I absolutely love Ed's Easy Diner. I've got a particular fondness of the one in Soho that occupies a cake-wedge shaped building on the corner of Old Compton Street and Moor Street. I've never had a bad experience in there, always good vibes and great no-nonsense burgers...
I haven't been in for ages, not since setting sail aboard the good ship Burgerac at the start of this year, so I popped in to grab a late lunch the other day after a long morning of wandering round the brilliant Pick Me Up graphic art fair at Somerset House. Grabbed myself a seat at the counter and ordered a Big Bubba with fries and an ice cold classic bottle of Coke.
The fries arrived and reminded me that Ed's fries aren't actually French fries but crispy chips - probably double or triple cooked. Just as I was dunking the very first chip in some Heinz ketchup, the two chefs, only a few feet in front of me in the open kitchen started enthusiastically singing along to the chorus of Shalimar's, I Can Make You Feel Good. Such was their joy, I almost joined in. Then came the main event, the Big Bubba – which consists of a patty of exclusively produced, fully traceable, prime West Country beef, sweet-cured bacon and American cheese, served with lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickle, mayonaise and mild American mustard, served thus:
Now I know it was a late lunch after about four hours of walking around a big art show, but when my Big Bubba arrived, I thought it was probably the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I took a bite and thought I'd died and gone to burger-heaven...
I've had a few Big Bubbas over the years and they always look and taste great. The beef is succulent, tasty and perfectly cooked, the salad is crisp and there's just the right amount of everything – which is all cut at the optimum thickness to deliver perfect balance of flavour whilst being squashable so you can eat the thing. The bun is as unfancy as you can get but does its job perfectly. 0h, and the burger is served in a little white paper bag which is there to catch any juice, sauce, extras that might fall out while you're eating. Thoughtful, but actually, as it turned out, unnecessary. Then again, my burger management skills are probably better than most!
Having recently investigated burgers in various London establishments including Automat, Byron, Hawksmoor, Bar Boulud, Joe Allen's and Rivington Grill, I still rate Ed's Big Bubba burger as one of London's most pleasing. If I'm nit-picking, I prefer french fries to Ed's chunky chips, but the Big Bubba is an American hamburger, served as authentically as can be here in London, and the best word I can think of to describe the joy it gave me at approximately 3.30pm the other day is "epiphanal".
Actually, I think Ed's Big Bubba is markedly better than Byron's bacon and cheese equivalent, the Byron Burger. Furthermore, if the quality and flavour of the Big Bubba I've been telling you about is typical of its output, I have no idea why Ed's Easy Diner is regularly omitted from various lists on blogs and in magazines of London's top burgers. Is it not cool enough for hipster lists? Or has Ed's been doing what they do so long that people have forgotten how great their American diner fare is?
Of course, context, as every burger detective knows, is everything and not every establishment can be all things to all people. However, for me, the American diner setting combined with the infectious joy of the staff in the Moor Street branch of Ed's Easy Diner – not to mention the attention to detail they consistently lavish on everything they serve – really makes this joint one of my most happy burger places.
12 Moor Street
Old Compton Street
London W1D 5NG
Tel: 020 7434 4439
Mon-Sat: Midday - Midnight