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 here)
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