Big Dirty Burger – The Home of the Gang Bang

This past Jubilee weekend, when many were out celebrating the Queen and the Royal British heritage, I did something less wholesome, which a lot of people would consider to be very wrong.

This past Jubilee weekend, when many were out celebrating the Queen and the Royal British heritage, I did something less wholesome, which a lot of people would consider to be very wrong. I had a Gang Bang; and I liked it. It was hot and cool at the same time. Juices, salty and sweet gushed out and ran down my face. I considered extending my tongue to reach them but my mouth was engorged with a slab of huge, succulent, rare, tender meat. The buns were warm, toasty and golden brown€ and don€™t even get me started on the homemade relishes! On Saturday afternoon I was in Hoxton at the White Horse to try a different kind of gang bang (not that there€™s anything wrong with the other kind). The sun was shining and I was attending the second weekend of Big Dirty Burger, the latest pop-up kitchen to throw its patty into the burger world, whose speciality burger is called The Gang Bang. Launched the previous weekend, Big Dirty Burger is the result of almost two years of intense studying, experimenting and burger-ing by co-owner Jamie Robertson. Having eaten burgers the world over, Robertson decided he simply had to treat the London burger community to his own take on €˜the burger€™ with an emphasis on colour, freshness and the somewhat unpopular away from New Zealand, Lamb Burger. A native Kiwi, Robertson is determined to make a mark on what is a congested market place right now, with no shortage of purveyors of high quality versions of the words most famous meat sandwich. Gone are the days where gastro pubs and burger vans could get away with charging a high price for a subpar patty with nondescript cheese served in a dry bun. Well, perhaps they€™re not gone yet, but the bar has been raised thanks to a number of pioneers who have taken hamburgers from being a €˜fast food€™ that you only have when you€™re drunk, watching a match or forgetting about your waistline (they still work in all three situations) to a bona fide culinary delicacy. Since getting sucked into the world of food criticism last November when I went on the hunt for the best American restaurant in London €“ gaining a few pounds in the process €“ I have become increasingly aware of a sub culture that exists. They are split into two factions: those who produce great burgers, and those who praise great burgers. I am now a part of the latter. In recent times, thanks largely to Twitter and burger blogs like Burger Me, Burgerac and Young and Foodish, the spread of information about burgers has grown exponentially, with tense debates arising about just what is the best place to get a burger in London. Over the past few months I have had what these bloggers believe to be the very best burgers in town. Meat and Liquor€™s Dead Hippie is a gloriously sloppy dream fast food burger; Goodman€™s Goodman Burger and The Hawksmoor are both examples of the quintessential gourmet burger; The Lucky Chip is as indulgent as it is succulently addictive; The Admiral Codrington is a work of art with the chef personally sculpting each burger, while Honest Burger€™s Honest Burger is honestly the best burger I have ever had. However€ I am now questioning this after this past weekend. So we come to Big Dirty Burger, which sells itself in a tongue and cheek manner €“ its logo is a pair of giant red lips, reminiscent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show; the title has sexual innuendo all over it as do several of the burgers, most notably the Gang Bang. I lost count of the number of times I heard an exchange between the staff that went along the lines €œI€™ll have a gang bang, please€ and then I€™d like a burger€. It€™s a simple joke that never fails to draw a laugh. The burgers look colourful, vibrant and fresh. In this respect the name is somewhat ironic as, while their burgers certainly are big, they€™re anything but dirty in appearance, which is more than can be said of their competitors, who might nail the taste but the presentation leaves something to be desired. The meat is sourced from Ginger Pig, the buns are brioche with sesame seeds (that€™s 5p extra per bun!) which is a welcomed change to so many of the big burger houses that favour seedless. All relishes are homemade and all ingredients freshly bought and chopped that morning. I know a lot of people like their burgers simple €“ a good old fashioned cheese burger, maybe even stick a