It would seem I’m quite possibly the last food blogger in London to eat at Byron, I’ve no idea why I haven’t visited before, but the opportunity just seems to have kept eluding me. What makes this apparent oversight even more surprising is the fact that Byron is extremely well regarded for their burgers, by those ‘in the know’, with even such luminaries as Giles Coren among those heaping plaudits upon it, and as regular readers of this blog know… I love a good burger.
Byron appears to punch well above its weight. Although price wise it inhabits the territory of more mundane high street chains, its burgers are often compared favourably to more premium priced offerings such at Hawksmoor and Goodman. (Incidentally, I consider Hawksmoors burger to be the best in London).
So, just a bit of a reputation to live up to then.
I rocked up on a beautiful sunny lunchtime to the most recently opened Byron outpost, located in Covent Garden and took some time to admire the shopfitting, it appears to be an old pub, and its quite obvious some serious attention to detail has been lavished on the place with the awnings and old fashioned signwriting on the windows.
The interior was equally impressive, with high ceilings, leather clad booths and the inviting smell of grilled meat wafting from the open kitchen area running along the back.
Taking a booth seat, I already knew what I wanted to order…once again I’d picked the brains of my Twitter pals, and ‘knew’ that the general consensus considered the ‘Byron’ to be the burger to order, the courgette fries were good, as were the onion rings…. oh and the Oreo Cookie milkshake was excellent. Purely in the interest of research, I decided to order all of these things.
My milkshake arrived first residing in a large stainless steel beaker, frosted and glistening with condensation, the butter coloured ice cream spotted with blitzed Oreo cookies. I had a sip, and yeah, the recommendation I’d received was spot on. It was bloody good, really rich and thick. Great stuff.
Everything else arrived all at once; ignoring the side dishes for the moment I surveyed my ‘Byron’ burger with a critical eye. As mentioned previously on this blog, there is some debate within the food blogger community about what constitutes the perfect burger bun. There seems to be a general agreement that a Ciabatta bun (as preferred by Hache) is bad. A Brioche style sweet bun, as favoured by a few of the more premium purveyors of burgers (including Hawksmoor) is considered to be the best. A floury soft ‘bap’ falls somewhere between these two extremes, and this is what I saw before me sandwiching my burger.
As well as the obligatory slice of tomato, some red onion and lettuce my ‘Byron’ came graced with melted cheese, a crisscross of rather good bacon and a slick of ‘Byron Sauce’. The burger itself looked suitably juicy, chargrilled and thick – time for a bite.
All Byron’s burgers are cooked medium as standard, and it was nice to see a pink interior as I took my first chomp.
Yep, no doubt about it – Bryon do a cracking burger, rich meaty and moist, as evidenced by the juice dripping onto my plate which had somehow managed to evade the soft bun, nevertheless it was doing an admirable job of soaking it up. Although I think I'd prefer to see a brioche style bun instead, I just think it tastes better.
All of the other component ingredients did their parts, contributing to the whole, no complaints.
I liked the Byron burger a lot.
A quick word about the sides,
The Onion Rings looked like very good examples, being ensconced in a very light, crisp looking batter and puffed up nicely, and yep they were good as they looked.
The Courgette fries were pretty good as well, and made an interesting diversion from the standard fries, which if I’m honest were a bit of a weak point when stacked up alongside such a well-made burger.
They were slightly limp, and just a bit ordinary, perfect fries in my opinion need to be really crisp, and these didn’t quite cut it.
Overall, I’d say Byron does an extremely good burger, and it does fare well against some of the better offerings in London. It's Burgers certainly aren’t as good as Hawksmoor's, Goodman's or Bob Bob Ricard's, but the quality isn’t that far off, and considering it comes in at somewhere close to half the price, I’d say that’s pretty damn impressive. Certainly just the job for anyone looking for a more readily accessible, quality burger fix in London at a more affordable price.
33-35 Wellington Street
Tel 020 7420 9850