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four legs, compton arms
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Hype Dish: Four Legs’ incomparable Dexter Cheeseburger

Ed McIlroy, one half of chef duo Four Legs, explains how a burger they made ‘on the fly’ became a cult classic

By Isabelle Aron
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When chef duo Ed McIlroy and Jamie Allan (aka Four Legs) took up residency at The Compton Arms in April last year, their most famed dish wasn’t even on the menu. A few weeks in, they decided they should serve a cheeseburger – it was a pub, after all. ‘We just made it on the fly,’ explains McIlroy. ‘We thought: That’s pretty good, we’ll put it on.’ It took off, in a big way. Soon, they were serving 300 Dexter Cheeseburgers every week. Here, McIlroy talks us through the pair’s unexpected hit creation.

The bun

‘We get the brioche buns from a tiny bakery. There’s no consistency: sometimes they’re massive, sometimes they’re tiny but they’re always delicious. I quite like that.’

The sauce

‘It’s just ketchup and mayo, sometimes mustard. We make our own mayo but we use Heinz ketchup. I don’t want farmers’ market ketchup anywhere near my burger.’

The burger

‘It’s dexter burger mince, a bit of extra fat and that’s it. It’s not seasoned. We ball it up and then whack it on the grill, like a classic smashed patty. That gives it crispier edges.’

The cheese

‘We use American burger cheese. I don’t even know if there’s any dairy in it, but I think it’s the only cheese that should go in a burger. Blue cheese in a burger: what is that?’

The extras

‘We pickle cucumbers in vinegar and sugar and we use raw onion, diced small.
It tastes a bit like a Big Mac. It wasn’t deliberate but, for me it’s a nostalgic taste.’

Four Legs at The Compton Arms. 4 Compton Avenue. £10.50.

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