If you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace full of people touting similar wares, you'll need a first class product and a charming personality. Luckily for Patty & Bun, the burgers (developed with Mark Jankel of Street Kitchen - more on that in a mo) are ace, and its head honcho, Joe Grossman, is one of the most endearingly ebuillient chaps you're ever likely to meet...
Actually, Joe's infectious enthusiasm has to take a lot of the credit for the food at P&B. You see, Joe ain't a bad cook by any stretch of the imagination BUT, whilst hatching his plans to start Patty & Bun a couple of years ago he was introduced to Street Kitchen's Mark Jankel by a family friend - and it's the friendship the pair have forged (over a shared passion for fresh, direct-from-source ingredients) that has led them to work together to develop P&B's mouthwatering menu. Joe's the first to admit that without this meeting of (burger-loving) minds, P&B's offerings simply wouldn't be what they are today.
"Mark's experience is invaluable," Joe affirms. "Soon after we first met we started doing development together, developing concepts and playing around with ideas and ingredients for super tasty burgers. Mark was opening The Hatch down in Battersea on Friday nights so he let me do some trading down there. That really was the birth of Patty & Bun. Whenever I did those nights or the pop-ups last year, the Street Kitchen guys were very much behind the scenes helping me out with all the prep work. And Mark is the first person I speak to if ever I need to talk shop. For example, we caned it the other night meaning we were low on buns the next morning. Street Kitchen were able to send me over 80 buns. Basically, Jankey's the man!"
To sample the fruits of Joe and Mark's frankly awesome burger developments you'll need to get on down to 54 James Street, slap bang in the centre of town. Meat lovers can choose from three different beef burgers, a chicken burger and a brilliantly named "Lambshank Redemption" burger.
To be perfectly honest, even the P&B menu's veggie option sounds awesome - the Portabello "Dig It" Mushroom burger comes with "buttermilk-battered baby courgettes and a tarragon mayo". But, as I'm sure you can imagine, I didn't go to eat a veggie burger. No siree, I went to put the Ari Gold Cheeseburger (named, bizarrely, after the neurotic movie agent character in TV show Entourage) through its paces, and to tuck into some sides, namely chips and the already legendary wings...
I actually went on P&B's very first service on the Friday lunchtime it opened on the 30th November. It was rammed and - thanks to some douchebag ordering 35 burgers to take away - we had to wait over an hour for our food to arrive. When it did, it's a wonder I took any photos at all I was so hungry. Above is how our tray of food arrived - note the lovely P&B stickers on top of the burger parcels denoting the type of burger. Nice.
The first thing to go in my gob was a chip. Cut with the skin on and sprinkled with rosemary salt (£2.50) they're neither too fat or too thin. I'd wager they're precisely the kind of chip Goldilocks would approve of. So far so good. Now for a wing - you get about six wings in a little bucket when you order the Winger Winger Chicken Dinner (£5) and they're really quite something. Developed with Mark Jankel at Street Kitchen, they're actually smoked confit wings with crisped skin which are smothered in a delicately spiced and reduced BBQ sauce before being served with a sprinkle of super-finely chopped spring onion. There's a very subtle oriental twang in the flavour and because it's confit, you can basically just pull the bone/s out of each wing they're so soft under the crisp skin.
Basically, these wings are VERY special. Apparently they take a day and a half to cook / prepare from start to finish. Let me tell you, it's worth every minute! I can't imagine visiting P&B and not ordering them. You simply gotta try 'em.
And so to the burger. The Ari Gold Cheeseburger consists of a beautiful beef patty positively smothered in American cheese, a smokey mayo, pickled red onion, slices of juicy tomato and some crisp lettuce leaves. You can add bacon for 50p, which of course I did, and it's all housed in a glazed brioche bun.
The above shot is pretty representative I think of an Ari Gold. I've had a few at P&B pop ups last year and they're always on the sloppy side of things. You need to get your Chicago lean on and make sure the drips land on the grease proof wrapper the burger is served in, rather than your lap. It's saucy, it's juicy, it drips a lot. But it's an absolute taste sensation. The smokey sauce, is set off by the vinegary twang of the pickled onions, and the richness of the cheese is complimented by a light brioche. In a city going bananas for burgers, the Ari Gold feels totally original. What can I tell you, I'm a fan!
But before I return to P&B, I've got another burger elsewhere to investigate. If the wonderful Ari Gold is the fruit of numerous development sessions with Mark Jankel, then it's to Street Kitchen's shiny airstream that I must next travel – to find out how SK's own burger offerings have benefited from what I can only describe as 'the Joe Grossman effect'. Stay tuned!
Patty & Bun
54 James Street
Tel: 020 7487 3188