Sunday, 12 May 2013

BRGR Co / Wardour Street

Thanks as ever to Mr. Hazeel for a great photo!

Who are they?


Brgr are an unassuming and cosy little burger bar, ensconced just off of Oxford Street in London's busy West End. Having been around for a good couple of years, they already have a reputation for a decent take on a burger and it was high time to check them out. 

This review is different in that I have actually been there twice recently and for different fare, so I have covered both trips/

Thoughts

One of the nice things that Brgr Co. offer is a set menu of "burger high tea", comprised of three different sliders, a portion of chips and several small desserts, accompanied by a cocktail and half glass of prosecco. It certainly makes for a pretty plate, though unfortunately the cocktail tastes more akin to the mouthwash at a dentists and perhaps doesn't properly suit the meal. However, the sliders are an excellent idea and the selection of beef, lobster and chicken is perfect to tickle your taste buds.

The chicken benefits from the flame grilled cooking process and comes tenderly cooked and crispy, whilst the lobster burger (not available any other way at Brgr) melts in the mouth and is helped by the guacomole. But it is the beef burger, a miniature version of the kind served on the a la carte menu, that really shows you what you can enjoy here. It's very much the gateway drug version of a burger and if you are not fussed about the sweet puddings it very much justifies a second visit to try a proper version of their offerings.


And no, I don't mean that terrible 90s show Sliders
Which moves us on delightfully to this week's outing on a miserable Thursday evening. Given that Brgr do not take orders (the reservations system on their website is curiously just for late night visits), we chanced it by arriving just after 7pm and were seated relatively fuss-free in a half full venue. Ten minutes later after having ordered, we looked around to see that Brgr had suddenly completely filled up with people. It's argueable whether this is testament to their popularity or the rather petite size of the restaurant, but this does not seem to impact on service or quality and the waitresses do work hard to get you your food and drinks promptly.

Following in a theme of burger gastronomy at the venue, rather than opt for a set burger, they ask you to pick between 4oz, 6oz and 8oz sizes or the gourmet 6oz sized burger and chose your fillings appropriate to your tastes, with a nice selection of different cheeses and toppings. All come with a soft bun and typical lettuce / tomato / gherkin salad and as I usually go for a gourmet bacon cheeseburger, the combination of vintage cheddar and lots of bacon paired with the 6oz gourmet beef cut solved this problem ably. With a side order of fries, fried with truffle oil and sprinkled with Parmesan, and a Mac & Cheese to start, all arrived fresh from the kitchen within 15 minutes of ordering and is lovingly arranged in checked napkins.

Upon immediate inspection, a nice touch is that the burger comes separate from the salad, meaning that for those who prefer to leave, say, the tomato slice aside without damaging the taste of the burger, they can do so easily. It also allows easier access to inspect the innards of the bun, revealing a liberal amount of bacon and cheese to enjoy. Speaking of buns, Brgr break from the norm and opt for soft burger buns that compress nicely into the burgers, meaning there will be minimal instances of jaw-locking for those who might go for a double.

Taste-wise, the burger benefits from the soft and slightly stodgy bun whilst the medium patty imparted a slightly smokey aftertaste as a result of the flame grill. The kitchen staff certainly know their craft, with the medium cooked patty hitting that great sweet spot between not too dry and not too greasy, and while the meat is not yet at the Goodman or Hawksmoor level, you'd be hard pressed to find something to a similar standard at the price.  

Something I did notice as well is that the burger comes very much "as-is", so in the same vein of customisation as in the menu, Brgr omit things like tomato relish and leave it up to their diners to add what condiments they like. It's kind of a double-edged sword: on the one hand, customers can do what they like when ordering and eating, but on the other hand it's a shame that they don't provide signature relishes as standard - all sauces come as extras.

The fries are also worth discussing, as the addition of truffle oil sadly didn't seem to provide a decent enough impact on the chips and the parmesan proved too light a taste to make much difference either. It's a real shame as the fries themselves were nice and crispy - usually adding truffle oil makes for a safe bet to go for. Whilst I sadly can't recommend these, at the very least the standard fries are decent enough already.
Before you question whether I am being over-critical, I do want to point out that the Brgr burger itself is well worth a visit for and the use of a soft bun makes a definite improvement over all others who go for slightly crispy or polenta topped buns. You can certainly do a lot worse when it comes to burgers and the nice variety of different toppings means you can make that ultimate burger however you like.

Conclusion

A solid effort from Brgr despite the lackluster sides, proving that Soho has some hidden gems when it comes to burgers. If you want to woo a lady friend, the slider menu is definitely a good option. I know it's a while before Valentine's day, but if your other half likes burgers, this is a great way to go.

Thanks again to Mr Hazeel for proving once again that his phone's camera trounces mine and for the excellent company as always.

Score

7.5/10

Where can I find them?
Located close to Tottenham Court Road tube and just off of Oxford Street.