Burger joints are popping up at every London corner. Long gone are the days of the word conjuring up images of McDonald's or Burger King... today, it's street food, pop-ups and non-reservation restaurants that come to mind. Is it now a matter of not being able to see the patties for all the buns? We went to the high-burger-concentration-area of this city, Soho, with two taste-testers in tow, to see what all the fuss is about.

 

ROUND ONE

Cheeseburger: dry-aged beef, red onion relish and lettuce, with mature cheese. £8.50

It’s the onions that make this burger. It’s sweet, it’s soft... even the lettuce tastes amazing. The red onion relish tastes so good – that, combined with the onions, is the best thing about this burger. They’re sautéed, nice and soft. I wouldn’t change a thing. Maybe a bit more cheese.
— Ziad
It’s definitely very sweet, the onion relish. It tastes a bit like McDonalds, but in a good way – the way you thought of McD as a child. The salad is a bit flabby, and I’m missing a tomato. If you want something simple, though, this is a good staple. It reminds me of a hipster burger.
— Louisa
A proper American burger - it tastes like I’m driving down a highway.
— Ziad

The Special: tandoori rubbed beef, griddled halloumi, vegetable Pakora, cucumber ryita and mango chutney. £11.50

Finger-licking! It has a really gentle, caramelised sweetness to it. The bun is ridiculous. I also love the mango chutney, and the halloumi is nice and squidgy. The pakora makes it the perfect burger for the start of a night out. Usually specials aren’t great, but this is so good. It tastes really authentic.
— Louisa
The bun is too soggy. The tadori meet is really nice – it tastes exactly like Indian tandori meat. The tomatoes and cucumbers blend in well. It’s ok, but not as nice as the cheeseburger. It’s too salty. The halloumi makes it too chewy. It makes me think of an Indian Kebab place.
— Ziad
It’s like a Brick Lane Curry!
— Louisa

Honest Burgers, 4a Meard Street, London W1F 0EF

 

ROUND TWO

10oz steak beefburger, served with bacon and cheese. £20

Smokey-oakey! Quite soggy, which I love. Loads of chopped salad, and pickled cucumber, is both really nice. Too many seeds on the bun for me, though. The meat is great, really thick, which makes it a bit difficult to eat. The fact that it’s chargrilled is so yummy. Eating this makes me think of the Great Plains, but the ambiance makes you feel very fancy.
— Louisa
I can’t taste the cheese, it’s quite thin. I don’t like the bun, it’s not soft enough for my taste. The meat is really good. It’s a bit of a Plain Jane burger, in a good way. It’s missing proper gherkin – I’m not a fan of the cucumber. The best thing about this is definitely the meat, it’s great.
...I still can’t stop thinking of the Honest Burgers cheeseburger.
— Ziad

Burger & Lobster, 36-38 Dean Street, London W1D 4PS

 

ROUND THREE

Cheeseburger 'all the way'. £8.00

Smudgy!! Squidgy squidgy. It’s soggy, in the best way. The bun doesn’t matter so much because the inside is so great and there’s so much going on. I have bbq, ketchup and mayo in mine. The meat is a bit plain. The cheese is the best thing, and the fact that you can add so many things. The pickles are amazing, as are the grilled onions, really good. This makes me think of Ammmerica. What do I see? I see freedom. It’s a bit bright in here.
— Louisa
Mmmmh! The cheese! The cheese is the best. It’s completely melted, and there’s a lot of it. The patties are thin, so it’s easier to eat. I have mustard and mayo, plus raw onions, and they’re really fresh. I feel like I’m in a proper Diner, in Texas somewhere. The best thing is, they’ve kept this simple. It’s just a big, fat, greasy, sloppy American burger. I just want to get in my onesie with this. The whole atmosphere yells “burgers!”.
— Ziad

Five Guys, 5-6 Argyll Street, London W1F 7TE

 

ROUND FOUR

Wagyu burger with truffle hollandaise. £15

The burger is really crunchy, because it’s deep-fried. That’s amazing. There are some onions, but no salad, so there’s nothing cutting through the fat. The meat is great. The truffle hollandaise is really gentle, not overwhelming. It gives the burger an earthy flavour. It’s an exquisite taste. I’d add some kind of acidity to make it perfect – either building in some citrus or something spicy/tangy. It’s really high-quality, you can taste that, and it’s really different. It’s so juicy. And the bun, which there is a lot of, gets better the longer you hold it, which is really rare. I’m really surprised by this. The ambiance of this place makes you want to eat meat.
— Louisa
It’s very, very rich. This is making me see stars. The meat is crunchy, it tastes really buttery. The patty is the best thing about it. It’s crispy on the outside and really soft on the inside. It’s the most surprising burger to me – the textures and tastes aren’t what you’d expect. If this were a car, it’d be a Bentley or a Maserati. I’d maybe add some salad. The size is good, too, of both the bun and the meat. It’s the Surprise Burger. The appearance is eye-catching too – the size, the shiny bun, the sauce coming out, the plank, the knife – it’s almost like the complete burger. It’s the ultimate beef burger - definitely one for meat lovers.
— Ziad

Flat Iron, 17 Beak Street, London W1F 9RW

 

ROUND FIVE

Steak burger with cheese, lettuce and tomato £9.65

Honest London Tommi's Bur
This tastes like an actual steak – very meaty, chunky bits of meat. The cheese is perfect burger cheese, that kind of fake-plastic-y American kind that you want. The salad makes it look a bit like a homemade burger – choppy onions, thick-cut tomato. The bun is nice and glazed. It has a nice taste to it, a nice bite to it. It makes me think of a hunky Argentinean. Or if it’s a footballer, it’d be Suarez, ‘cos you have to bite into it.
— Louisa
Mine’s a bit salty, but it’s really soft, it crumbles in your mouth. The tomatoes and onions are cold, which goes really well with the hot burger. I’m not a big fan of the bun, it’s a bit flimsy. The veg is really good, and the meat is really good, too. If this burger was a person, it’d be a lazy footballer. Cassano, maybe. It makes me think of a big fat steak, which isn’t for me.
— Ziad

"La Hamburguesa" with chorizo salsa, aioli, manchego and pimenton spiced patty. £8.90

Mmh. Mmh mmh mmh! The pepper chutney is really tangy and tasty, with a bit of parsley – I was just in Spain last weekend, and this tastes so Spanish. The meat is ever so slightly crunchy and then really soft on the inside. The manchego is such a delicate cheese, with some nuttiness – it’s perfect for this burger. It’s a very unique taste. The meat is half ground, so it’s not super coarse or super dry, a good balance. The spice in the patty is nice, too; the meat is great quality. It’s great. You could eat this every day.
— Louisa

Tommi's Burger Joint, 30 Thayer Street, London W1U 2QP

 

THE VERDICT

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