Monday, 27 July 2015

Slug & Lettuce / St Mary Axe


Who are they 

The Slug and Lettuce is a chain of bars commonly found in locations close to their progenitors All Bar One, offering better pub grub and a more varied selection of draught beer and cocktails. Given this, they tend to be found around the more upmarket ends of town and as this particular bar is next to the Gherkin on St Mary Axe, it attracts the usual collection of suits and ties looking for a liquid lunch, as well as me, my father and his friend who wanted something to eat along with a sneaky beer.

Thoughts

For a Wednesday lunch, it only dawned on us when we went in and saw such a busy restaurant area that that the sensible thing we should have done was to book, as most tables were taken by small groups of two to four people. However, there were plenty of tables left and the attentive waiting staff ensured that we were able to find a spot to sit and didn't have to endure the scrum at the bar.

Surprisingly, there are plentiful options when it comes to a burgers here, though I did note that we should have come in on a Monday when food is at 50% off. As is traditional for the burger blog, I opted for the Swiss; a bacon and cheeseburger with coleslaw, tomato and lettuce and encased in a brioche bun. So far, so normal, though I was impressed that you could order a selection of chips, skin on fries or wedges as your side order (though it probably made little difference to the portion size, as these are all likely cooked from frozen). The ensemble comes presented on a dark wooden paddle board as shown, with an annoying paper cover that reminds me of Habitat wallpaper. At least it doesn't tear when you're trying to cut the burger in two and then you end up with bits of paper on your mouthful of food, so it's an improvement there.

Firstly, the sides. The coleslaw is a decent example of its kind with not too much mayonnaise and crisp carrots. Likewise, the fries are nice enough despite being well-cooked frozen oven chips, my only issue being that there could have been more of them. As for the burger, it's nothing to write home about and in truth I wasn't exactly sure if I was expecting anything better from a bar. It's a better-than-average beef patty, straight from a catering packet and augmented with some decent seasoning that gives something that's lightly flavoured for a well done bit of reformed minced beef and the addition of the fresh salad and light brioche bun makes for large bites, only it does seem that it looks better than it tastes. That's not to say that it's not any good and far from it; it's certainly better than McDonald's and streets better than some of the poor excuses for a burger I have had in pubs, but just nothing special.

I do think that for more than a tenner and without a drink, it makes for a very expensive lunch and if it's a lunchtime burger you're looking for, you can certainly do better if you happened to wonder up toward Liverpool Street to Patty & Pun and you can certainly do a beer and a burger cheaper elsewhere too.

Conclusion

Not bad for a pub lunch burger and certainly on par with the usual fare you can find at a central London establishment but at a premium price for being in an upmarket bar.

Score

6/10

Where can I find them