Our Brixtonian meat-loving chum Louise simply can’t scoff enough Honest Burgers. Fact. She’s slender as a rake but confesses regularly to mainlining a cheeky one down Brixton Village after a hard day’s slog in W1. In fact, she’s such a stalker that the staff even know her by name and give her some kind of ridiculous discount.
And boy, when she likes something does she go on about it! So for several months now we’ve been subjected – on every beef-scoffing occasion – to the winsome refrain that it’s ‘not as good as Honest Burger.’ We didn’t even dare take her to the mighty Dirty Burger for fear of what would tumble out of that gorgeous gob.
(For those of you rather less privy to mechanisms south of the river, Honest Burgers sprung up in the renaissance of Brixton Village, the formerly abandoned Granville Arcade that has quickly become one of London’s best foodie destinations. And everyone raved about it).
Now they’ve launched in Soho and there are whispers that the bohemian spirit and artsy crowd has been replaced in the day by hordes of anxious office juniors with orders like Dead Sea Scrolls. Yet in the evening it’s a simple space, lit by ‘honest’ bare bulbs, on an attractive cobbled side street with a few tables outside.
Lou recommended the 35 Day aged Ginger Pig rare breed cheese burger (the menu states that all burgers come pink). The patty was fat and succulent, with tasty red onion relish and mature cheddar. And the chips were a revelation: the perfect percentage of rosemary (by our calculations 28%?) too. The price? Exactly the same as our beloved Dirty Burger. All washed down with a decent carafe of house red.
On a night out in Soho (which is what we, er, did), this is as good a posh fast food stop-off as any. I wonder, however, whether the name ‘Honest’ works better as a one-off rather than a brand? It’s a bit ‘proper’ isn’t it? That’s why ‘Dirty’ chimes so well. Playful and fun. Disposable in a good way.
In the spirit of scientific research we paid our local joint another visit two days later. We were delighted that they are now more than happy to do burgers rare, medium, whatever. We loved the sheen on the buns. And we confess the overall sheer sloppy deliciousness pipped our Honest friends to the post. But only just. Of course we haven’t dare told Lou yet.
So do you prefer your burgers Honest or Dirty? And how much longer will we all be obsessed with burgers, lobsters, chicken, pizzas? Oh, alright then. Forever, I guess.
Words & Photos: Stephen Emms