The Botanist – Cheeseburger + Pulled pork = awesome

Hi all,

Please excuse the long hiatus. Have been busy these couple of months and beleive it or not, I didn’t have any worthwhile hamburgers. It ended up going to ‘The Botanist’ again to discover a new recipe to their old hamburger.

Pulled pork. It changes everything.
In bacon or pulled pork form, this is essentially the truth.


(copyright not mine)

So this was the meal

Pulled pork on the burger is an extra £2.5. Well worth it.

At first glance, it’s kind of indecent with all the juices flowing. Picking it up, the bread is a bit mushy.
First bite: mind blown. Firstly, the beef is much better seasoned than before and juicier. It was medium done, but still all the necessary fluids were there. And they mixed with the pulled pork and the BBQ sauce and wow. Great, great, great.
The pulled pork and BBQ sauce gave the experience another level of pleasure. As if it was like that popular book, ’50 shades of pork’ (?). Pun intended.

The fries helped to solidify the meal. A bit on the salty side. Great crunch.

The drink was a Veltins Pilsner which is a very lagery pilsner lager. If you had a lager before, think of what it tasted like. Yes, this was it.

Overall, now I can consider as the best pub burger up until now.

Food – 4.75/5
Choice of drinks – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Location – 4/5

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Byron’s “Miami Slice” – Needs the white Italian sports jacket

Roll the theme

Sports jackets, shades, pastel, electric pink, synthesizer music, Florida’s sun and Cuban emigrants. Some of these took part in building this hamburger.
Inspired by “Cuban style” hamburgers and some questionable 80’s fashion, Byron has brought this rather strange hamburger,at least to European standards, to light.

One patty, crispy “shredded” fries, cheese, loads of smoked flavour and chicharrones on the side.

First of all, the chicharrones were harder than they were crispy. So not very good there.

Going to the hamburger, the first bite reveals a warm character that comes from a full and intense smoked flavour with a slight spiciness that is present on the sauce. The crisps help to develop depth to the taste and add to the punch.

After a few visits, finally the meat was medium-rare. And it’s really tasty, go figure.
So, my question would be, why did it take so long and why do you over cook it?

If it burger didn’t give enough smoky intensity, “Beavertown Smog Rocket” helped.

Great smoky taste with roasted coffee.

As it is only available until the end of the month or so, if you can spare the time to try it, please do.
Just bring a crazy 80’s wig, an Asustin Metro, leg warmers and some questionable fashion taste to add to the experience.

Food – 4.35/5
Choice of drinks – 3.5/5
Service – 4.25/5
Location – 5/5

Shake shack – hum…

For a few year now, a myriad of new Burger places have been popping around in the UK. From pub/gourmet to a more fast-food experience, it seems that the main brands from the United States are n, that are not MacDonalds or Burger King, are now here.

I was informed that shake shack has opened in the Convent Garden Market, very near to the other main competitor.

Had to go there to see what the fuss was all about.

It operates in a very peculiar fashion.
You get into the queue from on side of the restaurant, a very nice chap is singing at the door and handing out menus, you get inside the restaurant, order and get out at the other side with a remote alarm which will vibrate when it’s ready.

The order was for a double bacon cheese burger which name I can’t recall, some cheddar fries and a drink called 50/50, which is tea and lemonade. Cost is roughly £15

Firstly, the burger.
Have you ever had one of those Burger King Angus?
It’s exactly the same, but the kicker on this case, is that it costs twice as much and doesn’t taste any different.
The meat is OK, nothing fancy, the bun is all right and cheese is fine. The fries are pretty much McCain crinkles.

And that’s about it. Really.
It’s an expensive version Burger King and that’s all there is to say about the meal.

The staff , however, is outstanding.
The waiter on front was very happy about doing his job, the staff in the restaurant is nice and polite, the service is fast”ish”, and they will even find you in the middle of the Market to bring an unfinished order.

I’ll have to come back someday to try the shakes.

Food – 3/5
Choice of drinks – 4.5/5
Service – 5/5
Location – 5/5

Hamburgueria do Bairro, Lisbon – One of the best

Ah Lisbon…

Beautiful city, full of history, good food and drinks, great views and a lingering smell of piss. But there’s an aura that cannot be explained and draws me for more.

This city, and Portugal in general, are known for excellent seafood, pasteis de nata (get these cream pastries), piri-piri chicken (and not peri-peri, as a popular awful chicken restaurant claims to be), chouriços and more.
Gastronomically a great place to be and possibly the first fusion kitchen in the world. Excellent quality and very decent prices.

With globalization, the popular sandwich Bifana (pork steak sandwich), has given up some space for the all-American heavy weight sandwich, the Hamburger.
This has led some to adopt it and give it a little Portuguese twist.

After a lot of recommendations, I had the time to go the Hamburgueria do Bairro.
Originally situated near the Bairro Alto, which is an area mostly known for the night life, this restaurant has become very popular. At this moment they have opened up all around Lisbon.

Location link.

The entrance is very inconspicuous

and the restaurant quite small. It maybe sits 20 people very tightly.

So small, in fact that is recommendable to go during lunch time and to avoid weekends. It gets full very fast and will have a queue.

The selection has Portuguese influences. The bread in “Hamburguer do Caco” will exchange the bun for a “Bolo do caco” which is a wheat bread from Madeira Island that is done as if it were a cake.

The one I tried was the “Bairro Alto”

In short, a Bacon Cheeseburger with a fried egg and salad.

Taste matters. And in this case, the taste is all there. The meat is top quality. Flavorful, succulent, nicely made.
The bacon. The best. so crispy and smoky that becomes decadent. And to finish all off, the fried egg tastes like it’s homemade.

