31 May 2012

BurgerWeek Day 6: Restaurant Wrap-Up

Today was the 6th and final restaurant visit of BurgerWeek 2012. Tomorrow is DIY day to conclude the week. Just like mon-wed, this would be my only meal of the day. For the restaurant finale, a feast at Hawksmoor Guildhall.

don't drink the one on the left
The dining hall at this venue is large but comfortable. Nicely done. Staff friendly and efficient. I'd been to the original Hawksmoor shortly after it opened, years ago. The starters, service, chips, and dessert were all great, but they get their beef the same place I do, and I think I do at least as good a job cooking them as they do, so not worth the markup for me. But tonight was a special treat so no worries about the price, full speed ahead.

I started with the crab and samphire salad. Samphire's a bright green coastal plant that would look good in an aquarium and added a crisp, salty crunch to the sweet shredded crab meat. Simple and savoury.

It was dark, which means I need a new camera with a full-frame sensor and a new lens.
Then the burgers. Oh my! Hawksmoor wins BurgerWeek. The youngster got his with ogleshield (the only service mistake: the waitress wrongly described this as "cheddar", it was ogleshield, which is basically raclette cheese made in Somerset instead of the Alps), and I got mine with stilton. In terms of raging beefiness, this was right up there with the Bread Street Kitchen shortrib burger. The Hawksmoor version was even more succulent. While the bun was really good and acquitted itself well, this does take skill to eat. My recommendend technique: cut it in half first. The thick patty was cooked flawlessly. A bit messy but no complaints. Spectacular.

The chips were also excellent. We tried both the "triple cooked chips" and the "beef drippings chips". The former are what I would considered standard chips and the latter are the very-thick variety. I prefer the former but execution on both sets was simply flawless. Even the oversized ones were crispy on the outside, fluffy and on the inside.
we serve both kinds of chips, country and western

I couldn't resist ordering creamed spinach, which was tender, sweet, and spiced just right. After all that, somehow the youngster managed a dessert of bitter chocolate mousse with orange compote. Kudos all around. A worthy and fitting end to the restaurant series.

So the final overall rankings, not a dud in the bunch, all recommended 
Lucky Chip
Bread Street Kitchen
Rivington Grill
Our rankings were nearly identical, except the youngster puts MEATmarket ahead of Lucky Chip.

Interesting variation on cheeses, with Lucky Chip, MEATmarket, and Byron opting for american-style, Rivington surprisingly the lone cheddar, BSK monterey jack (would likely sell well in stores if people knew what to do with it, but is very hard to find here), and Hawksmoor offering ogleshield or stilton.

beef zealots award: Hawksmoor, Bread Street Kitchen
best chips: Hawksmoor, runner up Rivington Grill
best overly thick chips: Hawksmoor, Bread Street Kitchen
best bun: Bread Street Kitchen, honourable mention Hawksmoor, Rivington Grill
best special occasion, no holds barred treat: Hawksmoor
most likely to return soon, and often: Lucky Chip, MEATmarket
most likely to return with rest of family: Byron
most comfortable chairs: Hawksmoor
best music: Rivington Grill
best way to prepare lettuce for a burger: shredded

plus a special nod to burgerapp, for providing inspiration and spot-on recommendations

Lucky Chip: yay! likely to be a regular stop on saturday market day
MEATmarket: great fun, charming place, will look for excuses to end up near covent garden
Rivington Grill: really nice, but not exactly our style of burger, likely to go back but to get something else
Bread Street Kitchen: as good as it should be, will be hard to get anything other than the burger upon return, even though the rest of the menu looked good
Byron: don't have to settle for GBK if a Byron is nearby; great stop for the whole family
Hawksmoor: living up to the highbrow standard

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