How much do you think is too much to spend on a burger? A tenner? Fifty quid? Last week saw some write ups of a crazily priced US$250 burger at Beer and Buns in NYC, filled with caviar, foie gras, kobe beef and truffle. Even if I had that cash to splash I wouldn’t over indulge on that one. I may love burgers, but I’m no crazy lady…
Luckily my hometown of London is crammed full of bargain burgers – not cheapo and nasty, but well priced street food burgers with high quality ingredients – Bleeker St Burger (post here) and Burger Bear (post here) are some of my most loved.
For pricier patty and bun combinations, Bar Boulud‘s famed piggie burger at the Mandarin Oriental hotel is a delicious, safe bet if you’re looking for a slightly more lux burger and setting (£14). Over at expanding chain Burger and Lobster, the small percentage not ordering lobster can part with £20 for a burger. It’s big, it’s decent enough. But £20 for a burger? For me it’s verging on too much.
That’s why I keep my more expensive burgers for special occasions, or when work are paying, natch. But the burger at Little Social was a very special occasion, for it was to be my last burger before my London Marathon in April 2014.
Yes I was advised by my multi-marathon runner AND ultra-marathon running friend that I really should lay off the burgers and eat more healthy things like…quinoa. Now, I struggle to even pronounce quinoa, let alone eat it, so this made me nervous. I thought if this was to be my last burger for a few months, I’d shell out more dollar and make it a real goodie.
In this case, “shelling out” meant spending £15 on a burger, fries and side salad, which for a Jason Atherton restaurant, is a blooming steal. For all you tourists visiting London, this restaurant is in a prime sightseeing and shopping location, just a short skip from Oxford Street. It’s got a bistro vibe, and as it’s a restaurant as opposed to burger joint it’s a little swankier (ie for me, less trainers, more lipstick). The other exciting thing about going here is that you can BOOK A TABLE. Yes enough of that queuing shit over at those places striving to be cool, at Little Social you can actually choose when you want to eat, and book in advance – which means no standing in the rain being spoken to like a child by rude doormen. How refreshing.
This bacon cheeseburger is sublime. I can say this with full confidence, not because it was to be my last burger for two months so I was getting heavily involved, but because it really is the nuts. Served medium rare, the stubby little meaty bundle is a beautiful combination of aged Scottish beef, bacon, cheese, caramelised onions and pickles. Even the brioche bun is super rich, and to quote my friend “this bun does mysterious little things to me.” I’m not entirely sure what she means, but what I do know is as far as seeded buns ago (which I tend not to like) this dusting of seeds is a triumph. Inside the medium rare burger is layered with the crispiest of crispy salty bacon. The cheese has glided down over the patty and is topped with soft and sweet oozy onions and tart pickles, all merging together in a flavour and texture combination that makes my eyes bulge in awe on every mouthful.
|As you can see, Little Social enjoys dim lighting|
On the side the fries are thin and crispy, and even the salad is brilliant. Did I just say that? Yes really, the leaves were lightly dressed and a thoughtful addition providing a tangy burst of freshness in between each rich bite.
Now my little heart stopped for a second when I first saw the burger arrive, as I was concerned it might be a bit on the small side. But I’ve come to realise that I am a) always complaining that burgers are too small b) a bit of a fatso c) always proved wrong – this super rich burger didn’t need to be a single bite bigger. Not when you order the funky cheesy poutine special too!
Admittedly it is towards the top end of what I’m willing to pay for a burger, but for a lovely relaxed restaurant vibe, great wine list, strong bread and butter (hey, the bread and butter is important) and for a fantastic burger, it was worth every one of my hard earned pennies.
One thing I will say to end this post is never trust someone doing a 70 mile ultra-marathon. Who on earth would recommend that I should eat LESS burgers when I am trying to run a marathon – albeit a normal 26.2 mile one. Trundling through all these bloody miles has been traumatic enough, it’s hardly wise to make it even more difficult by denying myself one of my favourite foodstuffs.
And on that note, adios. I’ve jiggled around London on a very long training run this weekend, and I need to go and refuel… Little Social wasn’t my last burger before the marathon. If anything it was just the one mile marker.
Little Social, 5 Pollen Street, Mayfair, W1S 1NE
Tel: 0207 870 3730 – RING AND BOOK!
OR BOOK ONLINE! www.littlesocial.co.uk