£11 (with cheese and chips). Just when you think you've tasted London's finest burger, you go and find a tastier one. 6 out of 5!
Wowzers. I’d heard good things about the burger at Rivington Grill in Shoreditch but I wasn’t prepared for just how delicious their burger actually is. It’s SO ridiculously good that I just had to make contact with head chef Simon Wadham – to grill him on the finer points of his awesome creation...
OK, so above you can see how Rivington serve their burgers – on a wooden board with a cup of chips, a glass ramekin of condiment (my dream blend of French's yellow mustard and Heinz tomato ketchup) and a build-it-yourself salad pile consisting of gem lettuce leaves, a slice of beefsteak tomato, a thinly sliced cross section of red onion and three slices of juicy gherkin. The bun lid is served slightly ajar but I've removed it in the shot above so you can see the melted cheese action on top of the patty – and also the perfect, even toasting of the inside of the bun. Full marks so far...
I happily set about applying some of the mustard/ketchup blend to the inside top of the bun, placing the gherkin, some onion rings and a leaf of lettuce on top of the cheesy patty. Et voila, my Rivington Burger is ready! I should tell you a little bit about the bread though. It must have been baked no more than two hours ago. It's light, fresh and the softly crisp surface, both top and bottom, is peppered with sesame seeds. Although it looks big, it squashes down to become the finest burger bun I've come across. Delicious.
Now then, the flavour of this burger is truly incredible. It's like every ingredient has a little taste amplifier turned up to 11: the cheddar cheese is perfectly melty and has a twangy maturity I'm not sure I've never had the joy of experiencing before, and the beef patty also has a remarkable depth of flavour. I simply had to find out more. Luckily for me, Rivington Shoreditch's head chef, Simon Wadham, was more than happy to reveal some of his burger's tasty secrets...
The cheese, Wadham tells me, is Montgomery's Cheddar, widely regarded as the finest Cheddar money can buy. And the meat patties, interestingly, aren't 100% beef – there’s finely chopped onion, chilli, parsley and garlic, along with some mustard and binding egg. “We use minced chuck only,” says Wadham when I ask him about his choice of cut, “as this, for me, has a good natural fat to meat ratio [about 20/80] and a really good flavour. To be frank, the food I represent here is very simple and is dependent on top base ingredients – so mixing different cuts to me would be slightly removed from our philosophy."
And what about that delicious bun, I ask him - is that supplied by Rivington's baker specially for the task? "We were unable to get a suitable bun from Euphorium Bakery
– although the rest of our bread is baked by them specially for us," says Wadham. "As a burger fan myself I have searched high and low for the perfect bun. For me it’s a question, again, of philosophy; the bread on a burger is there to help you eat the filling, and therefore should not detract or get in the way of the burger patty itself – so something light that will absorb the juices with out falling to pieces will fit the bill. Oh, and we make sure that we season the bread before grilling it."
Somehow this burger has managed to go beyond the perfection I experienced at Bar Boulud
the other week and into a whole new territory of taste sensation I never dreamed was possible. I'm not even going to tell you how wonderful the chips are – because you simply MUST FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF! If you love a good burger, do yourself a huge favour and get one of these down your neck. Out of 5, this one gets an unprecedented 6. Seriously.
Another crucial part of my Rivington experience was the delightful beer I was drinking. I can strongly recommend the Meantime Pilsner
as a fine accompaniment to this burger. Do it!
The Rivington Burger recipe
While Chef Wadham hasn't revealed the source of his burger buns (a chef must have his secrets) – he very kindly gave me the recipe for the Rivington burger patties. If you would like to get hold of the recipe for some DIY burger action, Rivington style, scroll down and "like" this story via Facebook, or follow, then tweet me @burgeracblog – and mention #RivingtonGrillBurger.
28-30 Rivington Street
London EC2A 3DZ
Call for opening times and bookings: Tel: 020 7729 7053