1. DIRTY COP OUT
DIRTY BURGER, 13 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA, £6
While our fickle burger culture might have reached a “dirty” nadir to make room for the rise of more modern “cheeky” food, the Dirty Cop Out deserves to live on in the annals of burger history. A mushroom burger to tempt even the meat eaters, it is truly a nasty slice of portobello filth. By which we mean it’s a hot greasy mess of delicious.
2. DEAD HIPPIE BURGER
£8.75, MEATliquor, 74 Welbeck St, W1G 0BA
The celebrated meat-fetishists at MEATliquor (and its expanding chain of spin-offs) serve unashamedly unhealthy burgers that clog the streets with hungry queuing diners and your arteries with sweet, sweet cholesterol. The Dead Hippie is their best-seller: two mustard-fried patties drowning in their trademarked Dead Hippie sauce and crowned with minced onion.
3. GROUND RIB STEAK BURGER
£17.50, HIX SOHO, 66-70 Brewer St, W1F 9UP
A restaurant that takes immense pride in the quality of its beef, HIX Soho isn’t afraid to mash up some top-notch meat for its patties. Their ground rib steak burger ticks every burger box there is: it’s tall, it’s structurally sound, and it’s simply seasoned to preserve the flavours of the quality steak from whence it originated.
4. WOLLENSKY’S BUTCHER BURGER
£16, SMITH & WOLLENSKY, The Adelphi Building, WC2N 6HT
You’d expect renowned American steakhouse Smith & Wollensky to throw together at least a half-decent burger given its beef-handling credentials. When it comes to Wollensky’s Butcher Burger the restaurant doesn’t disappoint, wisely avoiding overcomplicating the situation by minimising toppings and allowing its world-class beef patty to remain the star of the show.
5. BACON CHEESEBURGER
£7, BLEECKER STREET, Montgomery Square, E14 5JJ
A much underrated and oft-ignored quality of a good burger is the crunch. Not the crunch of the contents of the sandwich itself, but of the toasted bun, cooked to the precise point that the bread becomes less grease-absorbant, while also not browning so much as to affect the flavour of the meat, sauce and toppings. Bleecker Street understands this. They understand it like no other.
6. THE HONEST BURGER
£10.50, HONEST BURGER, 12 Widegate St, E1 7HP
Way back when the only kind of burger worth putting in your face was prefixed with a grubby word like “dirty”, “filthy”, “nasty”, “guilty” or “oily gut” – which all somehow meant “good” – Honest Burgers bucked the mucky trend and flipped up some fine old traditional burgers. Not these mean-sounding burgers, but nice, upstanding burgers you could introduce to your parents. The eponymous Honest burger is the finest example of their ongoing work.
7. ARI GOLD
£7.50, PATTY & BUN, 22-23 Liverpool St, EC2M 7PD
You can tell when a burger’s been built with care and attention. Order the Ari Gold from Patty & Bun and you’ll find a brioche bun crammed with not only cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and mayo on a succulent beef patty, but topped with the most important ingredient of all: love.
8. GREEDY BEAR
£10, STOKEY BEARS, 129 Stoke Newington High St, N16 0PH
When God was handing out burgers in heaven (perhaps there’s a buffet, who knows), Stokey Bears was standing first in line. They serve craft beer and an array of life-changing burgers from their rustic shed of a shop in Stoke Newington. The “double-oak-smoked bacon-topped Grizzly Bear burger” is not only fun to say, but deeply entertaining to ingest too.