Let’s face it, London is teaming with burger joints – some are brilliant, and some, well, you get what you pay for. And while we enjoy ordering a ‘posh’ burger from the swankier restaurants of W1, a new generation of classy fast food chains have also emerged.
The latest newcomer is BRGR.CO – a chain born in Beirut (yes, really) and the first sister restaurant to open in the UK.
Their ethos is ‘classic, fuss-free burgers’ and they claim they’ve gone ‘back to basics’ in their style. Plus, they source the finest 28-day-aged cuts of beef from the Duke of Buccleuch Estate in South West Scotland. We hot-footed it to Soho to do the test.
The restaurant itself presents you with bare-brick walls, warm lighting and dark oak tables.
As we arrived at the corner of Wardour and Noel Street we were greeted by a bustling atmosphere and energetic team working from an open front kitchen. Passing artistic cow heads that adorned the walls, we were led to other side of the split-room positioned cosily close to the couple beside us.
The venue itself leans towards quirky. Brown paper place mats are printed with BRGR.CO’s proverb-like writings.
‘Brgology’, (apparently) is ‘the study of burgers’. And the time it takes to gain a ‘PhD in Brgrology’ is equal to the time it takes to master the art of carving the prized and tricky Fugu fish. Well, there you go.
As diners next to us tucked into a stack of crispy buttermilk onion rings and a gooey macaroni cheese ‘starter’ called ‘Mac ‘n’ cheese’, we went straight for the main stars of the show.
I had the 6oz butcher’s cut from the gourmet signature list which was succulent, juicy, and gained top marks for its shiny, softly toasted bun. My other half went for the Masterpiece – filled with flavour by the marbled fat that runs through the cut.
With his black peppercorn sauce and my ‘Hunter’ sauce – it soon became a race to finish our food without becoming engulfed in juice. Very tasty in itself, but next time, I’d happily swap the forgettable Hunter sauce for a squirt of ketchup.
The parmesan truffle fries were a bit dry but had fabulous flavour. The side of coleslaw with the small salad garnish also helped create what I think makes a good burger.
BRGR.CO may give the impression they don’t take themselves too seriously. But a little research told us its partners ‘searched the world’ for the best burger and teamed up with highly-esteemed chef Hussein Hadid to find the finest cuts of meat.
As we sipped on our oreo and vanilla shakes, the room was filled with the sound of the Temptations and what seemed like generally happy diners. I momentarily imagined I was in mid-town Manhattan.
We couldn’t have possibly fitted in a dessert. But we did sample one of their creative boozy options – a blend of vodka and homemade lemonade.
It’s cool, quirky and wins on juiciness and style. And if you’re a Soho-ite who likes a certain edginess with your fast-food, it’s worth dropping by.
BRGR.CO, 187 Wardour Street, London, 0207 7348 750
By Lucy McGuire