Is London over the burger craze yet? Seemingly not, as there are still new burger bars opening all the time. With such a range of fresh meat-flippers to choose from, a newcomer really has to do something different to stand out. In the case of Stax, that something is adding a few lesser-seen dishes from the southern US. Chicken breast is buttermilk-marinated then fried in the Southern way; shrimp is deep-fried; even a whole onion is deep-fried. If you like your food fried, then you’ve come to the right place.
There are some nice details in the dishes: the sweet brioche buns (bought in from the Balthazar bakery) are excellent quality, though we found ours fell apart too easily when wrapped around a moist burger. The triple-cooked chips were also paragons of their kind– skin-on, firm and fresh, tasting properly of tuber and well-seasoned. Our red cabbage slaw came with poppyseed stirred in to vary the texture and add interest.
While it gets the basics of the dishes mostly right, Stax misses a few tricks otherwise. The name suggests Southern or Memphis Soul, but the soundtrack was the usual bland MOR you can find at the turn of an FM dial. Desserts consist mainly of ice-cream based dishes (made in-house), which makes a very rich meal after that fried main course; but then you’re not likely to be coming here anyway if you’re concerned about healthy eating. The service, although jolly and obliging, was haphazard on both of our visits; orders were mixed up, the bill took a long time to sort out (all this at 12.5 percent service added). But dishes such as the fried shrimp po’boy or the fried green tomatoes make a very welcome change from the too-ubiquitous fried beef patty.