Nov 2 2012

Honest Burgers

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I went to Honest Burgers by coincidence. Looking rough and gangster like and trying to blend in, I headed to Brixton as I wanted to go to a new Southern fried chicken and beer place called Wishbone in the Brixton Market, but when I got there and walked around a few times (and got some people shouting at me “hey sexy” clearly an example that my dressing down and trying to blend in was not working) and could not find the place, I googled it once again and realised it was not yet open. So I had to come up with another plan of where to go for food on a Friday evening. I could have gone back to central London and given up on the whole Brixton thing, but on my printed out map it actually had tagged a few restaurants (google maps thankfully does it these days) and one of the places was “Honest Burgers”, and I had heard and read a lot about this place, so I was keen to try it.

Brixton market is actually quite cool if you have not been there (like me before this visit). There is the open-air market, which sells food, but there is also a huge sheltered area full of restaurants. You can find the famous Franco Manca pizza restaurant there, as well as various small and really funky restaurants from Columbian to Japanese and everything in between. The whole Brixton Village Market is very funky, loads of very normal people are there, just chatting and eating and having a great time, and this does not seem dangerous or strange in any way and feels like you could easily be in Soho.

We arrived at Honest Burgers in the middle of Brixton Village Market at 8 and we were told we had to wait 30 to 45 min (the place has the no reservations policy, as so many places these days), and a lovely young man at the door took our name and number and promised to call us when the table was ready and also advised us to go have a cocktail in a nearby place called “relay” as they “do mean cocktails”. We had a drink in Relay (and the cocktail that I had there was so extremely spicy it literally did take me 30 min to finish it) and afterwards as I was so eager to go and eat my burger, even before getting the phone call, I went back to Honest Burgers and let the lovely young man at the door know that I was ready to be seated and eat. By this time there was loud and funky music playing in Brixton Market and everyone was having a great time on the streets in between the restaurants. We still had to wait around 10 minutes before we could be seated (there was a table available outside right away, but I wanted to sit inside hence the slightly longer wait).

The décor inside is super basic, you have wooden tables and chairs and 2 men are cooking burgers on one side of the room and you can watch them do everything even roll the meet. The menu in Honest Burgers (which is also drawn on one of the walls inside) is quite small and you can have a beef burger (a burger with added cheese and bacon is called “the Honest Burger”), a chicken burger or a veggie burger and to go with every burger they serve house chips with rosemary salt. You can also have a special, and when we were there it was “beef, smoked bacon, braised leeks, caerphilly rarebit, crispy leeks, pea shoots” and I am still quite confused about what this was and you can also have a side of house salad and house slaw to go with your meal. The beef for their burgers comes from the Ginger Pig (the same place that supplies meat for Hawksmoor), so clearly great quality.

It was 2 of us there and we decided to have one honest burger, one chicken burger and then share and also have the house slaw. They also had Heinz ketchup and Hellman’s mayo on the table, which you could use to pimp up your food. We had to wait quite a while for our food, but it looked amazing when it arrived. The buns of the burger were sweet and easily squashed and it was a pleasure to squash the buns around the burger and eat it with your hands. I liked the chicken burger a lot, the beef burger for some reason was not as hot as it could have been when it arrived, which is a bit strange considering we had to wait for our food for such a long time. You got a huge piece of meat inside the bun, it was quite impressive I thought and whilst I liked the burger, I could only really taste the onion relish, bacon or pickled cucumber. And whilst I thought it was a good burger, I did not think it was a great burger, and you can have these kind of good burgers in quite a few places these days as the competition is so big. Also another thing that slightly annoys me is that you pay £9 for this burger, when a cheese burger in Meat Liquor is £7, and I would assume there is quite a big difference in the rent that you pay in Brixton and Marylebone which means Honest Burgers are just charging central prime London prices, and instead of passing on the cheaper rent they are profiting and I am sure this is the highest margin burger place in London. The house slaw, garnished with dill, was really delicious and I thought and you could really feel the fresh vegetables in there. The fries were nice and I do like rosemary, but I did not think they were amazing, and I have had better fries in other burger places.

When we asked for the bill, the bill arrived in a cool old tobacco tin and the waitress kindly explained that we did not have to pay for the 2 beers we had, and they were on the house due to the long wait and I could not work out which long wait she meant, the long wait to get into the place, but then again everyone has to wait that long, or the slightly longer wait for the food, but in my mind that would not deserve 2 free beers as it was not a ridiculously long wait, and I actually think they may have given us the free beer as I was taking so many pictures with my camera and they thought I was a professional blogger and they just wanted to be nice to me. This theory is supported by the fact how nice they were to me when we were leaving and saying bye.

I did like Honest Burgers and I do love the vibe in Brixton Market, and will be going back when Wishbone finally opens but I don’t think these burgers are better than the ones at Meat Liquor or Tommi’s Burger Joint, I actually think they are a tiny bit worse, so this place gets a slightly lower ranking than the ones I mentioned

Date: 02/11/ 12
Location: Brixton Market (but also a branch in Soho)
Price for 2 people, no alcohol (as they gave it to us for free), no service charge: £17.50 (but we left £20)

Honest Burgers on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 

3.50

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Honest Burgers
Unit 12, Brixton Village SW9 8PR
London
United Kingdom
GB
Honest Burgers Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5