Category Archives: Burger and Chips

Gourmet Veggie Burger and Chips at The Ice Wharf, Camden

I’ve reviewed the beef burger from the latest Wetherspoon Menu, with which they give you a burger with chips and a drink for only £5.10. I’ve only just realised that for £1.59 more, they give you a GOURMET variation of their cheap-o meal, and I couldn’t pass the opportunity over.

The Veggie Burger is a great alternative to a hunk of mashed cow. Contrary to popular belief, humans CAN survive without a dead animal between their teeth three times a day. I was as surprised as you are! What surprised me more is the great feeling I get by not subconsciously thinking “I wonder what he thought before they electrocuted him”.

I’ve been having more and more vegetarian meals since a couple of weeks, which may or may not have coincided with the arrival of our new Kenwood Food Processor and a variety of smoothies we made. Somehow I just don’t fancy meat anymore. Good!

The Ice Wharf is a Wetherspoon Freehouse, very large on the inside, it’s music-free and is situated by the vibrant Camden Lock. The area has recently been redeveloped, and you can even sit outside and get smashed by the water. Brilliant! But back to the actual meal review…

Gourmet Veggie Burger - £6.59 with drink
Gourmet Veggie Burger - £6.59 with drink

The Burger comes with everything it says on the menu:

Stacked high on a soft bun (smaller than a DVD), there’s tomatoes, onions, a tiny bit of lettuce, a big flat mushroom (grilled to perfection), and a generous dollop of Levi Root’s Reggae Reggae Sauce – new to me as well, and not as spicy as I had expected. Very nice though.

In between all this we find a patty made of puy lentils, sweet corn and cheese, in a batter. Really filling, and very nice indeed. We also find three of the (exactly) 6 onion rings I had missed at first glance. It’s all held together with a giant toothpick, served with chunky chips which – like on my last visit – could have benefitted from another couple of minutes in the deep fryer.

It comes with a choice of alcoholic pint size drinks or coke/water/coffee/tea – ready in about 10 minutes. Goes to prove you CAN have a decent meal for much less than a tenner on the high street these days.

VERDICT:

Although not “the perfect dream burger”, this baby gets the highest remarks for value. £6.59 includes a pint of beer or cider, it’s delicious and filling – recommend it to your friends today. We’ve tried a similar meal in another Wetherspoon’s Pub in Wood Green, and the quality across the brand is consistent.

113 Thumbs Up from this reviewer!





Burger and Chips from McDonald’s, Chiswick

After such an amazing experience with my own home made burgers, I thought I’d give the Chiswick High Street ago and seek out the ultimate defender of the burger.

They stopped counting once they had sold their billionth burger, they had countless re-designs of their stores and re-bradnings. They’ve never had a good review in their life and were under public scrutiny since 1982 – of course I’m talking about the one and only Mc Donald’s.

The Big Tasty... apparently with bacon
The Big Tasty... apparently with bacon

I’ve seen this particular candidate on their menu before, called The Big Tasty.

Inevitably, I associate this burger with the taste of human flesh… there’s something about the special sauce that reminds me of when the German cannibalism trial was on (remember? Bloke answers an ad and wants to be eaten, then eats parts of himself with the other guy? Not funny!) – think that’s when the Big Tasty came to Britain.

First things first:

I ordered the one with bacon. It said “with bacon” on the box, and that’s certainly what I’ve paid my £5.29 for (that’s with soggy fries and a flat diet coke). Bacon would seriously have made a difference here – but it was not to be. 27 thumbs down for that to start the review.

Next up:

the burger itself. Bigger than the bun, fried well (at Micky Dee’s, they’re not grilled you know). There’s something about that beef taste though… I’m sure it’s not 100% as the advert claims.

mm_big-tasty-bacon
Is this the same product?

We also find some “special sauce” on this thing, a slice of tomato, some lettuce, cheese (preformed) and onions. It’s all like the advert describes, it just does’t look like it.

When I ordered the “large meal”, I didn’t recall being asked if I wanted some chips with my salt either! I did find some though: soggy, not sweaty, and with that typical Mc Donald’s fat taste once they cool down. You know, the one that sticks to your gums long after the meal is over.

