Anyone who’s spent any time in London in the past several years will have picked up on something different in the air… like the fragrant aroma of melted cheese, or the far-off sizzle of meat on the grill. Yes, Britain’s burger revolution is upon us, and the best burgers in London bear no resemblance to limp fast food specimens or charred-beyond-recognition pub grub.
Fact is, if you’re a burger-lover in London, you’re living in something of a golden age. There are now dozens of restaurants, chains, and pop-ups that cater to the capital’s taste for meat-and-bun alchemy, and what they’re slinging couldn’t be farther from the dried-out buns, flavourless patties and skimpy condiments of yore.
These burgers take the American burger bar, diner, and casual shack as their inspiration. Picture: soft potato bread rolls, seared and perfectly salted meat, a sloppy cascade of melted cheese, oozing ketchup and brilliant yellow mustard, and the vinegary snap of gherkin slices and raw onions. Together, it’s a symphony of sweet-salty-umami flavours.
No one owns the title of best burgers in London better than the inimitable MEATliquor. Founded by Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins, the concept underwent some intensive R&D (including multiple trips to the States) before seeing the light of day. Their research has paid off: the MEATliquor dead hippie burger is certainly one of the city’s best. Consisting of two patties, American cheese, special sauce, shredded lettuce, and gherkins, it’s the juiciest and sloppiest affair this side of the Atlantic. It’s even finer when served alongside MEATliquor’s Monkey Fingers (crispy battered chicken with delectable dipping sauces) and a bourbon-based cocktail or two.
Foodies looking to embark on a London burger crawl also have an array of other options to fill out their itineraries. While favourite US chains Shake Shack and Five Guys are both beloved additions to the city’s dining scene, stick with the British burger boom at Dirty Burger, now with outlets across the capital. Styled as a dingy burger shack, complete with aluminium siding and a very casual environment, the eatery specialises in straight-from-the-grill molten burgers. Those after a diner-style burger can head to Notting Hill’s Electric Diner, for a knife-speared, two-patty tower of meat and cheese.
London’s food trucks are also an excellent resource for top-notch burgers on the go. Based in Brockley Market and also commonly found at Camden Brewery and Street Feast, Mother Flipper serves superbly hearty, bacon-laced specimens (try the Double Candy Bacon Flipper). Lucky Chip is another winner. Found in Dalton, Camden and Islington, as well as pop-ups all over town, the burger’s thick and meaty patty make it a standout.
London’s burger revolution is now one of the city’s most exciting culinary trends. Get started at MEATliquor and explore from there – you’re sure to discover some truly inspired burgers.
Written by Claire Bullen
Burger with fries © iStock: Lisovskaya
London burger revolution © Electric Diner