In Praise Of
Burgers, however ubiquitous they’ve become, are still the holy grail of savoury unctuousness. Whether you’re casually approaching them through The Golden Arches or you’re treading a more reverential path to a sophisticated, towering monument to gourmet decadence, for so many of us, burgers remain our one ‘go to’ dish when all else in the culinary cupboard is bare. In fact, Deliveroo recently confirmed the UK as a nation of burger lovers when out of 60 cities polled, 28 of them chose some kind of burger as the most popular dish ordered on the app.
Unfussy and un-faddy – that’s how we prefer our burgers at Balans Soho Society – simple and honest. For us there’s a simple rule of thumb: burgers don’t necessarily need to be ‘different’ – they just need to be really, really good. A lightly toasted bun, crisp lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion, dill pickle, smoky bacon, melting cheese and British meat that’s ground fresh and cooked medium rare to keep it flavoursome and juicy. Anything more is just window dressing.
As much as we admired Chef Diego Buik who holds the record for making the most expensive burger in the world with its Japanese dry-aged Wagyu beef, Oosterschelde lobster infused with Dutch Hermit gin, foie gras, white truffle, Remeker cheese, Japanese fruit tomatoes and caviar on a brioche bun made with saffron and covered in gold leaf – even for us – the home of ‘too much is never enough’ – that seemed a tad much…
Rather brilliantly, Diego said of his creation – which, incidentally cost an eye-watering £1,785 – that he didn’t actually think it tasted very nice and that a burger he’d had in London that cost him £14 was really rather better. When you’re right, Diego, you’re right. Burgers should be determinedly held in both hands not presented as art. There should be no politesse, no etiquette. Napkins should be tucked into shirt collars, cutlery should be kept on the table, chins should be covered in ketchup, fingers should be satisfyingly greasy and tummies should be almost full to bursting. A good burger deserves to be enjoyed, but an ‘Infamous’ burger deserves to be relished.