There are times where attempting this street food thing ‘aint easy. For all the planning you might do, all the ordering and preparing of ingredients, letting everyone know where you’re going to be, you cannot control the weather. This long Jubilee weekend – our second and last 4 day break of the year – all over London, little clusters of smoky vans and grills under gazebos, met the hungry public at locations all over the city.
On the edge of the City of London, up on the roof of the Queen of Hoxton pub in East London, dodging the showers were “Patty & Bun”, fairly recent arrivals onto peoples London burger shortlist. A brief residency in The Doodle Bar in Battersea behind them, they’re about to pitch up for another residency in Soho‘s “The Endurance” pub for a month, from the 12th of June.
Cooking up on an exposed roof top at the end of a British Spring might be either judged ambitious or foolish, depending how things turn out. A week prior to our visit, London was bathed in dazzling heat up in the 80s. Jubilee weekend instead was spent dodging showers, seeking out occasional flashes of (temporary) sunshine and – in the case of Patty & Bun – spending the first few hours of their début service fixing the electrics of their temporary kitchen so they could kick off. So it goes (top marks to Joe from P&B for keeping us updated as to the progress on the repairs whilst they took place)
Power restored, and menu perused, we went for an “Ari Gold” cheeseburger ( inspired curious by Jeremy Piven‘s foul mouthed agent from “Entourage” for reasons I forgot to ask), a “Jose Jose” chilliburger and an order of their Rosemary-salt chips. Both are complex combinations of flavours, again ambitious, but as the sun just began to poke through the clouds, would they prove more reliable than the weather ?
So many burgers that we tried in London of late have suffered from severe underseasoning. P&B to their credit most certainly do not fall at this first hurdle, the patties cooked just over medium – retaining a pink heart – cloched during cooking to retain their juices, released as you bite into the finished article.
The “Ari Gold” (Lettuce, Tomato, Pickled Onions, Ketchup, their own smokey mayo in a Brioche bun) whilst in principle not ground breaking in concept, managed the difficult trick t become more than the sum of its component parts. In particular, the onion didn’t overpower its brethren-in-bun (a common complaint), a nicely balanced and well-constructed take on a classic cheeseburger.
“Jose Jose”, the menu’s chilliburger, upped the anti further (Cheese, Tomato, Rocket, Chilli Chorizo Relish, Pickled Onions, that smokey mayo again, a bit of ketchup all in a Brioche bun). Thinking back to Ribstock a couple of months back, Ben Spalding used a similar basis as that relish for his marinade (albeit, much reduced) and much on that occasion as an accompaniment to pork, the chilli and Chorizo add real depth to the sandwich but without introducing too much heat. Whilst I might have welcomed a bit of extra heat, again the balance was well achieved; even the tomato (which I normally try and avoid as a burger ingredient as it add moisture, but generally no flavour) felt part of the mix and not as a generic afterthought. The chips, double fried and in skins, were well seasoned and light on the Rosemary (so another personal bugbear dodged by P&B).
Pulling together these burgers together this well in only their second outing – even of their first was a weekly residency over a couple of months – especially after such a difficult set-up, shows the P&B boys have really got their service really well drilled. Attention to detail in how to construct a balanced combination of flavours is something that is not easy to achieve, taking these two factors into account, you’d be wise to get in early for their upcoming Soho gig. Once word gets out, there be a familiarly epic queue for sure.