Despite recent and relentless ubiquity, burgers have unfaltering kept a place in my heart, and around my waistline. I still like photographing them, I still like looking at them and I still like eating them. Especially the latter.
They say pictures speak louder than words, I’m gonna keep this post (pretty) short; While I’m not known for my brevity, in this case even my blurry photos (a miracle any are actually in focus considering the gravy and burger sauce all over my hands) tell the story of how happiness can be sandwiched between two buns.
Nestled in a railway arch in Digbeth - they originally started life at the acclaimed Digbeth Dining Club – it’s got a kind of funky Bermondsey Spa Terminus vibe going on. Although, thankfully, here they seem to have also invested in some heating, so I didn’t have to sit there in my many layers as I did on many Saturday mornings at Kernel, back in the heady days when you could still sit and drink beer there.
The beer here is also good, with the draft stuff being provided by Siren; from leafy Finchampstead, near Reading. I had a schooner of the ever reliable Soundwave IPA, while the Ewing got stuck in with Forest for the Trees, their limited edition 8.6 percent winter DIPA. A steady start to the day, even it was mostly wasted on her, as she thought they had been swapped around she was drinking mine anyway.
As I’ve pontificated before, my ideal burger falls into two camps. My favourite is the simple and straightforward – based on the iconic McDonald’s cheeseburger; meat, cheese (plastic) onion, ketchup, mustard, pickles. Occasionally bacon; always streaky. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to mix it up a bit and go with salad; nothing too fancy, just shredded lettuce, tomato and mayo. A la the BK Whopper.
I’m usually pretty adamant about keeping the two burger camps separate, but the Cheesy E at OPM mixed gooey cheese with pickles, onion, lettuce and Boss Man sauce, a burger sauce based on the heavenly collision between ketchup and mayo. And it sounded pretty good. (and looked pretty FILTHY too - TE).
It tasted even better; a mix of tangy sauce, crunchy iceberg, gooey cheese and juicy beef (doubled up, obvs) it just held it’s structural integrity long enough for me to hoover it up, although it was a very close-run thing. The best burger I have had in a long time.
I had planned to have the naked chips, or maybe just the slaw, or maybe just share the Ewing’s chips…(but I don't like sharing, remember - TE) but when I saw the poutine special, I knew what I had to do. A traditional dish from Quebec consisting of fries, fresh cheese curds and sauce brune - essentially chips cheese and brown gravy – here the gravy is made from beer and onions and the whole dish is topped with pickled chillies.
While I'm a Southerner at heart - I do love a saveloy and normally prefer my chips with ketchup – fried potatoes and gravy are the perfect bedfellows, especially with a bit of spice.
The Ewing, in an uncharacteristic deviation, chose the chicken burger. Mostly tempted by the fact they use battered thigh instead of breast, and that it was served with Alabama white barbecue sauce (you can also add Frank’s hot sauce to the mix). Again, this was a peerless example, with a special shout out going to the locally baked brioche buns (also used for the beef) with their perfectly blistered tops.
She also chose the, instant hit on Instagram, ODM fries topped with Cajun spice and slaw. Another fail-safe combo of hot and cool; the crunchy cabbage and fluffy spud peppered with the punch of coriander and lime, sriracha mayo, crispy fried onions and fresh spring onion.
Initially claiming not to be in the market for dessert, instead asking for the bill, it didn’t take long to retract our request and ask for some homemade sticky toffee pudding to share. A good call as this was a light and fluffy sponge with a good (if not liberal enough) helping of toffee sauce. While I think it may be the ultimate application for clotted cream (don’t at me) the vanilla ice cream served alongside was also pretty good.
While I’ve pretty much failed to show the brevity promised above, I’ll keep the wrap-up short. In conclusion: go here; have a burger and a beer; share some OPM fries (or, if you’re greedy like me, get your own); thank me later.