How many more burger pop-ups does London need? Maybe there’ll come a point when the sight of another glazed brioche bun, 28-day-aged patty or canape-sized chip bucket in a slightly jaded bar will be too much. For now though, the burgers can keep on flippin’, because the customers are still flockin’: Burger Breakout, barely open one week, is already heaving.
Housed in an old pub on shabby New Oxford Street, The Old Crown has sags and bumps in the floorboards, scratched paintwork, and the patina of use that money can’t buy. On top of that is the styled style – cracked, chunky wooden table tops, chandeliers and Spanish-lesson soundtrack playing in the toilets.
It felt as if popularity might have been getting the better of Burger Breakout on our visit. The OC Burger seemed a bit underloaded. Of the promised fillings, the thousand island dressing made the most confident and accomplished appearance, but the smoked onion jam had a minor role. Where the hot pickle had got to was unclear. The kitchen’s first attempt at a medium rare burger was only just warm, and very red; we sent it back. The second attempt at medium rare completely lacked any pink flush.
Special and show-stealing mention though has to go to the smoked horseradish salt: almost unnoticeable in the murky light, but it made the skin-on chips almost addictive.
On another visit, things were more impressive – the OC Burger was served medium rare, as requested. But at £12 for a burger and chips, it should be right every time. Maybe the first week wobbles will disappear once the twitter storm around the Old Crown has abated.