£14.50 all in. There's much here to be VERY excited about. The ingredients are top notch but the architecture needs a bit more thought...
It's only been open for three weeks, but already the Bistro du Vin
on St John Street (practically next door to St. JOHN Bar and Restaurant
) is doing a roaring trade. I popped along to prop up the shiny bar and see how its burger offering shapes up...
First things first - the presentation is like a dream come true. Bistro du Vin seems to have specially made burger boards, complete with circular slot for the silver cup o'fries to sit in. And, you'll notice that there's a miniature pan full of burger sauce. A really nice touch. It's a kind of slightly spicy thousand island sauce – with a gentle chilli pepper kick. Yum!
The burger itself. Wow. It stacks up high but just look at it. A beautifully glazed, perfectly toasted briochey type bun has lettuce, tomato, thin slices of red onion and a whopper of a beef patty (at least 8oz) topped with cooked-to-perfection back bacon and delightfully melted cheese. Again, I say wow...
OK, now to the eating. It's actually a real struggle to eat this burger and to keep everything in its proper place. The tomato slips around and ultimately ends up on the wooden board, juices issue forth and, in short, it's a pretty messy affair. There are two reasons for this. The bread doesn't have enough give to transform the burger from the beautiful, photogenic masterpiece of burger presentation – to the considerably thinner, squashed version that one hopes it will become in the hand. Also, the architecture is all wrong. The meat should sit on the bread where juices can be soaked up - and the salad should be served on the side allowing diners to add only what they want on top of the meat-bacon-and-cheese, along with perhaps some of the lovingly prepared and presented burger sauce.
As it is, burger juice drips onto the salad and acts as a lubricant, allowing the tomatoes to slip and slide around before said juice hits the inpenetrable sheet of lettuce and subsequently drips out onto the wooden board or, if you're a seasoned burger eater, a strategically placed napkin. The way it's served, it's tricky to know how to apply sauce to the burger. Do you turn it upside down, remove the bottom part of the bun and add your condiment of choice there?
It's such a shame, because this burger is really special. Sat at the bar I had a great view of the charcoal burning Josper
oven that the burgers are cooked in at about 400 degrees. This method of cooking means it's possible to get all the flavour from cooking over charcoal - and get a nicely even sear all over the exterior of the patty, while the middle remains gloriously pink.
Already, food writer and burgermeister Daniel Young of Young & Foodish
(and the brains behind London's ever brilliant Burger Monday
pop up events) has placed the BdV Burger at No.8 in his Top Ten London Burgers list. If Bistro du Vin addresses the structural issues detailed above, then I have no doubt that this burger will take its rightful place higher up Daniel's list – and those of other discerning burger fans in London.
Bistro du Vin
40 St John Street
London EC1 4DL
Tel: 020 7490 9230