The current burger renaissance has brought with it a growing, near mystical focus on mythology. By that, I mean how provenance, design and background combine to deepen and differentiate the experience of each creation.
While all food has this to some extent – think Hereford rump steak hung for 28 days – it’s more granular with burgers. It’s about shifting proportions of different cuts of meat, thickness of grain, seasoning, condiments and accompaniments. Between those two brackets of bun, there’s a battlefield of countless permutations.
It’s easy to get a bit carried away with all this. However, one thing I do know: every time someone discusses the chuck to rib ratio and the knock-on effects for total fat content, my mouth has a nice time while brain patiently tries to absorb the info.
It turns out that this attention to detail is really mostly a manifestation of the love the chef has put into the dish. Such is the case with the most recent BurgerMonday event, BURGERMAT.
BurgerMonday is an event created by Daniel Young (aka YoungAndFoodish), a man with a smile as big as your head whose mission, in his own words, is “to seek out the best, from carbonara to burgers, pizza to steak frites, and create events showcasing top discoveries.”
On this occasion, it was an extra special “Burgermat” event which saw Burgerac join the picture and provide signed prints of burger-themed art and designs. Which was ace and gave the night a welcome broader focus (checkout my neat one by Intercity Design above.)
So, Fred Smith‘s one-off Burgermat Bacon Cheeseburger:
Thick Chuck (50%), Short Rib (25%) and Rib Cap (25%) and served more rare than I’ve ever seen. Given all this, I was sad to feel so little of the beef’s flavour in a mouthful. It’s always tricky in balancing burgers – all I can think is that perhaps so little time on the heat meant a lack of meaty crust.
Alongside it in the pillowy brioche bun, a thin slither of subtle bacon and slice of tomato join another interesting idea – a mustard and iceberg lettuce coleslaw.
The theory here is that crunchy lettuce is a must in a burger but risks introducing too much water or stem instead of leaf. Instead, this mix provides a double whammy of another flavour and an interesting texture without wetting the bun. It’s a good idea which worked nicely and offset other flavours like the bacon pretty well.
Finally, a slice of Halloumi-style Bermondsey Frier from Borough Market baters Kappacasein ticks the cheese box with a texture and subtle taste I’d not experienced before in a burger. However, like the slaw, the beef and the bacon, it made me sad that it was coming through at a volume of 5 rather than 7.
So, if you haven’t picked up by now, that’s the catch for me – everything in the mix seemed to sit together in the mid-level. As a result, my recollection is of a greyish landscape of flavour rather than explosions of the different tastes. On the other hand, fragrant girlfriend completely disagreed with this statement so there’s always the possibility mine was a dud.
This may read a little like a negative review tinged with disappointment but this was a tasty burger, one which clearly had attention and love lavished up on it and one I’d happily eat again. But there’s also a more important conclusion to be had here.
The experience of Burgermat as a whole was a joy and one to be recommended in a heartbeat. I know I’ll be first in line for tickets to the next BurgerMonday and look forward to keeping an eye on the other events that Daniel puts together. They’re a genuine and welcome opportunity to sample creations of chefs having a good time experimenting outside of the typical restaurant structure.
Head to youngandfoodish.com and register your interest to make sure you’re first on the list for the next ones – I have a feeling the competition for tickets is just hotting up…