Saturday 25 August 2012

Fox and Anchor: a burger for the noughties

What is about London and burgers.  They are everywhere.  From pop up to Oxford Street (Meat Liquor) and from established restaurant group to pop up (Soho House's new venture, Dirty Burger), everyone is at it.  And us bloggers dutifully search for that perfect burger.  Is it going to be 40% shin, or 65% chuck?  20 or 25% fat?  Its all in the details.

So when a mate said he had discovered a new great, I was all over it.  The location makes sense. The Fox and Anchor is on the edge of Smithfields, the largest meat market in UK.  Quality meat should not be a problem.

And so we headed along for an early meat fix on a Friday evening.  The place was surprisingly quiet given its location and the quality of beers on offer - Sierra Nevada on tap.  We stuck to Red Diesel (in a quiet nod to nights of Diesel-fuelled fun at Glasgow University Union) - a great beer from Colchester Brewery, served in metal tankards.  Retro awesome.

On to the burger.  We were asked how we wanted it cooked - rare for the both of us.  The bun kept its structure well but the burger was overcooked and a little on the dry side.  The sad thing was if it was 2005 I would have been pretty happy.  But things have moved on so much since then.  Burger making has become an art.  Basics -it should be juicy, meaty, and, most important of all, you should be able to get a mouthful of everything in one go.  This was not possible.  No chance.  It was just too thick.  A burger for the noughties when over-sized meant good.  In mitigation G-Star did say it had been a lot better on previous visits but at fifteen quid a pop you need consistency.  That is almost double the price of an Honest Burger and about the same those legends of the meat game Hawksmoor and Goodmans.

While the burger was disappointing, the chips were splendid.  Triple-cooked, crisp, fluffy - everything a chip should be. They came with a burger sauce - we asked for the ingredients but were told it was a chef's secret.  My guess mayo, Dijon mustard and some Worcestershire sauce - either way it was pretty darn good addition to dunk your chips in.

In the search for the perfect burger, there will always be disappointments.  But normally they set you back less than a tenner.  If the Fox and Anchor wants to be known as the place for a burger in the home of meat in the UK, it had better up its game.  Its a tough market out there for the burgermeister.

Fox & Anchor on Urbanspoon

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