22 Aug 2014


London, UK

Dirty Burger just opened a new branch in East London, at the base of Shoreditch House. This comes from the Soho House Group, who are also behind the very popular Pizza East and Chicken Shop. Dirty Burger also has locations in Kentish Town, Whitechapel and Vauxhall, none of which are central enough for it to have become something that everyone has tried. You have to make a bit of an effort to try this burger. I first ate Dirty Burger when they parked their food truck outside Boxpark for one day only. I went over to the little window and had a look at the goods, and it looked promising. I ordered the reasonably priced Cheeseburger for £6 and dug in. It was so juicy, so cheesy and running with hot mustard. I was very impressed, and finished it very quickly. I saw a sign saying they were opening a permanent spot just across the road, and this was good news indeed.

On the occasion of the opening, everything on the menu was 50% off. This meant that you could get a burger, milkshake, and fries for £7! As expected there was a long line at around dinner time, so I returned just before closing time at 11 pm. My friends and I ordered onion fries, cheeseburgers, fries and a chocolate milkshake. We started with the onion fries, which were tasty, but a bit too greasy. It was challenging to identify any actual onion with all the batter. The fries were crinkly and crispy, and really, really good! The milkshake was extremely chocolatey and filling, and didn't have the fluffy quality of Lucky Seven, nor the ice cream texture of Byron. I guess it's good that they have developed a quite unique recipe, but it wasn't my kind of thing. When we got to the burgers, one of my friends got unlucky, she ordered first, and got given one of the burgers that were already cooked and wrapped, so the cheese wasn't runny anymore, and it was getting cold. My burger was freshly made, and looked pristine. Despite this, it didn't live up to my memory from the food truck version. This one was slightly drier, and required some extra ketchup and mayonnaise, whereas the previous one was perfectly juicy. This could be because I came at the end of a long day with a never-ending queue. It was nevertheless very enjoyable, and I will certainly visit again, in hope of one day finding the perfect one that I tried the first time. Dirty Burger lives up to its name; you get dirty from the sauce running down your wrist, and despite this juiciness, the bun remains perfectly intact. To help out with the mess, each burger comes with a handy wet-wipe. This place will definitely take away a serious chunk of the client base from Byron just down the road. 

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16 Aug 2014


London, UK

Harrild and Sons opened recently in the lower end of Farringdon street, a lifeless part of the City of London. Anything opening there is good news, but this place has managed to develop a really cool and suitable City style. The ground floor has wood panelled walls, the bar shelves and light fittings are shaped from copper tubes, and there is a 5cc cocktail bar in the basement. With a lot of natural light as well, the space is cosy and comfortable. The restaurant specialises in lobster and oyster, but also serve steaks, a range of interesting sliders, and a dish that I’d like to try next time: Crab Fries with Cheese and Aioli. On my first visit I went for the Lobster Roll with Dijon Mayo and Fresh Oregano because I can rarely resist a lobster roll on any menu. It wasn’t great, and didn’t have the fresh-tasting meat that you would find in Burger & Lobster or B.O.B.'s Lobster. My friend opted for the grilled lobster instead, which she said was pretty good. Another friend vouches for the Pulled Pork sandwich, and said he would definitely order it again. The skin-on fries were really tasty and greasy, and I recommend them as a side to any dish. Harrild and Sons is the kind of place where everything sounds perfect and promising on the menu, but the flavours don't quite deliver. Like most City places, it is closed on Sundays, demonstrating that it is aimed at the professional clientele of the area only. It has already become a crowded spot, popular with the nearby office workers, but will likely remain just that. Even though it is a likeable place, the overall area has a lot of catching up to do before it becomes a destination for London foodies.

Harrild and Sons on Urbanspoon

8 Aug 2014


London, UK

I had heard Big Apple Hot Dogs described as the best hot dogs in London, so I googled them to see where I could find them. Unfortunately they are only open in Old Street from Tuesdays - Fridays from 12 - 6pm, making it hard to get there during lunch hour for anyone not in the area. I considered cycling there to be able to get there and back in my break, and quickly eat it as well, but luckily I didn't need to. From February this year, Big Apple Hot Dogs started serving their full menu every day at the hipster-filled Owl & Pussycat Pub in Shoreditch. It's difficult to find a table, but only because the other ones are taken by people having drinks. Curiously, every time I've been there I haven't seen anyone else eating. The hot dogs are hand made in London, and the website states that 94-98% of the contents is meat, which I assume is quite a lot more than your average street vendor hot dog. The buns are made fresh by local bakers, and all in all it sounds like a wholesome, guilt-free sausage. I have been a few times now, and tried the Big Dog and Huge Pole, both mixes of pork and beef, and the pure beef Pimp Steak. Despite their different sizes and shapes, they all come in the same size bun, meaning the proportion of bread cannot be right for all of them. You can add a range of toppings for 80 p each, including fried onions, kimchi and my favourite; sauerkraut. The hot dogs are all tasty, but a bit too big, and it's difficult to bite over the large bun without getting ketchup and mustard all over. The fries are soggy, so I only ordered those once. Big Apple Hot Dogs are definitely up there with the best I've tried in London, but they still can't compete with the real deal in New York.

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