Listen up burger fans: for the next two weeks head chef Fred Smith at the Admiral Codrington is serving an 8oz Chilli Cheeseburger as a lunchtime-only special. I had one the other day and found that there are no vinegary jalapenos here - nor is the chilli a standard mince meat affair. Instead the base of Fred's chilli is slow braised short rib, with smokey chipotle and smoked paprika providing the flavour and the heat...
BOOM! Let me talk you through the basic structure: the 100% beef Ad Cod patty sits on a layer of chilli slaw comprising super-thin strips of red and green finger chillies, shredded iceberg lettuce and what Fred describes as "pickled jalapeno mayo". The patty itself, as you can see, is positively dripping with glorious American cheese - which seems have become one with the braised short rib chilli that makes this burger so special...
So, in the hand, this is a weighty burger - the burger patty is around 7oz and there's a further ounce of the short rib chilli. There's nothing firm about it either - The bun is soft and light and easily squashes around a beautifully pink medium rare, cheese-shrouded patty. The chilli slaw adds a crisp crunch and a lovely flavour of fresh chilli. There are tiny cubes of pickled red onion too that add tiny bursts of sharpness. Wow.
The short rib chilli itself is absolutely delightful, with a deep, warm comforting smokey chipotle flavour and heat. It's not blow-your-head-off spicy - but it does pack quite a punch in a sneaky kind of way. You know, the kind of chilli heat that you don't notice in the mouth so much as makes your eyebrows sweat.
Here's a bite through that shows the structure with the slaw at the bottom and the lovely juicy patty. You can also see that both the top and the bottom of the bun have been rubbed in a reddish paste of some sort. That ain't nothing but an even application of chipotle paste. Genius.
I will say that there's a lot of cheese in this burger. Fred has sandwiched the chilli between layers of American cheese - which means that the weight of chilli-laden cheese makes it prone to the whim of gravity. Some made a bid for freedom in a southerly direction as I was eating and I was glad to have a knife and fork to simply transfer the cheesey chilli stuff that fell onto my wooden board onto my chilli cheese fries.
And the fries? Well, what a treat! They're not actually on the menu at all but were offered when I ordered the burger. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out that chips are a really super vehicle for the short rib chilli. And I love the addition of tiny cubes of lime-soaked red onion and the sprinkling of finely sliced fresh chilli and herbs which make a big bowl of chips blanketed in American cheese and chilli feel light and refined.
Basically, I strongly advise you book an afternoon off work next week (if you don't work within walking distance) and head over to Chelsea for a relaxed lunch to sample one one of these. And if your waitress happens to ask if you'd like chilli cheese fries with your burger? Well, you know what to do...
The Admiral Codrington
17 Mossop Street
London SW3 2LY
Tel: +44 (0)20 7581 0005
Read about my previous Ad Cod adventures here