across any of their six London locations: including at 54 James Street near Bond Street tube, 22 Liverpool Street, 18 Old Compton Street in Soho, among others…
3. Meat Liquor
Cheeseburger – beef, cheese, red onions, pickles, lettuce, French’s mustard, ketchup – £8.00
The Meat Liquor/Market empire spans a few locations across the UK. I go to Meat Liquor in W1, right behind Debenhams. In contrast to Bleecker Street’s food trucks and Patty & Bun’s unassuming little venue on James Street, Meat Liquor is a bonafide restaurant, with vibes for days. It’s dark with red lighting, graffiti walls and diner-style furnishings.
Order too much and you’ll be feeling a bit greased out, but behind all the smoke and mirrors, that big line you see snaking around the building outside is because when it comes to burgers, they deliver.
74 Welbeck Street, W1
Cheese – beef, red onion relish and lettuce with mature cheddar, Red Leicester or stilton – £9.25
Excluding the Beef burger option that has no cheese – I know, ridiculous – there is the Cheese, the Honest, the Tribute and the Special. The last three all include smoked bacon with various toppings. The Special is their most creative burger, coming with deep-fried camembert, cranberry sauce and rocket.
Honest Burgers are everywhere, including: 4 Market Place, Oxford Circus. 34a Camden Lock Place, Camden. 189 Portobello Road, Notting Hill. 4A Meard Street, Soho, etc.
Cheese – beef, house mayo, relish, salad and choose from cheddar, Red Leicester, smoked Applewood or American cheese – £7.95
I know what you’re thinking. GBK? Yes GBK. While I admit it wasn’t easy choosing who takes fifth place, with Tommi’s Burger Joint a close contender, GBK is a highly underrated burger joint.
And while I’m judging them on the humble cheeseburger, it deserves a special mention for its variety of original burger combinations. With options such as Bruce Leek, which includes truffled leeks, cajun relish, sriracha mayo and jalapeño toppings, the Taxi Driver, which whacks on a big ass onion ring, and seasonal cheese options from camembert to raclette, you’ve got to give it to them.
Now I know I’m only mentioning burgers and not fries or extras, but GBK also scores some big points when it comes to their dips, shout out to their bacon mayonnaise. Need I say more?
Multiple locations: 102 Baker Street, Marylebone. 160 Portobello Road, Notting Hill. 15 Frith Street, Soho, and many many more.
My Top 5 burger selection criteria is simple.
Specialisation: I stuck to burger-only venues, not including restaurants which by the way do burgers and by the way no matter how good people say they are I have yet to be impressed (you know who you are).
Location: Eligible burger joints must serve central London. Simply because myself, and most tourists that read my blog, don’t go East all that often. I understand I’m missing out on quality burgers that live further East, I do, but at the same time I’m halving my chances of getting mugged, so there’s that.
Standardisation: In order to help make the comparison fair, I’m judging each venue on the basis of the burger in its purest, most natural form, “the cheeseburger.”