Megan Walsh jumps on the hype and re-evaluates her relationship with burgers
I’M not really a burger person. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy them, but I’d usually say that ordering a burger is a bit of a cop-out, like ordering lasagne at a really up-scale Italian. Or, God forbid, ordering steak and chips at the local Chinese.
I’ve never understood the dirty burger trend, either. Not once have I been to Five Guys, and the likes of Almost Famous et al, with all their pulled pork bravado, just don’t do it for me.
It’s been three days and I still can’t get it (or those fries) out of my head
Maybe I’ve had too many mediocre burgers at family barbeques. You know the type: coin-sized patties grilled within an inch of existence, completely lost inside buns about the same size of your head. A ratio that irritates me to the very core.
That said, burgers definitely serve a certain purpose – like today, when I’m nursing the mother of all hangovers after a night of singing my heart out at Liverpool’s Fusion Festival, and hankering after comfort carbs and plenty of protein.
There are more than a few Honest Burgers knocking about the UK – 34, in fact, with London getting its fair share – but you’ll find the new Scouse branch at the top end of Bold Street; a worthy location to contend with some of the city’s best-loved food spots. Inside it’s smart, very smart: reminiscent of on old butcher’s shop with deep green tiling and black steel framing, a simple chalk wall displaying menu items.
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, it serves burgers and only burgers - with the exception of a few sides. We skipped the sides today, but, if you reckon you can manage it, the onion rings (£4) looked sound.
It wasn’t busy when we arrived at around 4.30pm, which meant there was nobody at front of house, which meant we were left to pick a seat for ourselves. This was fine, albeit a little bewildering, but it also meant that the menu wasn’t explained – so we missed the opportunity to add a side of beef and bacon gravy; a dreamy addition I discovered only after my visit.
My hangover was tempted by everything, but after a toss-up I went for the Liverpool Burger (£12.50): a local special developed in collaboration with Lark Lane’s Middle Eastern restaurant Hafla Hafla. I paired it with a schooner of the local Bold St Pale (£3.75), a refreshing ale from Baltic Triangle brewers Black Lodge.
I didn’t realise it was a thing, but apparently we Scousers are obsessed with all things salt and pepper (probably because of all the Chinese chippies knocking about), so the Liverpool Burger comes topped with stir-fried veggies, an unlikely but welcome addition to the grilled halloumi, spring onions and Sriracha mayo.
The Chilli Burger (£11.50), complete with bacon, definitely left a tingle on the tongue, its kick eradicating any stale sins of the night before. It was drenched in hot sauce and jalapeno relish, and, along with the red onion and chilli cheese, invoked a few stifled coughs as the concoction of spice hit the throat.
The beef patties had a good texture, were well cooked – the bun-to-patty ratio was also to be admired – and they were seasoned to perfection. Speaking of seasoning: forget about the burgers because the star of the show here has to be the unbelievably moreish rosemary salted fries. They accompany every burger and I could have carried on eating them until the cows came home. You can order an extra portion for a few quid – and I wholly recommend doing so.
I could have done with something sweet to round everything off, but there are no desserts, which is probably my only gripe. Still, this isn’t a dessert place, it’s a burger place. Just be prepared to take your sweet tooth elsewhere.
Can I say it was the best burger in the world? No. I’m not a burger fanatic, so my claim would be flawed. But what I will say is this: it’s been three days and I still can’t get it (or those fries) out of my head. Some could say I’ve been converted and, if I’m honest – I think I might agree.
Honest Burgers, 100 Bold Street, L1 4HY
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All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Food and drink
Bold St Pale 8, Liverpool Burger 8, Chilli Burger 8, Rosemary Salted Chips 10
Very friendly and attentive after a shaky, slightly absent, start
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