© Alice Ehrlich
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Wed Aug 22 2012
When we rolled up at 12.30pm on the first official day of trading, the woman ahead of us told the people taking food orders: 'I've been dying to come here for days.' Now, pause to consider that the object of her gastronomic lust is a corrugated-steel shack with furnishings that might have been rejected by a salvage yard. The menu is so short it takes 10 seconds to read if you're a slow reader. There's a picturesque view of the car park that abuts the back wall of the dining room. So: what on earth is going on?
The answer: Dirty Burger, the much fêted purveyor of primo beef-on-a-bun. After wandering round several London locations, the Soho House operation finally settled here, around the back from Pizza East and upstairs from the Chicken Shop. The place got a horde of followers on their first Friday, when they tweeted that they were giving away free burgers for one hour. They ended up serving 550.
You order from a counter: a couple of burgers (£5.50 apiece), sides of crinkle-cut fries and onion fries (both £2.50), and a vanilla milkshake (£4) for us. They give you a bill with a number on it, and when your number comes up you go and grab your food.
And then the fun starts, because the food is exceptional. The patties (tasteful in size) have a 15 per cent fat content, which is at the low end of the 15-20 per cent range needed to make perfect burgers. It's a blend of several cuts, including rib eye and bavette. They cook it all the way through and plop it onto a tasty toasted roll with pickles, tomato, lettuce, cheese and a condiment that contains - inter alia - French and American mustards and mayonnaise.
The result is sensational. The rich flavour of the meat, wonderfully heightened by the condiments, makes this a deeply satisfying lunch even if you eat nothing else.
But that would be a mistake, because the side dishes are, if anything, better than the burgers. The chips are irregularly cut and triple-cooked à la mode de Heston Blumenthal (poach, blanch, fry). The onions are red onions, in shreds, deep-fried with a cider tempura batter. Few American diners make onion rings this good.
And the milkshake was fine.
Dirty Burger sits in a catchment area dense with both local residents and office workers. They were there in force right from the beginning, and they'll be back. Dirty Burger is sure to clean up.
Dirty Burger 79 Highgate Road