The burger bandwagon rolls on and on. But which ones are the trailblazers, leaving the rest for dust? Here are the best ten in town (excluding the bigger chains, and in alphabetical order). Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.
The Advisory, named after the Asian Women's Advisory Centre formerly on this site, is so popular with Hackney locals that it's been known to run out of the brioche buns (and, for that matter, the stand-in brioche hot dog buns), having to serve its patties in the next day's brunch muffins instead. No matter, the three varieties (beef, bacon and veggie) are far better than you'd expect for the £5 price tag, while moreish sides (roasted carrots with thyme; chilli greens - all £3) seal the deal.
The Soho spin-off of a successful Beirut-based sibling, this 'burger company' has something of a transatlantic vibe. The menu takes the finest local ingredients and teams them with every big-name international condiment you could hope for (Heinz, HP, French’s, Tabasco). There are three ‘standard patties’ plus a couple of signature cuts, all available with optional toppings (vintage cheddar, Swiss gruyère), dips (Cajun aioli, horseradish mustard) and sides (coleslaw, jalapeños). We liked the ‘Butcher’s Cut’ burger (which came deconstructed), with its expertly chargrilled patty, glazed soft bun and pretty selection of garnishes. Service, meanwhile, is as crisp as the lettuce.Read more
It’s a pity that this branch of Honest Burgers doesn’t have quite the same bohemian feel as the Brixton original, but on the plus side, the prime Soho location will make it easier (for most people) to get to. And, let’s face it, we’re here for them burgers: patties fashioned from 35-day dry-aged British chuck steak – courtesy of posh butchers Ginger Pig – topped with the likes of smoked bacon, sweet pickled cucumbers and slices of lip-smacking cheddar. Chips are hand-cut and salt-crusted and there are some not-too-shabby options for veggies, such as the sweetcorn, cauliflower and shallot fritter-in-a-bun.
‘Classic’ burger with cheese: £12.75
Well before ‘sliders’ became the burger du jour, Bar Boulud was creating spectacular ‘petite’ burgers with plenty of va va voom. This contemporary bistro, set beneath the Mandarin Oriental hotel (and sibling to the equally A-list NYC original) offers four different versions, including the ‘Yankee’ (the most classic), the Southern-themed ‘Piggie’ (featuring pulled pork and fresh slaw), and the decadent ‘BB’ (with foie gras and braised rib meat). All are worthy of a place on this list, but our favourite is the ‘Frenchie’, where the juicy patty is topped with mellow tomato compote, a slice of soft morbier cheese, and shredded confit of pork belly.Read more
It’s already got a cult following, and not just because ‘dirty’ has became synonymous with ‘sexy’. DB actually has a rocking formula: cool junkyard chic interiors courtesy of ultra-slick owner Soho House, reasonable prices and exceptional cooking. A blend of carefully selected cuts goes into each patty, for a depth of flavour that when combined with pickles, cheese, lettuce, tomato and condiments, makes for a seriously good bite. But don’t forget the sides: the triple-cooked hand-cut chips and terrific tempura-battered onions rings deserve equal billing.Read more
Not everything served at Maze Grill is worth the high-end price tag, but the burger is a notable exception. Not only is it generous in its dimensions, but the patty comes perfectly cooked (to your taste) with a slathering of molten cheese, the traditional sesame bun comes lightly toasted, the bacon is thick and meaty, while the lettuce and tomato is crisp and fresh. It’s all simple stuff, but when pulled together, it makes for a seriously good burger, in tasteful, grown-up surroundings.Read more
Burger God Yianni Papoutis (who first wowed us with his creations from the back of a van) opened this grill-and-booze bar in 2011, but the sloppy, juicy burgers are as knock-your-socks off as ever. There’s ground chuck steak in each one, and all manner of toppings available: chilli, bacon, mushrooms… you get the picture. But our out-and-out favourite remains the ‘Dead Hippy’, where two thin double-stacked patties are anointed with melted cheese, tangy gherkins, finely diced onions and a ‘secret sauce’ so addictive that, if you didn’t know better, you’d think had crack in it.Read more
Flippin’ ’eck, these burgers are good. Served up from a rickety market stall (with bowls of toppings and a help-yourself roll of kitchen towel adding to the ‘amateur’ vibe), the quality of our food belied the humble setting. The buns were soft, bouncy brioche. Juicy, roughly chopped patties of 28 day aged chuck beef came perfectly cooked and properly seasoned. Toppings, meanwhile, ran from the classic (pickles, lettuce, slices of processed US cheese) to the inspired (crisp pieces of streaky bacon ‘candied’ in brown sugar, or slices of hot-and-sweet pickled red jalapeños. It’s fast food, but not as you know it.Read more
Mini Ibérico pork and foie gras burger: £6.50
From the same stable as Salt Yard and Dehesa, this smart and attractive tapas bar – once a Covent Garden boozer – might not be an obvious place to go looking for a burger. But the Opera Tavern mini-burger (if this was a Yankee-themed joint you’d probably call it a ‘slider’) is well worth seeking out. It layers a rich and supremely moist patty (fashioned from top-notch Ibérico pork meat and foie gras) with melted manchego and a crunchy battered onion ring, adds in the gentle hum of red onion jam against aioli and finishes with a few pieces of soft lettuce. Divine.Read more
As you’d expect from the name, the burgers here come both with a properly cooked ‘patty’ and a rich brioche ‘bun’, but the real star turn was the use of own-made mayos and relishes. Our ‘Smokey Robinson’, made with ‘smokey P&B mayo’, jammy caramelised onions and crisp bacon, was so good it deserved to be in a burger hall of fame. Fries were of a rustic ilk: skin-on, hand-cut thin chips with flecks of rosemary salt. Perhaps the only downside is that, surprise surprise, it doesn’t take bookings, and gets seriously busy. Our top tip: go on a dreary Tuesday afternoon, and get a bit of burger-shaped sunshine in your life.Read more