This burger combo gets some plus points in regards to price though:

for the same amount of food, you sually have to shill out a lot more money. And when you do, you don’t get a headache later that day, like in this example (now we know what we pay extra for). My overall wellbeing after eating this was… well… not amazing.

Sure I survived, and I’ve lived on an almost exclusive Mc Donald’s diet many moons ago – but it looks like over the years my body has developed senses for what’s good and what isn’t. This clearly isn’t!

Do you see any damn bacon on this thing?
Do you see any damn bacon on this thing?

In conclusion:

This monster of a huge burger isn’t for the faint hearted. In fact, it’s for NOBODY. Do youself a favour and order the nuggets instead.

Verdict: 47 Thumbs Down!

————————————

FURTHER READING:

If you like to try your own hand at running The Fast Food Business and experience the difficulties first hand, why not try the amazing McVideo Game at http://www.mcvideogame.com/ (not endorsed by McDonald’s btw)





Burger and Chips at The Green Court – featuring my own burger recipe

Home made burgers... 47 Thumbs Up!
Home made burgers... 47 Thumbs Up!

It was time for me to roll up my sleeves and see if I still had it in me. Why put everybody else to the test, when I can do these things myself?

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for MY OWN homemade burgers!

Here’s the secret recipe:

  • Take the leanest steak mince you can find, say from Sainsbury’s. Have 500g (one pound) or a tad more.
  • I recommend steak mince over ordinairy beef mince, especially over “half pork, half beef”, and that’s not because I’m scared of Swine Flue. Anything other than steak mince. The reason is that other minces will leak, and on the grill, smoke up the joint.
  • Make sure you actually USE THE MINCE before it turns into some gray gunk stinking up your fridge
  • Get some cos or iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onions if you like
  • Make sure you USE THIS TOO before it turns into green slime – I’ve seen it all
  • Get some large soft fresh baps, preferrably with sesame on the top. Kingsmill do good ones, or instore bakeries at supermarkets. Stay away from the sort that’s been on your Off License’s shelf for the last decade, with a best before date next year. You’ve been warned!
  • Treat yourself to a packet of Knorr or Maggi “Fertige Gewürtzmischung für Gehacktes” – although you have to import that from Germany. My Mum was kind enough to send a few packets over; alternatively, use Coleman’s or Schwartz – mix it with the mince as per instructions on the pack

Alternatively, you can make your own mixture, like in the good old days. Therefore, have the following ingredients ready:

  • one egg
  • a handful of breadcrumbs
  • salt, pepper, chilli, paprika, curry – that sort of thing
  • if you’re a herb lover, go for oregano, thyme, majoram
  • mix everything together with the mince, using a fork or your bare hands

Now it’s time to shape the burgers. You do this best with warm hands. Take a good scoop and first make it into a ball, then flattening it evenly. Make sure no bits fall off, can easily happen if you’re using onions in your mixture.

You want to check that the burger is about the size of your buns. If you decide to go ahead with anything other than steak mince, you will have to account for shrinkage too. Pork, lamb or “half and half” cheap-o-sucker stuff can shrink by up to 50% – seriously!

Fresh from the grill
Fresh from the grill

For best results, grill your burgers for 15-20 minutes, turning them every 5-6 minutes. Use common sense here and don’t turn them over if they’re completely rare of course. On electric grills, do this at 180-200 C or gas mark 5 (god only knows what that is in Fahrenheit).

If you want them raw (which you shouldn’t have), use a higher temperature to brown the outsides, and cook them shorter. You’re taking the risk of serious unwellness.

If you cook your burgers too long (either because you’re paranoid, or just forgetful), you’re running the risk of a dry burger. That’s not nice, because you have to drown it in ketchup and mayo. You want them juice, but well done.

OK, time to eat:

use your imagination to decorate your plate, slap on all the condiments you can find in the fridge, grab a beer and enjoy! Serve them with chips, or open a packet of Kettle Chips like I do (stay away from Pringles if you can).

Share your delight below, or even send a picture to burgers@versluis.com!





Burger and Chips at The Vintry, St. Albans

On a spontaneous trip to meet Al Monty and JB, we checked out this very wine based gastropub in the centre of Verulamium, or better known as St. Albans.

