Whilst it is my oh-so-noble mission to sniff out the best burgers London has to offer, it's inevitable that occasionally I stumble upon one that is probably best avoided. The Cheeseburger at Guerilla Burger, near Selfridges, is one such burger. Pancake-like, it's as low in flavour as it is in height...
If I was at a drunken student barbeque, then the above plate of food might be considered "a good effort". However, I'm at a restaurant. A London restaurant dedicated to burgers. And I have no idea why the folks at Guerilla Burgers think the above plate of food might be considered an attractive proposition. Is this cheesy stodge in front of me representative of their vision of burger perfection? I fucking hope not, it looks horrible. I plonk the bog standard tomato, lettuce and some onion on top of the cheese blanket (complete with eye-like bubble) and put the lid on after squeezing on some French's mustard and some Heinz tommy-k. Even with the salad in it, the burger, bun-and-all, stands at an impressively two-dimensional three centimetres tall. It's one of the least appealing burgers I've faced for quite some time. Still, maybe it's a taste sensation...
Er, no. It's not a taste sensation. It's woefully bland. Neither the patty nor the cheese has any redeeming qualities. Actually there is a flavour, but it's neither beefy or cheesy (or redeeming). I can only describe said flavour as both dirty and greasy. I persevere. I take another photo. I try just a bit of the patty on its own. I close my eyes, chew gently and really try to discern something worthy. I give up. I try one of the Crinkly Fries. Yes, they have been fried, but from frozen. I sigh and find that I'm actually shaking my head in dismay...
As I sit there looking at what lies before me I admit to myself that I'm baffled. What the fuck is this all about? It's not of the American school of fast food, and it's definitely not street food. Nor is it (rather obviously) an attempt at a gourmet burger experience. If indeed this style of burger has a name, then it is a lazy-ass school dinner burger. The kind of heated-up-by-dinner-ladies crap that Saint Jamie (Oliver) has crusaded against in recent years. There's a complete lack of joy here.
Despite the fact that the fries were also fucking shit, it has to be said that the staff I encountered at GB were delightful. But cheery efficiency just doesn't make up for bland food. Whoever the brains behind Guerilla Burger is needs to wake up and smell the coffee. London's burger landscape is evolving rapidly. There's a food revolution happening not just in restaurants, gastro pubs and dedicated burger joints all over town, but on the streets too. When you can buy food from a market stall that's served in a paper bag yet looks and tastes a billion times better than what's offered here, then what's the point? Do the people that run GB ever eat out in London? Do they think what they're doing passes muster in today's burger landscape? Fuck, do they even like burgers? I'm sorry to say it but Guerilla Burgers feels like a scam to take money off unsuspecting passers by, rather than a bone fide burger joint.
35 St James Street
Tel: 020 7486 1511