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Filtering by Tag: BurgerMonday

Ben Tish & Ben Mulock's OT Deluxe Burger


Skillfully and oh-so-cleverly putting (Iberico) ham into a "hamburger", Ben Tish and Ben Mulock of London's Opera Tavern have created a dish (never mind a burger) deserving of legend...

For the other week's installment of BurgerMonday, Opera Tavern chefs Ben Tish and Ben Mulock created a beautifully deluxe version (with added truffle) of OT's delicious Iberico Pork and Foie Gras burgers which I raved about back in May here on Burgerac. It was absolutely fucking spectacular...

As is the tradition at BurgerMonday events, there were three courses. To start we were served Gazpacho with spiced green tomato and manteca croutons. The whiteness of the croutons is actually whipped Iberico pork fat (there's a running theme). The soup itself was heavenly - although the more of it I ate, the more I thought the balance leaned a little heavily towards being slightly too acidic. A minor quibble. It was top drawer. 

Ah, the main event hoved in to view looking like this. But before I focus on the burger, let me tell you that the fries were cooked in – wait for it – Iberico Pork fat! They were really, really good. OK, now let's consider the burger, a full size beast accessorised with truffle pecorino and aged jamon....

Just look at it. Wow... And it tasted DIVINE. Even as I tried hard not to audibly moan in gastronomic ecstacy whilst masticating on this hammy treat, I was in awe not just of the deep rich and brilliantly balanced flavours, but of the ingenuity of the thing. This really is a cleverly conceived burger, and without a doubt the most technically brilliant piece of cooking I've encountered in all my burger-scoffing jaunts.

Instead of the aged manchego that appears in the OT mini pork and foie gras burgers, this burger sported truffle pecorino, and lurking underneath the melted cheese, was a thin slice of aged jamon, which had practically melted into the burger patty. The patty's deliciousness is hard to define in mere words and I was keen to chat to the affable Ben Mulock who very kindly took the time to tell me about his approach to making it...

"I wanted to do more with the truffle flavour than just use our pecorino, so I thought about how to get it inside the burger," Mulock explains. "I had chopped and sliced some going through the first prototype but felt it didn't come through smoothly or evenly enough. Eventually I decided to make a truffle milkshake in a blender so I could get it through the mix evenly. This worked a treat - but I wanted more so I also shaved on the mandolin more truffle to fold through the burger mix to give more flavour and texture to the burger. It was still missing something though. Even though it was great I knew I had to change the mechanics further and it was only when I upped the foi gras quantity that I was finally happy with the patty."

But hang on, Mulock wasn't done yet with tweaking the burger just yet. "The next thing to undergo a rethink was the relish," he told me. "The burger had grown richer so I needed to make it slightly sharper to give balance. I used the same butterhead lettuce as normal and me and Ben Tish created a chopped truffle aioli to give it a last hurrah and extra double amazingness. Thicker, crispy lightly battered onion rings were called for to help give a contrasting texture. Getting the bun size right was also crucial as too big and the whole thing is stifled by bread, too small and it's too bloody messy. And the guindilla (pepper) on top through the skewer is just too playful not to do."

And here is the final course, an Orange and Manteca Pudding with Tip Top sauce. Not that I ate much of it. Hayley who was sat to my right during this particular BurgerMonday session doesn't like foie gras and while she had a go at the burger, couldn't eat more than a mouthful. I felt sorry for her, really I did. But not for long. I "helped her out" by taking her burger and halving it with my dining buddy. After one and a half burgers (it was so worth it) I couldn't really do a pudding.

While the Opera Tavern's two Bens say that the OT deluxe burger won't appear on the OT's regular menu, I urge you to check out the mini pork and foie gras burgers on the menu. Check out my review of those lovely little mouthfuls of joy here.

I've said it before, I'll say it again – if you haven't been to a BurgerMonday event, you're missing out on the most exciting burger action in town. The bar seems to be raised higher at each event. I wonder who will be the next chef to step up to the hot plate and prepare a one-off burger of untold awesomeness?

Stay tuned to BurgerMonday activity by joining the Young & Foodish mailing list. Find out more at

John Cadieux #BurgerMonday Burger


Goodman chef John Cadieux premiered a brand new burger at #BurgerMonday that may or may not make it onto Goodman's menu. It very probably should!

Last Monday evening saw the third BurgerMonday event in as many weeks. And I'm super glad I got a ticket to each, I wouldn't want to have missed a single bite of the superb meals served up at Andrew's Café these last three Mondays... 

You all know the BurgerMonday score by now so I won't repeat what I've said here many times before about how it works. Instead I'll simply give you the lowdown on last Monday's three courses, devised and cooked by Goodman's John Cadieux. 

First course, a classic Ceaser Salad with anchovies. Crisp slivers of toasted olive oil brushed bread, romaine lettuce and parmesan combined in a perfect summery starter. Whitstable Bay ale was flowing. All very pleasant so far...

Rather than keep guests guessing as to the make up of the burger du jour – a Bacon Cheeseburger featuring Keen's cheddar – Chef Cadieux had printed the recipe and method for making his burger patty on the paper placemats at every place setting. A blend of thickly minced chuck, rib eye, sirloin and short rib along with some with some lightly sautéed onions made up the patties. But that information hadn't prepared me for quite how tall the burger was going to be. Without the wooden skewer through it, there's no way it would have all stayed in one pile.

