Burgers, up until recently have been a dirty word, something devoured at the darkest hour of the night under the golden arches and a foodstuff gobbled in stacks by the chaffingly overweight. Similarly, the addition of "pop-up" to an event description seems to immediately demean it to a desperately-seeking- trendy status and instantly results in loss of integrity and interest within the first line. With this in mind how does the Burger Monday pop up easily quash all of the above? Simply because there is no front just good unadulterated meat from the best butchers cooked lovingly by talented chefs in an honest space, it is after all all about the food.
This humble sandwiched pattie has had a fair amount of limelight shed upon it recently, with some places getting praise for mediocre sloppy excuses of what could be a glorious dish. In essence we are talking about about ground beef formed to fit inbetween bread with a tomato slither and iceberg leaf and perhaps melted cheese, despite this margins for error are awidening as the immitators are wanting a piece of this cash cow. What Daniel Young, food critic and avid fanatic displays is how it can he achieved, not once but continuously in different guises, at the heart of his events is prime beef cooked by the countries best and most uncompromising.
So one wet and dismal bank holiday Monday not so long ago we headed down to Andrews cafe in Kings Cross. Not for a dirty fry up but for a three course meal, all attention gravitating towards the burger who was being constructed by John Cadieux of Goodman's and meat supplied the very reputable O'Shea's of Knightsbridge, in their eighth generation of family butchers.
The scene was backed by a chalk board scrawled wall and cosy table of fours, filled with like minds who like to discuss food at every available moment. In front of me was what looked like the centrefold to a butchers handbook, on closer inspection it was a breakdown of what cuts our infamous pattie would be made from and surrounding this were the recipes for everything else on the menu, very handy indeed. The host swished from table to table introducing himself and explaining the intricacies of the event with admirable unflagging enthusiasm and vigour.
Then as if by magic our first course arrived, a rich but balanced casear salad. The leaves were evenly tossed in the creamy dressing and flurries of Parmesan but pleasantly spliced with saltiness from the fish segments.
|Not a very clear iPhone photo, please note the attention to detail on the disced croutons |
smattered with melted parmesan micro gratings
Not long after came the "Benchmark Burger." The burger I will now compare to all others. It was that good. My mouth first broke into the glazed and toasted bun which pleasingly straddled sweet and savory boundaries, then crunch through the fiborous iceberg to the pungent red onion and then to the robust meat. I was lured in with the smoked bacon then into the evenly charred seal, enclosing the flavours within allowing them to fortify whilst the outer bore the intensity of the heat, resulting in each bite releasing drippings of juice of which mostly ended up down your chin, on your lap and if you're lucky the under layer of the bun. With each bite I fell a lot more in love with the burger, I tried to savour the hundred island pickle with the luscious meat and the toasted sesame top but it was so delicious i finished it in record time. A notable feat for a notoriously slow and savouring eater like me!
|"The Benchmark Burger"|
Sourdough Sesame Top
Red Onion Slices
Goodman's Special Sauce
Soaked Sourdough Base
With the main attraction demolished an illogical amount of brownie sundae was presented to me raising my spirits instantly, and yes it was on par with the quality of everything else. The intense chocolate semi molten cubes were mischeviously muddled through smooth vanilla ice cream and butterscotch ripples, I powered through with a content smile and glazed eyes.
|Rich and rippled|
Everyone in the room were in similar state as I, blissfully happy but in need of a herbal tea or port, depending on preference. I was in a dilusional state of euphoria when we left and I congratulated Mr. Young with my sincere remark of "that was the best burger I have ever had the pleasure of eating" to which he coyly smiled and retorted "you haven't been to many of my Burger Mondays have you?" A clear rookie comment from me, but something I am certainly working on, the mere thought of something topping that burger leaves me in cold meat sweats.
Smugness and the need to secure a seat at the next event may explain why this wonderous secret is kept well underwraps. But I say if you love the meat, book up and pass up that Byron and wait till Monday!