With my waistline as my witness the London burger craze continues. I think not since ecstasy hit the clubs of Chicago and Manchester in the second Summer of love & the birth of house music has there been such widespread euphoria for one, galvanising object albeit slightly more calorific as the second coming of the humble burger. A mild exaggeration perhaps… but as we head into spring with street vendor-cum diner experiences flourishing in every borough, I wonder when the bubble will burst? Innovating, maybe not, but in austere times and sold at under a tenner a hit, the lure of a bigger food high than the last keeps me coming back for more.

Like Meatliquor and Pitt Cue before them, this current street food revolution still maintains several essential ingredient. Quality, quantity and quirkiness. Shot of pickling juice with your rye Sir? How about a dead hippie or a Bill Murray? Whilst naming your burger after a Hollywood hellraiser maybe a little gimmicky these aren’t serious dinning moments over notable occasions, business meetings or first dates. These are enjoyable 20 minute/ half and hour windows of comforting solace whereby you can graze on unsophisticated but delicious grub usually prepared by fortunate souls who’ve escaped the daily drudge and make a living doing something they love.

Since my last post, I’ve remained a devotee on a voyage of discovering new gems and with Whitecross Market situated near my office boasting The Wild Games Co, Hoxton Beach and Luardo’s amongst others to try for mostly under a fiver and Brixton Village on my doorstep at night this journey will remain so until I stop ignoring the tightening of every pair of trousers I own!

Worthy mentions of late go to Pizza Pilgrims, Mishkins, Rita’s and Big Apple Hot Dogs.. The later based near Old St Roundabout and absolutely bloody terrific.

Less so perhaps is Wishbone, a sister store to the Meatliquor crew. I feel reinventing fried chicken is one step too far and should be kept for those illicit moments stumbling home at 3am with greasy box of chicken bones covered in thick batter and tangy barbecue sauce that can only be enjoyed when taste buds have been completely neutralised by 40 units of alcohol. Just because these chickens have been given a field each to roam in and an iPhone, this greasy basket of fried chicken isn’t that much better than the ones served on every high street in the country only more expensive due to the bearded waiter being a hipster, not a Muslim.

An establishment worth going into more detail however goes to Patty & Bun on St. James’ Street. The formula for success has been executed perfectly here. Start small, build your fan base then open to mass praise from critics and burger aficionados alike. I went a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon with a couple of friends. A predicted queue met us on arrival but so did a friendly girl with a clipboard waiting to assist. Half an hour we were told and half an hour it was. Luckily it was a beautiful day so we didn’t mind at all. I think weekday lunchtimes might be more problematic when on the clock but this is not a concern.

The restaurant is a busy, buzzing & full of young people chowing down on fast food but not dissimilar to 20 or so establishments within a mile radius of P&B. The stripped back canteen style tables, scruffy chairs and tin cans of cutlery, paper towels & a good bassline to set the tone do much to separate this from others either. The menu is uniformly limited to 3 or 4 options with one the main event; The Smokey Robinson again presumably drawing from popular culture to give it an identity. But what a main event! To put it bluntly, The Smokey Robinson is a gamechanger. A big, beefy patty served medium rare on a bed of crisp lettuce leaf and tomato ketchup, Smokey P & B mayo, and topped with bacon, plenty of cheese, and great mounds of caramelized onions hugged together with glossy brioche bun. I hold the cheese but order fries, coleslaw and wings on the side. ‘slaw creamy, fries crunchy and wings unflappable but tasty.

Juicy is an understatement. The brioche bun oozes flavor as you bit into it with satisfied noises coming from my co-diners and myself. This is an utterly divine burger worthy of all the praise it gets. You catch people’s eyes gauging your reaction hoping you too have had a fast food epiphany. Yep, this is certainly one of those moments and has set a new benchmark previously held by Lucky Chip which I had long before I started this blog. On seeing a P&B stand at a recent food market, it took a lot of willpower to not repeat the experience allover again only to spoil sampling other offerings.

I think any shrink worth his or her weight in open ended questions would possibly reveal here sits a writer who longs to emulate his street food heroes, escape the 9-5 and set up camp in a market near you soon . Well they’d be right, but despite a very faltering start have yet to find a product, cuisine or dish I can perfect worthy of holding court with the above. Watch this space.

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