Burger and Chips at The Vintry, St. Albans
Burger and Chips at The Vintry, St. Albans

A decent burger, with plenty of oompf. They do the 8oz and 10oz version, with various toppings and in various styles. Bacon, Emmental Cheese, baby tomatoes, anything you could think of. This place could have been a burger bar in a different life.

I opted for the 10oz version, which comes with chips, and is only £6.90 – which is a bargain compared to London prices. You get this with a pint of coke for under a tenner, which gives extra plus points right from the start.

As for condiments you have Heinz squeezable mayonnaise (which was empty), mustard and Heinz ketchup from a glass bottle. But you also get a side dish of their famous “Bloody Mary Ketchup” in a little pot on the plate, which is great – a hint of Tabasco and a bit of something else make this one an unexpected dunkable delicacy.

The burger itself is huge. Definitely the size of a DVD, with a grilled sesame bun. Mine was a bit burned, but the waiter exchanged it immediately for a nicer one. Full of meaty goodness I say, this home made burger stands out. Well done yet juicy, served with a huge slice of tomato and two slices of lean bacon. Bit of lettuce, and that was it.

The chips were special too: thing cut, like fries rather than thick cut, with the skin on in places. These babies are not off the shelf and remind me of what you get at The Outback Steakhouse (but different… you get my drift).

Verdict: it was so big that I couldn’t finish it. That’s a GOOD sign. It was juicy, it was tasy – it was the best! Up there in Burger Heaven, not even The Diner can touch it!

11 Thumbs Up!





Chicken Burger and Chips from Deliverance

Having received a raving review on the Beef Burger, I decided to give Deliverance another go.

Judging by the photo, "terrible" is an understatement
Judging by the photo, "terrible" is an understatement

However, on the Chicken Burger, they couldn’t quite “deliver”.

With the usual sweaty chips and all the ingredients you would expect from a good burger, this one came to the office luke warm. On top of all that, the top of the granary bun was rock solid hard.

Not good, especially when we know they can do better. Considering £8.50 plus £2.50 chips, we’re all very disappointed… In their defence, I must admit having had this dish before, and it was definitely on to another winner.

Bad luck in the kitchen, I guess you just can’t win the all.

Verdict: grab a Pot Noodle





Burger and Chips from Seven Sisters Kebab (Takeaway)

Burger and Chips from Seven Sisters Kebeab
Burger and Chips from Seven Sisters Kebeab

Sometimes, nothing says it better than a burger from a kebab shop.

Enter the Seven Sisters Kebab and Pizza store. It’s been there forever, and although they were looking for a buyer not 12 months ago, the FOR SALE sign is gone for good and I understand in broken English that the proprietor is eager to keep the shop now. Which is good for us, because we only recently discovered that they do delivery. Hurra!

When I came home today, after a hard day at IMG (in fact, testing the new P2 WordPress theme, in between jobs) I realised that I only had soup and a salad, so I came home rather hungry. Why not try that Half Pounder with chips and a drink for a bargain price of £5? Deal!

Burgers from kebab shops have something in common with burgers from greasy spoon cafes: the supplier. There appears to be only ONE distributor of these kinds of patties on a piece of paper, and they all taste the same. Sure, it’s all in the preparation, and you really don’t want to eat one of those (let alone two) when they’re fried.

Mirinda - where have you been since 1979?
Mirinda - where have you been since 1979?

As with all food you get here in Da Hood (don’t pronounce the “H”, enter “innit” or “aaaai” where appropriate), it’s grilled. 7 thumbs up for that already. But also, you get all the salad you’d expect from a good kebab. Add to that a good portion of fries, and I kid you not when I say: that’s more meat than you want to know about.

Sauces include ketchup and mayo on demand, even chilli, garlic or burger sauce, but none of them are Heinz Deli Originals – so beware.

The verdict: for the price of £5, including a can of your choice, and considering two patties on the burger, fresh salad and a nicely toasted sesame bun, you really can’t complain. Even if you know by heart that it’s essentially a cafe burger you’re getting, it’s well prepared.

