Burger @ Byron, Hoxton Square

I definitely share one thing in common with George Osborne, the Chancellor – a sudden urge for a gourmet burger. Once the urge takes hold of you, it is near impossible to kick this culinary fixation off – the urge swells like a rapid growing vine and its creeper locks you in a vice-like grip. Until you raise your hand (imaginary, of course) and admit defeat, the image of a towering burger keeps on flickering in your mind, switching between torment and plea.
While your good conscience fights by throwing buckets of cold water over the burning desire, reasoning how unhealthy and calorie-laden a gourmet burger is – full of fat & bad carb, plus 1000 kcal per a meal more or less, the badass craving chips away a citadel of your self-control. Eventually, a white flag is raised above the fortress and you head to the nearest gourmet burger joint.

So here we were, finding ourselves being tucked away in the cozy nook of Byron by Hoxton Square last Sunday…

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As a child who grew up in Far East, my encounter with the food called “burger” came rather late.
I was about 11 years old when I first sank my teeth into a bun with a patty in the middle.
A man in a paper hat behind the counter handed me a burger which was wrapped in a translucent paper. The small parcel was still warm in my palm and the orangey yellow of melted cheddar cheese was just visible on the side.
I unwrapped the burger, prising it off extra carefully around the melted cheese and ferried it to my mouth with both hands, staring at the top of the bun approaching…
My very first mouthful of the burger struck me with its blandness. Meat, ketchup and cheese… that was it. This utter simplicity was somehow very new, refreshing and exotic. It tasted very “foreign”. I was impressed. It was my first taste of the world beyond…
Then, the booming economy opened the floodgates to imported  foods & culinary cultures.
Pizza, fried chicken, donuts, crepe, French fries…any fast-food, you name it. The outlets materialised almost overnight, like bamboo shoots after spring rain. As the consequence, the burger became just one amongst many and eventually lost its lustre for me…

‘What do you fancy?’, Hubbie enquires…

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Hmmm… Byron, perhaps? How about you? Mmmm… I fancy Byron too. How about a drink? Oh, I fancy something warm! The weather has turned, hasn’t it? I’m gonna have Americano. Well then, I’m gonna have iced tea. Are you sure? Aren’t you cold? No, I’m fine. I’m a man. Oh well, good for you…

Gourmet burger as a concept is a fairly recent phenomenon.
I am jogging my memory recalling since when I’ve noticed the term. Perhaps during the past 5 years, it has become more prevalent? Apart from the chain like Byron, Gourmet Burger Kitchen is another chain which is a well-known face on Britain’s well-off streets.
The ascendancy of posh burgers seems to be unstoppable. At Burger & Lobster, a cool score (£20 note) is commanded for the pleasure of champing on their concoction. After all, where a grown man can order a glass of strawberry milkshake with twin straws and a dash of whipped cream on top without raising the eyebrows in the vicinity? A posh burger joint is the answer.

After a while, our order was brought to the table…

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Two Byron burgers, onion rings, French fries, iced tea for Hubbie and coffee for me.
The burger was sandwiched with a brioche. I personally prefer a traditional burger bun though. The bacon was perfectly streaky and crunchy. The cheese was a little on the mean side and a little too demure in flavour. I suppose we are encouraged to part with another £1.25 for extra sauce (BBQ, blue cheese, American cheddar, etc) so we can jazz up the burger. Oh well, maybe next time.
The onion rings were crispy, well-seasoned and moreish. And their French fries, it was a tad too salty for my liking. Frying brings out the sweetness of potato. It was a shame that the flavour was spoilt by overzealous seasoning.

We left the restaurant, utterly stuffed.
Now, shall we make a long detour before heading home? So we can burn off some calorie and feel less guilty…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

4 thoughts on “Burger @ Byron, Hoxton Square

  1. There’s lots of “gourmet” burger places in Los Angeles, but my favorite burger will always be the Big Mac lol! It’s truly the only one I ever crave. I’m feeling like a burger though after seeing your picture. Especially the way that strip of bacon is poking out!

    • Oh I love Carl’s Jr too! British McDonald is not as nice as US’s. the serving is mean, no topping up drink and the size of French fries! So small. They charge for a sachet of ketchup too – 30p…

      • I love Carl’s Jr.’s 6-Dollar Bacon Guacamole Burger! I can’t believe they charge for ketchup at the McDonald’s! Is ketchup hard to get in London? They DO charge for extra chicken nugget sauce over here but I think that’s because too many people abused the system and took way extras of them.

      • So mean isn’t it? The sachet is soooo small as well. I never have had Mac in France or Germany. But I am almost certain that they will charge the extra too. In Europe, nothing comes free…

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