I'm not going to lie to you, there was a moment of doubt. "How the heck am I going to squash this down and actually eat it?" I wondered. Well, perhaps surprisingly, it wasn't that hard. Sheer will power, of course, played its part. But actually, the design and architecture was good, and despite my expectations being high, due to the almost ridiculously high standard of burger set by previous BurgerMonday events, the flavour of this burger was nothing short of spectactular. It was delightfully beefy, the texture loose and juicy. And the burger sauce placed on the bottom part of the bun had become one with burger juice leaking from the patty creating rather photogenic drips. Impressively the super fresh seeded sourdough brioche bun, baked by Cadieuex himself specially for the occasion, held together until the last bite. In case you were hoping for more details about the bun and furthermore a sauce breakdown, you're in luck: the bun ingredients and cooking method...

...AND the sauce recipe too was printed on each placemat:

The only gripe I had with this burger was a miniscule one. A slice of baby gem lettuce with its crispy ridge protruded, untrimmed from the burger when it arrived. Now I happen to be a big fan of the crispness fresh lettuce like this can add to a burger, however the thick ridge in such a leaf simply messes with a burger's squashability. So I removed it without making a fuss and got on with squashing the burger and eating it. To be honest I didn't say much until I'd devoured it – other than muttering incomprehensible approving noises and nodding whilst making that frowny, confused face a man makes that in any other context would evoke a "shit, are you alright?" response, but when eating tends to be understood as "crikey, it must be good, look, he's got that strange, intensely confused look."

And for dessert, a classic sundae. Loving ice cream and chocolate brownies, it also didn't last long. Although after I'd completely finished, some vague whiff of analytical reason whispered to me that it wasn't a particularly noteworthy sundae. But, like I said, I had already hoovered it all up anyway so it can't have been bad. Maybe my brain was simply trying to find just one thing wrong at this latest in a series of events that have been, in my opinion, faultless.

So, in summary, another five star burger BurgerMonday event spent in fine company and with a thoroughly enjoyable spread of food and booze that includes a truly outstanding burger. Can I keep getting excited about BurgerMonday events? Of course I can. ESPECIALLY, seeing as I've been plotting with BurgerMonday's Daniel Young for a couple of months on a collaborative BurgerMonday with a twist. It's scheduled for Monday 27 June. For more info about it, please follow @BurgermatShow

Lionel Lévy #BurgerMonday BLT Provençale


"What the heck is that?" you may well ask. That, dear readers, is Lionel Lévy's #BurgerMonday concept BLT Provençale Burger. It's awesome...

This week's BurgerMonday proved to be yet another another resounding culinary triumph, this time featuring a highly original and unorthodox approach to the burger devised by Michelin starred chef Lionel Lévy from Marseille...

I surely don't need to explain what BurgerMonday is all about anymore so I'll simply tell you what went down on Monday at Andrew's Café on Grays Inn Road over three delightful courses.

First course, Salmon Crumble. A disc of delectible salmon tartare, marinated in grated zests of lemon, lime and grapefruit (not to mention a spot of ginger, garlic and olive oil) was topped with a crunchy crumble that consisted of chopped fresh ginger and chopped almonds. The topping provided a sweet nutty crunch to the melt-in-the-mouth salmon. It was deceptively simple, but absolutely divine. Hats off to Mr BurgerMonday, Daniel Young, for brilliantly pairing this starter with a stunning Venetian white wine – a blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo which had an undercurrent of sweet raisin and then smooth vanilla on the finish. Absolutely smashing. 

The burger itself was a surprise from the moment it hoved into view. I've never seen anything quite like it, served, as it was, like an open sandwich. Chef Lévy had worked many flavours into the ensemble, his aptly named BLT Provençale Burger so allow me to give you a guided tour...

First things first, the meat. Lévy sourced his beef from O'Shea's of Knightsbridge, requesting 30% fat. A blend of chuck, plate rib, fat from both chuck and plate rib with a little extra rib fat made up the thickly ground patties. Before hitting the grill, I'm told that both sides of the patties were brushed with a paste of Piment d'Espelette, the prized chilli powder of the French Basque region. The bacon was also from O'Sheas.
The bread was actually a last minute switcharoo, as I believe Lionel was planning on using bread from Poilane in Belgravia, but dining at the St JOHN Hotel on the Sunday night prior to BurgerMonday he changed his mind and opted to use both of the restaurant's white and brown sourdoughs toasted, rubbed with garlic and coated in olive oil. A bold and interesting move.

Now then, the bottom piece of toast might look like it's been seriously burnt in this photo. As it goes, the dark brown stuff is an even coating of black olive and anchovy tapinade. The green sauce on the top slice is pistou, which is the Provençale counterpart to pesto (consisting of basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan). The red sauce on top is tchoutchouka, a blend of roasted pepper, onions and tomatoes – a nice nod to the strong influence from Marseille's North African-Maghreb population and palate. The rich red garnish sitting on the top is a super-slow oven roasted tomato. A revelation in flavour all on is own. 

OK, so to the eating. First of all, I flipped over the top piece of bread so all the yummy stuff was on the inside. Then I cut it in half, took another photo, picked it up and had a bite. Mmm...crunchy toast, then wow, what an amazing combination of intense complimentary flavours! Burger purists may find the whole thing too much to bear, but even though I ended up using my cutlery, I savoured every single mouthful of this unusual (and unusually delicious) burger. C'est trés, trés bon!

And so to desert. Strawberry soup. Dipping my spoon in for the first time revealed a white layer lurking at the bottom of the bowl of liquidised sugary strawberries, which turned out to be a blend of lemon curd and double cream – a super twist on strawberries and cream. I also loved that the meal began with crumble and ended with soup. In fact, I loved the whole damn thing. Merci beaucoup Lionel et Daniel for a top night!

John Cadieux of London's Goodman restaurants is up next as BurgerMonday's guest chef. He's got quite an act to follow. I wonder what he's got in store for us. Full report next week!