£13 with chips included. Goodman's burger is beefy, salty and full of flavour. Sadly a stale bun disqualified it from a full 5-star score
Having got through 10 months of blogging about London's best burgers, it was undoubtedly extremely remiss of me not to have visited Goodman
sooner than last week. I'd heard great things about the steakhouse's burger from various people - not least from Daniel at Young & Foodish
who considers Goodman's burger offering to be the best in London
at the moment...
Needless to say I was super excited about a spot of lunchtime burger adventuring at Goodman's Mayfair restaurant. Once seated I couldn't help think what a huge contrast there is between the decor at Goodman and that at Hawksmoor – London's other great, much celebrated American steakhouse. When I've dined at Hawksmoor I've felt like a king. Taking my seat at Goodman, I simply felt like someone at a steakhouse.
The next impression of the place was provided by the guy that served us - who clearly couldn't care whether we ordered some food or stabbed ourselves to death at our table. Interesting.
However, when our burgers showed up (both ordered medium rare) they represented burger presentation perfection: on an impressively large Goodman-branded oval plate sat a ceramic bowl of fat golden, perfectly salted, crisp-on-the-outside-fluffy-in-the-middle chips next to a similarly proportioned, beautiful looking domed brioche-bunned cheeseburger – sporting perfectly melted cheese, a leaf of crisp lettuce, slice of tomato, a few onion rings and some very thin slices o' pickle.
My dining partner, occasional Burgerac contributor Mayor McCheese, wasted no time in clefting his burger in twain, and it's his juicy, super rare, bloody-as-hell burger you see in the blurry shot above. While I would say his was cooked under the requested medium rare, mine was cooked a shade over. But, as well I know by now, c'est la vie. Getting a burger cooked precisely how you want is no easy task, even in one of London's premier steakhouses. Order the same as your dining partner and you might still have wildly different burger experiences...
So to the eating. Goodman's is one of those burgers that is compact in circumference and almost as tall as it is wide until you pick it up and give it a squash. As soon as I did pick it up, it was clear that the bun was brittle, rather than being soft and fresh. First bite confirmed the bun was dry and a little crumbly - BUT the meat patty is really very fine indeed. Made from aged beef and cooked in a charcoal burning Josper
it's wonderfully beefy and there's a depth of salty flavour delivered, I believe, from the use of a splash of Nam Pla (fish sauce) used to season the mince. It really works, yum!
Architecturally, the burger held together well, despite the patty sitting directly on top of the bottom part of the bun and leaking burger juice into it, threatening its structural integrity. If I'm honest (and I always am) I thought the thin, 1mm thick lengthways slices of teeny tiny pickles (were they cornichons?) were too small and too thin to offer the sweet and tangy crunch and flavour that makes the inclusion of such things worthwhile. BUT, the overall impression was one of immense burger satisfaction. This is, undoubtedly a wonderful burger well worth tracking down. And with the chips included for £13, remarkably good value for a sit down, steakhouse affair.
If the pickles had been cut more generously, and if the bun had actually been fresh, Goodman's burger would very possibly have warranted 5-star status. However, besides these flaws there is also another dimension of disappointment that needs to be addressed. Goodman should try and serve its burgers consistently like the generously-topped delight pictured in the number one slot on the Young & Foodish Top Ten Burgers in London
The burger cooked specially for Daniel Young to sample in his quest to rate London's top ten burgers in descending order of greatness (his photo, above) seems a different beast to what is delivered to the table of Joe Bloggs or Jim Burgerac.
That said, I'll be revisiting soon and often. I want more.
Goodman Mayfair (also check out their City branch)
24-26 Maddox Street
London W1S 1QH
Opening Times: Monday-Saturday, from 12noon to 10.30pm
Tel: 020 7499 3776