Saturday, 20 April 2013

Goodman / Old Jewry



 


Who are they?

Goodman are very much in the same vein as Hawksmoor when it comes to burgers: both are primarily premium steak houses, so their experience with good quality beef naturally lends itself to making excellent beef burgers. So, in continuation of my search in London for good eateries, a Thursday night opportunity with long time supporter of the cause Mr. Hazeel made its appearance and we went to see what all the fuss is about.

Thoughts

Nestled in the heart of the City of London on one of the side streets of Cheapside, you would be forgiven for not finding Goodman quite so easily, though when we arrived on a Thursday night it seemed that others were well aware of this eatery; in fact, even for a Thursday it was not possible to get a reservation any later than 6.15pm and certainly not for more than two people. 

From the first glances at the restaurant, it is clear from the dark interior decor and lavish displays of meats in the store room that Goodman are set out to impress the City crowd, with steaks being very much the primary fare and the burger acting as a beef-based diversion. Our embarrassment was near palpable after we had to stop our enthusiastic waitress mid-flow as she gave the slightest details, though she seemed to take it in good spirits and returned promptly with our orders of burgers and sides.

The burger, a sturdy-looking wedge of prime minced steak, is accompanied by lettuce leaf, tomato, gherkin and a toasted bun, with bacon and cheese added as an optional extra. In a change from other restaurants the burger is served with chips by default, almost as if they are expecting you to order it as a side dish and thought it better to save on some valuable eating time. We also opted to try their Mac & Cheese, which comes served either with lobster or truffle sauce - more on this later. As the photographs will attest, the Goodman burger scores highly on presentation, with the medium-cooked burger patty visibly cooked to this standard.

Mac & Cheese with truffle sauce: indulgent and mouth-watering 
From the first bite, it is clear that the beef is very much the star of the show and does not share this at all with its accompaniments. The cheese, a mature cheddar, is thin enough to be near-translucent when melted on the patty, with thin and well-cooked slices of bacon joining on top. The salad components are sparing as well, so that the rich flavors of the steak mince are allowed to come forth with every bite. Had the burger not come with bacon and cheese I would have felt something was missing and whilst these add little pockets of different tastes as well, I felt at times this was overwhelmed by the taste of the beef. 

Another thing to note here was that the bun held together remarkably well, remaining intact and crispy both on the bottom and the top halves. What we initially put down to quality we later realised was because the burger itself was made with very lean meat and so had very little fat to ooze from the patty. The result of this achievement is that the meat may actually be a little on the dry side for some tastes, though this is subjective and didn't degrade our experience by much.

As for the chips, these are thick cut and very fluffy inside, although the outsides are not as crispy as they first appear and perhaps were they so, they might better compliment the soft innards more fully. This is a minor complaint however and there are certainly plenty of them to enjoy with the small, personalised dishes of condiments provided. Looking across to the Mac & Cheese with truffle sauce, this hits all the right notes and succeeds in creating a creamy and deep flavour. What looks at first glance a small side dish is actually made to almost perfect proportions, being both filling and delicious. Whilst he Mac & Cheese with lobster is no slouch and also scores highly, it is the truffle that is clearly the star of the show here. Perhaps an additional visit to try the chips in truffle sauce might be in order here - excellent taste in sides, Goodman!

Regarding the burger it certainly offers good value for money, considering the caliber of meat used and the location of the venue and should definitely be on anyone's go-to list. If anything, it is very much a gateway dish in to what else the restaurant can offer and steak aficionados certainly need look no further. While I do feel Hawksmoor have put a lot more effort into their burgers and are rewarded for the subtleties of flavour with their ingredients, Goodman offer a burger that concentrates on showcasing the qualities of their beef and demonstrate an understanding of what sides work well to compliment this.

Conclusion

It's certainly difficult to rank this burger without referring to Hawksmoor at all, however Goodman have definitely proven themselves. Despite not being able to topple my first choice (and it's tough to get near the top of the list these days!), theirs is very much a superior burger that rises significantly above the rest of the pack, with an excellent spin on Mac & Cheese that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Thanks again to Mr Hazeel for the company and for donating a much better photograph of the main meal than I was able to take myself.

Score

8.5/10

Where can I find them?
Three restaurants across London, the Old Jewry venue is easy to get to from Bank tube station