slice of bacon in there. Relish? Maybe. I see their point, after all it€™s very easy to look at all these accompaniments and condiments as ways of masking bland meat and distracting away from what a burger really is €“ beef in a bun. That said, I believe that much like a great stew or a cake, a burger is a melange of ingredients,; and finding the perfect combination of flavours and spices is an art in itself. So naturally I went for the two most colourfully titled and extravagant burgers on the menu €“ The Gang Bang and The Hoochie. The Gang Bang is called that because it is a mass pile up of ingredients. A rare, juicy, meat patty sat solidly on top of a rich blue cheese mayonnaise, light green lettuce leaves, a ripe, red slice of tomato and a dashing of vibrant red onion segments, which I prefer for their sweetness. Atop it sits two rashers of grilled bacon €“ not crispy €“ and a hearty serving of smooth, luminous green guac. All are surrounded and housed by the buttery brioche bun. Built with care and craftsmanship, the burger holds together incredibly well, despite all the layers. Upon my first bite juices squirted out everywhere €“ two hands, napkins and an absolute abandonment of any daintiness are required €“ and then I got the salty high. All the flavours work incredibly well, with absolutely no clash. The guac provides a fresh, light contrast to the richness of the blue cheese and extreme savouriness of the bacon. My one criticism with the gang bang was that it lacked a sweet kick to bring out the saltiness of all the ingredients. A pickle, a little bit of one of the wonderful looking relishes. But then there is the danger that might detract away from one of the other ingredients. On to The Hoochie - the lamb burger. Is it technically a burger if it€™s not made with beef? It€™s a definite point of contention. Comparatively simple in contrast to the Gang Bang, The Hoochie is a lamb patty placed atop the same beautiful salad and a bottom of mayo. Topped with a piece of saganaki feta, which is soaked in ouzo to give it additional flavour and appease any Greek who will refuse to eat it unless it has been prepped in this manner; and finally a hearty dollop of bright orange mango mint relish which is so rich and sweet I could have happily retreated to the park and eaten the entire jar with joy. The eating experience of the Hoochie is exactly the same as The Gang Bang. It€™s a juice-spurting, taste bud tantalising, thrill ride. The lamb was definitely more flavoursome than the beef, which I don€™t always believe to be the case, which says a lot about the quality of this particular lamb. The cheese could have been a little more melted, but this is a minor gripe and the wonderful mango relish more than made up for it. In fact it is this final ingredient that provided me with the sugary sweet contrast that I crave with a burger. It really brought out the lamb and the savoury delights of the combo. One fellow feaster described The Hoochie as an €œorgasm in my mouth€. I€™m not quite sure what that is, but I will say this; apart from the fact that a lamb burger is a rarity amongst the cream of the burger world at the moment, it was also the most enjoyable burger/ meat sandwich (argue amongst yourselves) I have ever had, anywhere in the world. Extending the menu to offer more options €“ chicken, fish, maybe some fries €“ is on their radar, but at the moment, Robertson is committed to perfecting his burgers. On the basis of this past weekend, he hasn€™t got far to go before achieving this milestone. Best Burger in London? If you had one, be sure and let us know your opinion, and if you haven€™t then get yourself to Big Dirty Burger for a Gang Bang, a Hoochie or maybe even the whispered BILF. To find out where and when to get your hands on a Hoochie subscribe to http://twitter.com/#!/bigdirtyburger and like them at http://www.facebook.com/BigDirtyBurger
Contributor
Contributor

Frustratingly argumentative writer, eater, reader and fanatical about film ‘n’ food and all things fundamentally flawed. I have been a member of the WhatCulture family since it was known as Obsessed with Film way back in the bygone year of 2010. I review films, festivals, launch events, award ceremonies and conduct interviews with members of the ‘biz’. Follow me @FilmnFoodFan In 2011 I launched the restaurant and food criticism section. I now review restaurants alongside film and the greatest rarity – the food ‘n’ film crossover. Let your imaginations run wild as you mull on what that might look like!

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