Speaking of the drink: I could hardly believe it when Mirinda caught my eye! Imported from Poland, made there by The Pepsi Co., it was the ideal addition to top this meal off. Somewhere in between Fanta, Tango and Orangina, that’s where Miranda fits in. I’ve missed you – you made my day!

9 Thumbs up for sure, maybe even 10.





Burger & Chips from Deliverance, Chiswick

Burger and Chips from www.deliverance.co.uk
Burger and Chips from www.deliverance.co.uk

A perk of freelance work is the occasional free food that comes with a strenuous long shift. When we do Premier League at the weekend, we get a meal from www.deliverance.co.uk, and of course Burger and Chips is a classic among colleagues.

Deliverance send food into West London and cook anything from Chinese, Thai, Indian, European, American and all the rest of it. If something goes wrong, they give you a “store credit” or replace your food. It feels slightly odd to talk to the “cusomter services department” instead of a delivery service though. Either way, your food comes labelled and wrapped up in paper, a bag, and that then comes in a brown box – looks pretty cool I dare say.

Here’s what I think of the Burger and Chips in detail:

THE BURGER: 1cm thick and very nice. 12cm diameter (the size of a DVD), fills out the entire bun, seriously lean. You can get them to cook it to order (mine is well done and so it should be). This is a good one, and it’s organic too! Only downside is the danger of arriving slightly cold – which might be down to delivery time.

THE BUN: soft granary, with iceberg lettuce, mayo, relish, tomato, cheese and even a hint of onion. Great.

CONDIMENTS: you get one portion of ketchup, mayo or aioli free with chips. Comes in unmarked containers, but tastes like Heinz (that’s the only thing that matters).

THE CHIPS: chunky, but cold on arrival; can also be sweaty, and are usually unsalted; they’re trying to be chip shop chips, but celarly aren’t. Minus points for that. The chips ship in cute brown boxes.

PRICE: £9.50 for the burger, (50p less if you want it without cheese), £2.50 for the chips (and 60p for a can of coke from upstairs), that’s a total of £12.60 I think. Rather hefty for a delivery service, but I guess we pay for quality at the same time.

I think as far as a delivery service goes, this is a very good burger, despite the price, and comes close to options like Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Ground, which you couldn’t get delivered. I don’t recommend the chips, even though I order them every time.

My verdict: 9 thumbs up!





Burger and Chips at The Earl of Camden

Burger and Chips at The Earl of Camden
Burger and Chips at The Earl of Camden

Excellent! Bloody excellent is all I can say!

But to get a consistent review across the board, we’ll have to define some variables first that make up a good burger.

I tend to expect a ballpark figure of £10 for such a meal. Here’s my thoughts on this one:

THE BURGER: SUPERB stuff. About an inch thick, slightly smaller than a DVD and fills out the entire bun. I don’t like a gap. Not just steak mince put together, there’s other things going on to hold it together, like we used to do at home. Excellent tase, consistency and everything else really – added cheese and bacon make it one to remember.

THE BUN: It’s a ciabatta like roll, very fresh, not like the sweet sesame thing you get with American burgers. This one’s pub-style British, and it shows. A+

FREE EXTRAS: Ketchup and Mayo by Heinz, served in a squeezy bottle. French’s mustard and Sarson’s brown vinegar. Quality.

CHIPS: served in a bowl, classed as medium fries. Lovely with mayonaise, and in fact remind me of Dutch chips.

PRICE: £9.80 served with a pint of coke. Also comes with free WiFi provided by Half Minute Media. Nice touch! I like a bit of WiFi with my burger.

OVERALL RATING: 11 thumbs up – very scrumptious! You’ve got to taste this one!





New Series: BURGER & CHIPS

I should have realsied this much earlier than this week, but I have a confession to make: I love Burger and Chips. Any variation, any time, and place.

So I thought maybe I’ll document my Burger and Chips journey thorughout the following months, with detailed pictures and descriptions where you can find the best burger in London (and in fact the world).

First stop: The Earl of Camden

Then of course there are The Diner and The Ice Wharf in Camden, all three with varying degrees of prices and quality. That’s what makes this spiritual and culinary journey so exciting.

Bon Appetite!