Patty & Bun
With several locations dotted around London, and now a restaurant in Brighton, Patty and Bun is a must-stop for burger lovers. With its retro open-plan interior, wooden tables, brick walls, graffiti drawings and neon lighting, the Hackney branch is particularly cool. Our menu favourite? The Ari Gold cheeseburger: in a brioche bun, a 35-day-aged Aberdeen Angus patty is loaded with gooey American cheese, smokey mayo and home-pickled red onion rings.
This restaurant doesn’t just serve great steak; the burgers are pretty tasty too. Seasonally changing specials are solid options but, for those in the know, the star of the menu is undoubtedly the Hawksmoor Hamburger. The meat comes from carefully selected cuts of well-aged Longhorn cattle and is given extra welly with the inclusion of bone marrow. Melted Olgeshield cheese is creamy and glutinous – the perfect pairing to this seriously luxe take on the traditional meat sandwich.
Spanning Islington and Tottenham, the two branches of Lucky Chip are but showcases for the kitchen’s Mexican-inspired El Chappo burger. Combining an aged beef patty with a heady mix of smoked bacon, blue cheese, roasted jalapenos and aioli, it is sharp, salty and smokey – and packs an almighty flavour punch.
Mac & Wild
Once a street-food sensation serving up Scottish wild game to Londoners, Mac & Wild now operates out of two restaurants: one in Fitzrovia, the other on Devonshire Square. But fret not: the wood tables are rough-hewn, the bricks are bare and the meat still comes from co-owner Andy Waugh’s dad’s estate. Its best burger brings together one beef patty and one venison patty, sandwiched by masses of cheese and a ton of pickles. The Veni-Moo is, unsurprisingly, a bestseller at both restaurants.
Come weekends, Mother Flipper turns burgers at Brockley market on Saturdays, then Victoria Park market on Sundays. Hunt its stall down for a twisted take on the classic American hamburger. Double patties make this a seriously big eat, slathered in stringy cheese and sweet crispy strips of sugared ‘candy bacon’ onions, barbecue sauce and tomato relish. Turn up with an empty stomach and don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Way back in 2008, the MEATwagon was a burger van in a Peckham industrial-estate carpark. After its theft came #MEATeasy, a debauched three-month pop-up above an abandoned pub in New Cross. Eventually the first permanent MEATliquor restaurant opened in W1 and the rest is history. The Margaret Street original is still dark and loud, more rave-era nightclub than restaurant. Its signature serve is the Dead Hippie. Decadence in a bun, it features two mustard-fried beef patties covered in melted cheese and adorned with pickles, lettuce, Dead Hippie sauce and minced raw onions. The cocktails aren’t bad either.
Dip & Flip
With Wimbledon and Tooting joining the Battersea Rise original, there are now three permanent Dip & Flips as well as a rooftop pop-up in Waterloo. The Dip & Flip burger itself is the house fave. A beef patty is smothered in cheese and served in a shiny soft brioche bun – just as you’d expect from any trad burger, but there’s a kicker here: thin slices of gravy-dipped roast beef. Mustard, dill mayo, ketchup and pickles are all there too, but it’s the accompanying bowl of thick gravy that makes this one a showstopper.
Burger & Lobster
There’s a clue in the name, but this mini chain of nine restaurants keeps things pretty simple: lobster, lobster roll and a burger. There are variations on these three dishes, including a veggie option, but the Original burger is still the best. Made from Nebraskan farmed beef, it comes with tomato, house-made pickles, onions and a secret sauce. Our tip? Add bacon and cheese.
Within the Ace Hotel, Hoi Polloi is as cool as you’d expect from a collaboration with the team behind Bistrotheque. This vast wood-panelled, 70s-style dining hall serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and great cocktails, but it’s the burger that keeps everyone coming back. A huge and juicy patty is served with lashings of melted cheese and slaw in a fluffy brioche bun. Don’t miss out on the dripping chips as a side.
100 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JQ
Meat & Shake
The hipsters have reached Tooting. Red leather booths and bare bulbs give the restaurant an American diner vibe to offset its more refined food. The imaginative menu at Meat & Shake includes perfect burgers infused with truffle. They arrive in their own smokey chamber. The Luchador is a Mexican mix of nachos, jalapenos and guacamole with a 35-day dry-aged beef patty from Macken Bros of Selfridges. Brilliant sides seal the deal – just bear in mind this halal-friendly diner is alcohol-free.
