As you may be aware, me and burgers have not been good bedfellows of late. Frankly, I'd go so far as to say I'm doomed when it comes to the joys of a fine burger. After four bookings and four attempts to hit Hawksmoor, I still haven't sampled their bonemarrow-rich version. It took me four visits to the Coach & Horses before I got my laughing gear around one of Henry's excellent versions of this staple dish. And after two or three postponed lunches with Iqbal at Roast, I was starting to think I'd never sample Lawrence Keogh's spin on meat in a bun.
Worse, in the meantime, the one burger I had managed was from the Ultimate Burger Company or Ultimate Burger Kitchen or the Hell Yes, We've Got Good Burgers Conglomerate or whatever the fuck the GBK-wannabes are calling themselves these days. Whatever it was called - a Fine, Ultimate or Gourmet burger - it was surely done so in an ironic manner. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever eaten but it was very, very poor.
So, with this irony in mind, I wasn't going to settle at Roast today until the burger was cooked, steaming and on a plate in front of me. After a starter of scallops - fat, fresh and dotted with garlic, chives and hazelnuts and served on a puree of Jersualem artichokes
- and an interim course of smoked black pudding (every bit as good as it sounds),
and following a quite stunning bottle of Roast's own English wine from Chapel Down - think Sauvignon Blanc freshness, Viognier-esque fruitiness with a finish of elderflower - it was time.
Was it worth the weeks of waiting? Do bears bear? Do bees bee? It's glorious: 10oz of Welsh Black beef, Ogleshield cheese (see Hawksmoor, THAT's how you spell it), a bun that absorbs the juices without disintegrating, a couple of rashers of fine bacon... I'm stuffed to the gills but my mouth's watering at the thought of another. It's accompanied by a sweet little frying basket of really good, golden, crispy chips. And, unlike Hawksmoor - as pointed out by The Boy Done Food - it's served by people who are happy to bring you food rather than people who apparently begrudge your very existence. It's yours for £12 (£2 extra for the bacon) from the bar menu or the Weekend Brunch menu. I'd heartily suggest you try it.