Why go out for burgers when you’ve got steak at home?
This is the question actor (and salad dressing maker) Paul Newman asked when quizzed about whether he’d cheat on his wife.
In the world of infedelity I’d say he’s right and, if I wasn’t going to die alone, I would never cheat on someone.
But if this was just about food I’d reply “Because burgers are better than steak”.
I realise this may be even more controversial than my old dating profile where I said I didn’t recognise the concept of the Midlands and I didn’t like roast dinners.
I know that supposedly nothing quite beats a great steak and people have offered to take me to Hawksmoor, but it hasn’t happened yet. I also always wonder why people go to Angus Steakhouse.
But it is ultimately just meat and one or two veg.
With a good burger there is a lot more going on.
There’s the succulent beef, hopefully cooked fairly pink, very well melted cheese, crunch from onions or lettuce and some kind of sauce with maybe a tart pickle or some jalapeños for a slight kick.
I say good burger because I’m the kind of person who almost got banned from the small McDonald’s at Victoria Station in London for asking for recommendations and then asking how big and how tasty the Big Tasty burger is. (Mini review: It isn’t very big and ultimately it isn’t very tasty.)
I’m also the kind of person who has started auditioning burgers for Fiskmas. For those of you unfamiliar with this part of the Christmas holiday season, it is a very exclusive affair where myself and another friend (sometimes also with some other people) meet before Christmas for a weekend of present shopping, festive drinking and eating, and clubbing.
During a lot of years it has involved having one of the burgers from the usual places like (Byron, Lucky Chip etc) if they have a Christmas special on.
But this year, to save me from tears, I’m auditioning burgers to try and find one that’s very special.
It’s for this reason (and because i was hungry) that I went to Bill or Beak back in May for a very nice cheeseburger.
And why today (and to meet up with someone I hadn’t seen for many months) I went for lunch at Three Compasses in Dalston.
After seeing pictures of the burgers on Instagram I was fairly excited (I don’t get very excited about things these days and even being excited is a rare occurrence) to try the wares produced by Filthy Buns in the pub kitchen.
Most of the Insta pics focus on the burger where there is a Biscoff biscuit stuck in the top but it just seemed too sweet for me so I went a lot more traditional.
I plumped for the Smokin’ Gun which for £11 comprised of a beef patty, two types of cheese, bacon, bourbon bbq sauce, crispy onions, and a smokey gravy mayonnaise.
The name suggests the smokey gravy mayonnaise was a big thing on it but it was the one part of the burger which I could have done with more of. I made a bit of a mess eating it but the buns weren’t anywhere near as filthy as I would have liked (or as the name of the place suggests it would have been) and more mayonnaise on my face would have helped.
(Maybe I should have paid £4.50 extra to go extra filthy with an extra patty, and more toppings and sauces.)
I would also say the beef was cooked a bit more than I would have liked, and this is one of the many disadvantages of ordering on an app because there was no way of using it to specify how rare you want the meat to be.
But, with all this considered, it was a very good burger.
The bacon was absolutely delicious and went so well with the bbq sauce. The cheese was melted perfectly on top and the onions had a very satisfying crunch.
Reports suggest it has been voted the best burger place in Hackney and I’d say it’s definitely the best burger place I’ve been to in Hackney.
But sadly I don’t think it will be getting a call back to be part of the Fiskmas lineup for 2021. It’s a great place to go if you’re in the area but the burgers aren’t quite nice enough to travel more than 30 minutes for.
Let me know if you do have any recommendations for any good burger places in London.
Stay safe for another week!