47 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, SW17 7TR
Around the corner from Borough Market, Yen Burger is a stylish little spot, all dark grey walls, wooden tables and dinky stools. Alongside Asian-influenced cocktails, it serves burgers that meld American burger culture with Japanese ingredients and flavours. The Yen Supreme Burger features a 100% wagyu beef patty, fresh pickles, smoked turkey bacon, cheese and a shiso leaf. This is fusion done right: its fluffy bao-like bun delivers a flavour and texture combo you’ll start to crave in all your burgers.
Southwark Street, London Bridge, SE1 1RQ
Blacklock’s latest, third chophouse inhabits a classic Shoreditch warehouse space. The menu is – not surprisingly – heavy with chops (‘skinny’ little chops, ‘medium’ chops and ‘large’ off-the-bone beauties). The less expected ace up its sleeve is the Blacklist burger. You won’t see it on the menu, but ask for it by name and they’ll nod knowingly. Inside a soft sesame bun, you get a juicy patty loaded with sliced gherkin and onions caramelised in vermouth, plus a slug of mild sriracha-laced burger sauce. Don’t forget a side order of crispy beef-dripping fries.
Rivington Street, Hackney, EC2A 3DZ
BB stands out because it cooks its burgers ‘pretty rare’. From a pitch among the stalls of Soho’s Street Food Union (Wed-Fri), its star turn is a cheese burger pimped up with nuggets of candy bacon, plus red onion and lettuce – all in a soft brioche bun. It’s good on its own, but can be elevated further with a punchy sauce – choose from a huge range, including chipotle mayo.
Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 7PF
Chic interiors courtesy of ultra-slick owner Soho House, reasonable prices and exceptional cooking have earned Dirty Burger a cult following. A blend of carefully selected cuts goes into each patty, for a depth of flavour that, when combined with pickles, cheese, lettuce, tomato and condiments, makes for a seriously good burger. The best bite on the menu? The classic cheeseburger. Don’t forget to add bacon and, if you’ve got room, the triple-cooked hand-cut chips or the tempura-battered onion fries.
Intricately balanced, cooked to perfection, and large enough to keep you satisfied for the rest of the day. A Baggio burger is the perfect way to kick off the weekend (or any other day of the week for that matter.) Cooked to a medium rare, don’t be fooled by the slightly darker colour to these patties, as this is caused by a garlic and balsamic addition rather than overcooking. The Classic Roberto is a firm favourite on the menu which is unsurprising when you take into account the sophisticated flavours of stringy mozzarella, crispy Parma Ham, sun dried tomato relish, pickle and rocket sandwiched together with a brioche bun. If you’re feeling greedy, there’s an option to double up, we won’t judge.
CRATE Building, 35 St James St, Walthamstow, London E17 7FY
Bleecker Burger started as a market stall, but its first bricks-and-mortar operation in Victoria has quickly been followed by openings in Spitalfields, Bloomberg and Westfield. We love its double cheeseburger, which is well-aged beef, plenty of sticky America cheese and fried onions in a soft white bun. Want something even meatier? The Bleecker Black has a slice of black pudding thrown in.
The rapidly expanding Honest group now has its own butchery outfit. It uses chuck and rib-cap cuts in its burgers, and the meat is hand chopped as opposed to minced. Flat patties are served pink and everything comes with rosemary seasoned chips as standard. You can’t go wrong with the splendid simplicity of Honest’s eponymous original. The prime-beef patty is generously fatty – good news for flavour and juiciness – and is served with crisp bacon, mature cheddar and a freshly-baked bun.
US burger chain Shake shack opened its first London outlet back in 2013 and that Covent Garden Piazza branch is still its flagship. Despite large indoor and outdoor areas, queues can still be as substantial as the SmokeShack burger. This regular cheeseburger is topped with applewood-smoked bacon, piquant peppers and creamy, sweet, slightly spicy ShackSauce, all served up in a little waxed paper jacket. A Big Mac for millennials, basically.
Burger & Beyond
As street-food traders, the Burger & Beyond boys pride themselves on ageing and butchering the best home-reared meat. Now they’ve brought all their expertise to a bespoke burger restaurant in Shoreditch. Trendily decorated and with a well-equipped bar, the new place’s repertoire of burgers features vegetarian, fish and fried chicken alternatives in addition to three aged-patty options that use meat from the team’s own farm. The jewel in the menu’s crown is the Bougie Burg, with its two aged patties, cold-smoked American cheese, onions cooked in beef fat, bone marrow-infused mayonnaise and steak sauce that runs like gravy.
Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JE
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