Every city seems to be awash with “up-market” burger joints these days, but I find myself unable to get excited about them. I really do think a burger is only a burger and that despite the restaurant’s claims, all of these places offer a pretty similar experience. Giles Coren, restaurant critic at The Times, in his funny reviews of Bryon and Maze Grill, writes about what he calls “burger twats”. (He’s an insufferable knob, I know, but check out the reviews anyway).
Byron’s key differentiator seems to be their focus on quality and provenance. They use only well-aged cuts of Aberdeen Angus beef and are proud of the fact their buns are made by a “4th generation family baker in the East End”.The Wife and I ordered a couple of cheeseburgers with a side of chips and onion rings. It’s true, the quality of the ingredients definitely shines through. The menu offerings are simple and unadorned, which I very much approve of. I’m not sure we need all the flim-flammery you get at the likes of Jo’burger. The burgers, ordered medium, arrived distinctly rare, but we didn’t mind. They were tasty and extremely juicy. The Wife had a little trouble with the soggy buns (ooh-er, matron…), but I had no such trouble as my burger didn’t last that long. I also liked the pickled gherkin served on the side.
The fries were excellent, very rustic and already well-seasoned by chef. The onion rings were unusual, the batter seemingly flavoured by some sort of dried herbs, but I disagree with Giles Coren – I quite enjoyed them. One thing I can’t understand, and this is common across all gourmet burger joints, is why the huge price difference in a cheeseburger and the unadorned version? £1 for a slice of cheese? Come off it, guys…
The service was very good, efficient and friendly, which you really need in a place like this. One thing though, the restaurant floor was littered and grubby, which doesn’t make a great impression as you walk through the door. Bit of attention needed here. Overall though, a good “cheap eat” option if you’re in London. We visited the Gloucester Road outpost but you’ll find several branches in London.