Beirut burgers and the best chicken wings in London
London doesn’t seem to be tiring of burgers. Since my gut-busting 35 burger roundup that finished back in August, still more burger restaurants have opened. Two of the latest, Patty and Bun and Brgr.co, opened within weeks of each other. I therefore thought it’d be interesting to pit them against each other, not only to see who’d came out on top, but if either of them are good enough to displace Honest Burger, Burger and Lobster and Tongue ‘n’ Cheek from my meat-loving affections.
The annoyingly vowel-lite Brgr.co is the first European branch of a Beirut-based chain, but don’t expect any wacky Middle Eastern flourishes – at first glance the burgers here look much the same as anywhere else. The menu is very oddly organised with three different burgers appearing twice on the menu in different sections. I decided to try the most expensive ‘Masterpiece’ burger as it’s one of two recommended for those who like medium-rare burgers (which is everyone, surely?).
The burger arrived with the pickles, tomato slices, onions and lettuce served on the side so you can add them (or not) at your leisure, while the bun is soft and floury. The patty itself was coarsely ground and moist but also very soft and surprisingly flat – the lack of texture was very odd. The most remarkable thing about it though was that it was completely devoid of taste – it’s the blandest burger I’ve ever had. At least it doesn’t fall apart in your hands.
The fries weren’t nearly as characterless as the burger, but they too were far from perfect. They tasted buttery and starchy, but they were also too oily for my taste.
Even the chocolate milkshake wasn’t very impressive. It wasn’t sickly sweet or too thick, but the excessively milky drink tasted little of chocolate.
Patty and Bun
Whereas Burgr.co erupted from the loins of a Lebanese chain, Patty and Bun is a former market stall and pop-up restaurant that’s finally set down roots. Located in a street mere moments away from Selfridges, Patty and Bun is also within spitting distance of both Meatliqour and Tommi’s.
Several beef burgers, as well as chicken, lamb and veggie options are available, but I opted for the basic Ari Gold burger which appears to form the basis of the other beef burgers. The moderately coarse patty is cooked medium rare with a quivering pink centre and is succulent throughout. Its tanginess is a little too mild, but the crisp lettuce and sweet tomato are refreshing. The brioche bun is very soft, but not especially buttery. It also struggles to hold in the sweet mayonnaise which has an artificially smoky taste that’s a little off-putting at first but it did grow on me.
Disappointingly the chips are soft and wrinkly, rather than crispy, but they’re still fairly enjoyable. They’re lightly salted with a small hint of rosemary to them.
Although the burgers may headline the menu at Patty and Bun, for me the real star dish is the confit chicken wings. Although the exact recipe is apparently a secret, if these are confit chicken wings then they must have been immersed in fat at some point and boy does it show. The ludicrously tender meat literally falls off the bone as soon as you pick up a wing. The phrase ‘falls off the bone’ is so overused that it’s almost meaningless, but here I mean it. Although I wouldn’t stake my life on it, the chicken wings had a hint of what seemed to be ginger and honey to them which made the meat even more pleasurable. Astonishing.
Anything coming after the beautiful confit chicken wings was always going to anticlimactic, but my dessert of peanut butter choc ice was disappointing no matter what preceded it. A forgettable chocolate shell covered a mildly peanut-flavoured ice cream bar, but it didn’t even attempt to replicate the viscosity that makes good peanut butter so enjoyable.
It’s no contest. Patty and Bun has the superior burger that simply and easily outclasses the limp effort from Brgr.co. I almost feel sorry for Brgr.co – the place has taken a brutal kicking from other reviewers and while I agree that it’s not good and isn’t worth going to, it’s not because its burgers taste bad – it’s because they don’t taste of anything at all. When faced with such high quality competition nearby such as Honest Burger and Burger and Lobster, it is an especially big mistake to make.
Having said that, Patty and Bun’s burgers, while good, aren’t the best burgers in London. Their chicken wings are unrivalled though and I’m serious danger of finding myself permanently glued to a seat, my chin smeared with chicken fat while an ever-growing heap of wing bones accumulates around my ankles.
Address: 187 Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZB
Phone: 0207 920 6480
Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday noon-23.00. Thursday-Saturday noon-01.00. Sunday noon-22.30.
Reservations: not taken
Total cost for one person including soft drinks: £15 approx.
Name: Patty and Bun
Address: 54 James Street, London W1U 1HE
Phone: 0207 487 3188
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, noon-23.00. Friday-Saturday noon-midnight. Sunday noon-22.00. Closed Mondays.
Reservations: not taken
Total cost for one person including soft drinks: £18-20 approx.