What makes the perfect burger? There’ll be arguments over this one for sure, but for me the top requirement is it needs to be messy, but not messy enough that the whole thing falls apart after two bites. The patty must be juicy, a bit pink and full of flavour, the cheese needs to be cheap and preferably of the American plastic variety: bright yellow and sticky. The bun is up for debate: I love a brioche, but a sesame seeded can also win out. Lightly toasted though, please.
I’m essentially describing Bleecker St. Burger. Named after founder Zan Kaufman’s favourite street in her native New York City, Bleecker St is a prime example of a small scale street food project that has blown up into a cult favourite amongst Londoners, all whilst retaining the passion that originally caused Zan to give up her law career for that big black van serving incredible burgers.
The burger scene in London has gone from strength to strength over the last few years; competition is fierce and there is constant debate over which is the very best burger in London. Before you jump in with your favourite, I implore you to try Bleecker St first. And I’m going to give you a simple instruction before you do: go double. After the first bite of my first ever Bleecker burger I instantly regretted not going double. After all, if you’re gonna do it, do it properly. These burgers sail to the top of many a ‘Best Burger in London’ list based on the quality of the meat that’s used. The beef comes from The Butchery in Bermondsey, where it’s dry-aged for up to fifty days, creating an intense flavour that I can’t recall being matched in another London burger. (Although of course, I am willing to sample dozens of burgers should you wish to disprove this). So yeah, with meat this good, you want to go double. Then add bacon.
Too often fries are pushed to the wayside in the quest for the best burger, and due to this I often skip them. However Bleecker St don’t shy away from their commitment to excellence and the chips are surprisingly good – rough cut and crispy (£3). They also offer a mix of regular fries and sweet potato with a blue cheese sauce named Angry Fries (£4), for those who are after something punchier.
Next time I visit (and it should be pretty soon, the Canary Wharf site is mere minutes from me, what a drag) I’m trying the famed Bleecker Black (£10) – a double patty extravaganza with black pudding cutting through the middle. People call it the best burger in London. I guess I’ll just have to judge for myself. You should too.
Have you had a Bleecker St Burger? Do you think it’s the best burger in London or have you got another favourite that beats it? Let me know in the comments!
Old Spitalfields Market, Unit B SP 4, London, E1 6EA
Southbank, under the bridge by Royal Festival Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 8XX
Street Feast at Dalston Yard, Hartwell Street, Dalston, London, E8 3DU