Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
After a particularly arduous meeting in London on business, I felt the need for something deeply dirty (no not that) on the food front before my train back home.
On the dirty food front you can’t go wrong with a quality burger and side and one of my favourite burger joints is Patty & Bun, an outfit with branches on Liverpool Street, Hackney and James Street (off Oxford Street).
I visited the latter branch, which is part of a particularly fertile burger zone with Meat Liquor (and their glorious dead hippie burger ), Honest Burger and Tommi’s Burger Joint (an Icelandic place – yes it also struck me as odd – which I have yet to try).
Tucked away right at the top of James Street (away from the madness of Oxford Street) it is very unassuming on the outside and the inside. It almost has a pop up (dare I say unfinished) feel to it. Nothing fancy schmancy about this place.
When I arrived it was packed inside, with groups of people waiting outside for a table to become available. Whilst dining alone can sometimes be a bit dispiriting (thank the Lord for smart phones) it can be a positive boon in places, such as Patty & Bun, which have a no reservation policy. A couple who arrived before me were told it would be a 15 minute wait and a party of four told even longer, I, however, waltzed in and was seated by the side of the bar (albeit on a stool). This made me feel über smug.
The joint operates on a quick and dirty basis (burger wise) in terms of table/stool turning with orders taken quickly and no encouragement to linger after the food (although it is fair to say nor was their active encouragement to make space).
You don’t get a plate or even a tray, just a brown paper sheet placed in front of you. Cutlery and napkins come in a communal tin. Make sure you are in close proximity to that tin as you will need a lot of napkins! I used up a prodigious number.
The menu is admirably brief having a choice of 6 burgers and a few side
I, for some reason, have developed a bit of an intolerance to starchy carbs (shakes fist at the sky and shouts “why!!!”) so can’t OD on them. As a result I decided to skip on the customary side of fries (although I was sorely tempted by the option to have them with the roasted chicken mayo with chicken skin salt on offer here – sounded sooo good) and went for one of the chicken sides in the form of their “Thunder Thighs” (£5.50).
These beauties consisted of 3 prodigiously sized, confited, chicken thighs, with delightfully crispy skin (there are not many things better than properly seasoned crispy chicken skin) slathered in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce and finished off with a generous scattering of smoked peanuts and lightly pickled smashed cucumber.
Asian inspired, with all the flavours marrying perfectly, this really was a humdinger of a dish. It was a meal in itself due to the size of those meaty thighs. I loved everything about them.
Next up was the main “burger” event. Whilst I am generally quite conservative in my burger tastes – usually going for a simple cheese burger (with the possible addition, if I am feeling particularly daring, of bacon) here the rather wonderfully named “Lambshank Redemption” burger (£8) took my fancy.
This at first sight looked very much along the lines of “too much going on” for me, with references to buttermilk marinated courgettes, smoked aubergines, a middle eastern cumin aloli and feta. It all, with the possible exception of the courgettes, worked very well together.
The key to any burger is of course the patty (I do feel some places forget this and think it is all about the toppings – it isn’t) and here it was thick and cooked a beguiling “pink”, with that lovely flavour of lamb fat to it. I don’t know where they get their meat from, but this was top quality lamb.
Burgers here are cooked medium rare, unless you foolishly ask otherwise.
The generously sized patty had a nice exterior crust and that yielding texture to its interior that you only get from ones hand formed. I got a nice hit of coriander and just a touch of chilli.
The cumin aloli and pickled aubergine work really well, as did the feta with its natural affinity to lamb. The courgette fritter less so and it was to me a step too far. It was nice enough, but to my mind added little to the burger package as a whole. I would not have missed it if it hadn’t been there.
This was a dirty burger with juice aplenty, but it could at least initially be eaten hand to mouth (as any proper burger should). The bun was a touch bready for me and whilst holding up manfully for a while eventually collapsed under the weight of fatty lamb juice. The fact that my tie and suit came out of this meal unscathed was a minor miracle – my face and hands on the other hand were a total mess.
All in all this was one of the best burgers I have had in a long while and it was by far the best lamb burger I have ever eaten.
As it was a work day lunch and I was driving later, it was a soft drink for me rather than booze.
including the seemingly off menu “Ting” (£1.50 I think), a Caribbean grapefruit based drink and Carribean Ginger beer (this with the rums and red stripe give the place a certain Carribean feel drinks wise).
I went for the former and it was just the “ting” (couldn’t resist it – sorry) to cut the richness of the lamb patty.
On the booze front they have two main beers (Red Stripe – £3.95 – and Purity Brewing Co. Longhorn IPA – £4.75). They also have specials, but I didn’t see what these were on the day in question.
On the wine front they do a house white and red by both the glass and the carafe. No idea as to quality, but they are keenly priced at £4 a glass and £10 for a carafe (no indication as to the size of these mind).
A cracking burger and a truly stupendous side in the form of those wondrous thighs. To borrow a phrase from Red in the Shawshank Redemption, I might not be prepared to crawl “through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness” for that burger and those thunder thighs, but I can’t wait to visit Patty & Bun again. It puts the likes of US imports Five Guys and Shake Shack to shame in terms of quality and ultimately value for money. Burger redemption indeed.
54 JAMES ST
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Tel: 020 7487 3188
Closest tube station: Bond Street
Mon – Sat : 12 – 11pm
Sun: 11am – 10pm