Saturday, 6 March 2010

Goodman - The Burger

I’m a bit of a peasant when it comes to food, a product of my upbringing in Essex I guess. My tastes are drawn magnetically towards the unpretentious, the simply cooked and more often than I’d like to admit, the foodie gutter. (“Why yes my good man, chilli sauce on my kebab would be tip-top”).

Which is perhaps why I love a good burger. But, in complete contrast to my claims of peasant tastes, just to complicate matters… any old burger will not do…I like something a bit premium, a bit special. OK, I admit it…. a bit pretentious.

Regular readers of my Blog may remember me raving about the Hawksmoor burger, which without a doubt was one of the best things I ate in 2009. I absolutely loved it. The sheer meaty goodness of it set the bar insanely high. Since then, I’ve been keeping a constant eye out for likely contenders to steal its top London burger accolade.

So, it was with some excitement that I arrived at Goodman, the rather superb steak restaurant nestling just a stones throw from Regent Street, to sample their burger. Could it, dare I say it, replace Hawksmoors burger in my affections?
Let’s find out.

Goodman is a meat lover’s paradise, huge slabs of top-notch steak available in seemingly limitless sizes, with the attendant potential of eye watering prices for the truly greedy. It came as no surprise, as I glanced around at my fellow diners, despite the lack of sausage on the menu; there was no doubt at all…. it was a total sausage-fest. I counted three women in the entire restaurant, and they were food bloggers sitting at our table. The rest of the restaurant was populated exclusively by men, wolfing down slabs of meat. The testosterone was so thick; as to be seemingly sliced with one of the wickedly sharp steak knives provided.

Enough of the demographics, lets talk about the burgers – the plates arriving at the table certainly looked the part. Fabulous shiny buns (ooer) containing thick, juicy burgers. I’d ordered mine with cheddar cheese and fried onions, which were oozing out from underneath the bun in a rather satisfying manner. I was smitten. Sides of fat chips and Béarnaise were also deposited on the table (I love, love, love Béarnaise – far too much than is good for me).

Taking a hefty bite, and straight away getting a taste of beautifully Smokey char-grilled meat, it was superb. A seriously good burger, no denying it, a real contender… As good as the Hawksmoor burger? Opinion among my fellow diners on the table was split fairly evenly.
But, for me the Hawksmoor burger edges it.

The reason? I much prefer the rough, loose, rustic minced texture of Hawksmoor’s burger – the Goodman example was very finely minced, which I just find less appealing for some reason. There’s also the question of produce, Hawksmoors version is packed full of prime UK sourced ingredients – almost re-inventing the classic American burger in a very British way. I like this direction a lot. The Goodman burger is unashamedly American – which is exactly as it should be, I just prefer Hawksmoors take on it.

Pricewise, when you factor in accompanying chips, the prices are very similar (Hawksmoors come with fries at £15, the Goodman burger doesn’t, but is £12 – fries are an extra at £3).

So, there’s not much in it – but in my mind, right now Hawksmoors superb burger is still the best available in London.

As an added bonus on the night, as a result of Chris Pople of Cheese and Biscuits
In’N’Out burger campaign. We were privileged to be gifted an example of Goodman’s attempt at replicating it. As with the standard Goodman burger, it was superb. But, again, in my opinion, not quite as good as Hawksmoors effort.
The accompanying bowl of ‘Animal Fries’ – frites slathered in Thousand Island dressing, cheese and fried onions were bloody superb…. Although I could literally feel my life shortening as I ate them, I feel they deserve a permanent spot on the menu.

I’ve got to add that Goodman treated us extremely well, on top of the In’N’Out burgers to sample, we were also given a brilliant tour of the kitchens in full flow mid-service by the head chef John Cadieux, of who, it has to be said knows his subject - meat, inside out and is utterly fascinating to listen to.

So, there you have it. Right now, if you want to eat beautiful steaks or incredible burgers in London – Goodman or Hawksmoor are the two really serious temples to meat eating you should be visiting.

(PS: To read Cheese and Biscuits take on the Goodman In'N'Out Burger - look

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Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to try this Dan. I'm slightly bemused by the sudden evangelical attitude towards burgers - better see what all the fuss is about!

Greedy Diva said...

I fell head over heels in love with Goodman that night. The burger was a delicious flirtation, but I'm going back to devour me some steak.

goodshoeday said...

Not sure about the Thousand Island dressing on the chips in the pictures. Was wondering why the bernaise was pink til I read on. Looks a bit yuk or is that just the lighting?
Based on your review I think I like the sound of the Hawksmoor burger more....

Dan said...

James - Not entirely sure where the fuss about burgers is generated from - but both Hawksmoors and Goodmans are superb and well worth trying.

Carly - Goodman is fantastic, agreed. I was sold a few weeks before on the 'blokes eat beef' event, and even more sold when we visited. Great night wasn't it?

Linda - ha, might look a bit yuk but tasted seriously good in a really bad way.

Graphic Foodie said...

Sausage fest? Shiny buns? Ha ha...

Well here's another two I have to try. Was very impressed with Byron but these look like they are in another league. Shame I have to wait til I'm in London, Brighton is a burger wasteland.

Hollow Legs said...

Did you order your burger well done? This whole burger campaign amuses me, but I'll happily do my bit to try and find the best in London :)

Paunchos said...

Love the look of the chip sauce. Looks so wrong. And I concur with Lizzie - the burger looks grey. But I bet it was super tasty.

Dan said...

Fran - Byron is one I haven't tried yet. It's still all about the Hawksmoor burger IMO.

Lizzie - it does look quite well done doesn't it, the Chef recommended it medium, so that's what it's supposed to be.

Browners - The chip sauce was seriously wrong, but very very nice. And despite the burger being a bit overdone perhaps, it was bloody good.

gastrogeek said...

Gorgeous looking burger, even if it wasn't quite as good as the Hawksmoor one - and those chips look positively filthy with all that sauce slathered over them! Fantastic post.

LexEat! said...

Hmmm, nice buns - they look delish!

Unknown said...

I love the look of the animal fries - they look like the way they do frites in Belgium which caused me to put on 5 kilos in the 6 months I lived there!

Merlotti said...

Dan, this looks great! We popped along to Hawksmoor last minute last night but tables were sparse! Love the look of the onions, but would agree that I'd prefer a 'looser' texture! Yum!

azélias kitchen said...

Need a place to take husband on 21st this month and he's mad about burgers...hoping this place is still good as restaurants just like the stockmarket can fluctuate!

by the way came here through weird is that? I think I have you on my twitter list! :)