26 September 2010
A Goodman Is Hard To Find
We've all had them. Those days when nothing clicks, work-wise. Or when you just can't get started. Or when a brief chat about a certain type of food plants an idea that just won't be shifted.
Friday was one of those days when "all of the above" applied. Words wouldn't flow, the excesses of earlier in the week meant a little voice kept suggesting a return to the duvet and a Google Chat with William Leigh had planted an idea that just wouldn't go away: lunch. And, specifically, the sort of lunch that sits between two halves of bun, comes smothered in cheese, gets set-off by crisp lettuce and onion, and sits happily alongside a big portion of chips.
As soon as the burger was mentioned, a) nothing else would do; and b) no more work was going to be attempted. Initial thoughts of Roast's excellent 10oz Welsh Black burger were scuppered by a key detail: they only serve them on the Saturday brunch menu. The much discussed That Burger was considered briefly... but then discarded for reasons of geography and instant gratification. One word kept popping into my mind though: Goodman.
In a move sure to shock food writers of all levels, I had only been to Goodman once, to try the In n Out / US tribute burger they sometimes offer their close associates. Thanks to Will, my first Goodman experience was a guilty, cheap cheese-covered, probably unrepeatable pleasure.
However, everyone kept telling me I needed to try the regular burger.
That's when we discovered that both their new City outpost was fully booked, ditto the original Mayfair branch. While not getting the burger of your choice is about as middle class as problems get - though not as middle class as the Islington toddler I'd heard about throwing a full-on tantrum in a deli and screaming "but I WANT sun dried tomatoes!" - it was still pretty damned devastating in the circumstances.
However, thanks to Twitter, Will's friendship with the Goodman team and just plain, old-fashioned string pulling, a message came back from head chef John Cadieux. The restaurant's fully booked and it's not an ideal solution but they could set us up a table in the kitchen if we wanted?
We wanted. My how we wanted. Even on getting there and discovering we could have a proper table in the Maddox Street restaurant, we still wanted the kitchen. And that's why Friday lunchtime was spent just over from the frier, among the incredible smells, fridges full of meat and industrious (and friendly) staff, with views like this
while dripping all the juices of this
down the front of my shirt.
It might also explain why, with four of us beaming from ear-to-ear and loving the noise, "pudding" was some of John's newly sourced Canadian steak...
It was a good Friday.