Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Patty & Bun, Marylebone

As the Western point of what has been dubbed London's Burgmuda Triangle on Twitter (see @burgeranarchy, amongst others) - with Tommi's and Meat Liquor making up the trio - Patty and Bun is facing some stiff competition for meat lovers in W1. As I was in town, meeting up with the lovely Stealth, on their opening day, we decided to swing by for a mid-afternoon bite and check out the hype.

After a stint with a street cart, and a pop up at the Endurance, Soho, this is owner Joe Grossman's (the eponymous Patty&BunJoe) first bricks and mortar gaff, and it's pretty lovely looking. In a world of obscured entrances, plain frontages, and secret handshake to gain admittance, P&B's bright red awnings make a nice change, and mean you're not going to miss this place easily. It's an intimate affair (with room for about thirty covers) complete with the très trendy chip board and exposed wires vibe inside, and a great soul soundtrack playing (loudly) in the background. (in fact I'd be tempted to give it a glowing rating based on the fact they were playing Sister Sledge 'I'mThinking of You', one of my wedding tunes, on our visit).

The menu is delightfully simple; three beef burgers, one chicken, one lamb, one veggie. There are also rosemary fries, coleslaw, salad, and what are, purportedly, the best wings in the city. Sadly a noodle and dumpling lunch before we got there put pay to my ability to sample them on this vist, but if confit chicken with bbq sauce sounds like your thing, then bring your hunger.

The drinks list features a small selection of beers (Red Stripe, Sam Adams, Einstock Pale Ale) and wine, and a few mixed drinks including the Stealth's choice of Appleton's and ginger beer, and my Wray and Ting; overproof Jamaican white rum with the iconic Caribbean grapefruit soda. They even offer half litre carafes of rum punch to share, or not, as the mood takes you.

My Ari Gold, their signature cheeseburger, was a hefty and solid beast, filled to brimming with pickled onions, salad, ketchup and mayo. I loved the onions in this, although perhaps all the fillings together were a touch overpowering, as the thick slick of gooey American cheese, melted perfectly across the patty, was a little lost.

The meat itself was joyous; a thick patty, well seasoned and cooked to a perfect pink. The brioche bun was slightly sweet, and proved up to the job of cradling its cargo right until the last messy morsel had been dispatched. Burger nirvana.

Stealth's Jose Jose, a beef patty with cheese, onions, sauce and salad and a good dollop of chorizo chilli relish; another fine effort that managed to be even sloppier than the Ari Gold.

Burgers here are, in a word, moist; There is a hell of a lot of juice going on when you unwrap one of these babies, Stealth was even seen cracking out the knife and fork to deal with the remenants.  While the bun managed to, just, retain its integrity when the burger was eaten straight off the grill, I'm not sure how a take out effort would fare. Although, if it tastes this good, burger soup could well be the next new craze for 2013.

Fries were, sadly, rather meh. We had arrived at the tail of a whirlwind, and these tasted a little limp and dry. Skin on, rough cut, rosemary salt; these do have plenty of potential, and I'd like to get my hands on a fresh batch straight out the fryer.

It would be almost impossible not to finish a meal here, no matter how full you feel, without sampling one of their bespoke Ice Cream Union choc ices. We managed to sample two; the white chocolate and coffee, and the peanut butter flavours.
Joe himself came over to our table at this point to instruct us to let them 'sit and mellow for five minutes, to remind you of your childhood', advice we heeded, and that left us with a crispy carapace of dark chocolate that cracked to reveal the slightly softened and gloriously creamy interior. The white chocolate and coffee was rather mild mannered, though still tasty, but the peanut butter was an utter joy. Far better than any choc ice I ever ate as a kid.

Patty and Bun is noisy, messy friendly and, most importantly, lovely. Yes there are what seems like a zillion places to get a good burger in London, but, for me, the more the merrier, and P&B's efforts rival the best burgers I've eaten anywhere. The atmosphere on their first day was brilliant, and with such good, simple and fairly priced food I wish them every success for the future.
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