Each bite is a trip. And before you know it, the hamburger is finished 😦

On the side, some wrinkled, almost unsalted, fries that will have more taste than they seem to have.

The last five or so years have been very hard on Portugal. Somehow, the Portuguese keep reinventing themselves and every time I go back there, there’s something new to eat and to see. This small and relatively unknown restaurant chain is a great example of that.
Unfortunately, I cannot give enough praise to what they have achieved in terms of taste and presentation. Also, as this blog doesn’t reach everywhere it won’t have the coverage they deserve.

That being said, this is possibly the best proper Burger Restaurant I have ever eaten in ( Five guys sits in another niche, so they can’t directly compare, however taste is not that dissimilar).

And the price for all of this?
A meal for 2 (Hamburger and drink), €17.50. Not per person. Total.
That’s the cost, per person, at Byron’s. And this is better. Period.

Food – 4.65/5
Choice of drinks – 4/5
Service – 4.5/5
Location – 5/5

Try this. You won’t regret it.

Triple Cheesemas – Byron (Ho ho ho)

This December, Byron launched the most un-Christmas-y hamburger ever. There’s no reindeer meat or turkey between gingerbread buns.
Just two 6oz hamburgers with three different cheeses and a spicy sauce. Which is fine by me!

The burger itself is a tower oozing with cheese, that instead of being called “Triple Cheesemas” should have been called “triple bypass” or “I hate having low cholesterol”.
Still, fine by me!

There’s lettuce in there too, so it should make it a bit healthier.

Back from the last time, the grill seem to have improved, at least for this burger. I asked for medium-rare, and it came medium. Better than the well-done from last time.
With that, the flavour of the meat became more pronounced, as it had more juices from a less cooked patty.
The cheese choices were well thought. All the cheeses are noticeable and mingle well with the meat.
Byron’s sauce is also good. Slightly spicy, but not too much.
However, with loads of juices and sauces flowing around, having a go at this burger without a fork and a knife is downright impossible. The buns get too soaked and start to desintegrate.

All together, they make an enjoyable hamburger, albeit, not too healthy I assume.
Price too high at 12, but I’m sure some will pay for the novelty (like myself).

As for drinks,

Dale’s Pale Ale.
At first it seems smooth and sweet, but the flavour gets very hoppy and bitter.

Food – 4.25/5
Choice of drinks – 3.5/5
Service – 4.25/5
Location – 5/5

Five Guys Burgers and Fries’ cheeseburger – Covent Garden

Five guys was always an unicorn to me.
Only available on another continent. Always told it is a hamburger with no match. Always told to try it.

The first time I have heard from it was on youtube through the user Daym Drops on this video.

Well, fortunetely, it was an unicorn.
I was informed that Five guys have opened a few restaurants in the UK, including one in Central London, Covent Garden.
Isn’t that just lucky?

After some 30 minutes commuting, I got to their place, which has a rather bland look.

The interior is also basic. Red and white.

But once inside, there is a vibe in the air that tells that the burger is good.
Everywhere on the walls there are reviews from Journals, magazines, blogs saying that their burger is exceptional.

Right away, I can say, that the kitchen is exceptional.
The kitchen is in front of every one to see. It is an open style kitchen that always to see what the guys are doing.

Since the bacon cheese burger over there always receives high praise, I had to know what it is all about.

The meal chosen was:
Bacon Cheese burger (the large one) with grilled mushrooms. I’m pretty sure I could have chosen more toppings.
Cajun Fries (was recommended)
Bottomless Coke.

Receipt says: 14 pounds.

So, after a few minutes waiting on the line, this is what they give you.

I’m pretty sure the last time I saw a brown bag it was hiding booze. Or drugs. Or both. But matter not, let’s look inside.

Are you seriously going to serve me a burger that cost me just shy of 9 pounds on tin foil???

Setting that aside, and unrapping the foil

That is a good looking burger. It is oozing cheese and has a heavenly smell.

But the taste…
I had a reaction similar to this.

(Copyright by Pixar)

The first bite left me speechless.
It seemed that the way the burger is presented was some kind of clever plot to lower the expectations and then having hammer falling on the head.

The bun is moist. The meat is succulent and fills the all the space in the mouth. The cheese is there to round up the taste and the grilled mushrooms were done just right.

I take it all back with my tin-foil comments and brown bags. Keep them. Please, keep them!

This burger is, without a shadow of a doubt, crack cocaine on a sandwich format.
If I had a golden burger award picture, I would have posted it already.

But it doesn’t end here, oh no.
There is more and it is just as good.

The fries

A huge portion of it.

These are some sexy fries over here.
So sexy, they deserved a zoom

These are not only sexy, but they also have character.
Spicy. Well fried with skin-on. A bite will land a haymaker on the face. They are the best fries out there.
Full-stop.

I don’t usually go for seconds.
This meal didn’t need seconds… but this is crack-cocaine.

So, since Five guys also offer “mini” hamburgers, a mini cheeseburger was the choice.

First impression was “that isn’t a mini hamburger. That is a space-sta… almost the size of a big mac!”.
And it tastes the same as the bacon cheeseburger!

Same quality meat, left me speechless yet again.

To wrap things up.

This restaurant won’t win any prizes with appeal, looks, marketing and presentation but who cares?

The greased brown bag and the tin-foiled hamburger is part of the experience and despite this shady look it wins on all relevant departments: Taste, attention to detail and customer satisfaction
Five guys, as far as I’m aware, have their marketing done by word of mouth. The burger is *that good*. And they deserve every bit of praise.

If this isn’t a perfect burger, it is very close.

Food – 4.75/5
Choice of drinks – 2.5/5
Service – 4.25/5
Location – 5/5

Try this.You won’t regret it!