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Apr 3, 2010 02:52 PM

Hawksmoor, Shoreditch, London

A burger with the right assembly of all the right parts: a soft sesame seed studded bun, lettuce, tomato, good pickles, and a mature cheddar with a lovely nutty pungency but slightly overly salty as to jar the balance of flavours a bit.

The patty tastes good -- beefy and juicy, with all right greasy savoury notes -- and grilled to a solid medium rare, a nice shade of rose in the centre, but perhaps a bit too modest and polite, the patty could have been thicker to assure the dominance of beef over vegetable. For a burger that makes this point (perhaps in an excessive way), try the Bountiful Cow.

Pretty good chips. Thinly crisp and soft on the inside.

Their ketchup seemed a bit too clovey, and a tiny shade thinner than I would have like. Heinz, for all its chemistry, does have a more integrated if less complex flavour profile, and the necessary tomatoey acidity to cut the richness of a burger.

A very enjoyable burger, but certainly not perfect or ideal, and rather expensive at £15. (Compare with the excellent and more enjoyable steak hache - also a patty of minced beef - at Daquise that goes for ~£11.)

The cornflake milkshake is lovely, and recreates an artificial vanilla flavour that is weirdly compelling, wish there was more of it.

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  1. I had it with bacon and cheese and found it WAY too salty, even though I have an absurdly high salt tolerance. I therefore ate the bacon seperately and enjoyed it hugely, best I've had outside the US by a long shot (though also better than much I've had within the US, which you'd hope for that price). I haven't hit Goodman yet. Still think grassfed makes for too lean and firm a patty, but enjoyed nevertheless.

    3 Replies
    1. re: skut

      Hmmm....the oversalting sounds like a fundamental problem with their choice of ingredients; it would have been an awesome flavour combo with the cheese had they picked something similar but less salty (I think it was an Ogleshield or something). Haven't had a cheese that good in a burger in the US.

      The patty seemed fine to me didn't feel too lean, but I vaguely remember reading somewhere that they add bone marrow to the patty. Also, the burger at the Bountiful Cow had a better smoky grill flavour to me.

      1. re: limster

        yeah, it was Ogleshield when I had it. To be perfectly honest I don't think a burger necessarily benefits from the addition of characterful cheese. The best cheeseburgers I've experienced have contained "American" cheese, very much it's own style of dairy product, a pretty distant relation to punchy farmhouse varieties. I wouldn't want cheddar melted over my steak neither.
        In terms of salting, I think the patties would have been perfectly seasoned if served sans cheese or bacon, and though I think the addition of cheese and bacon takes them way over the edge, I don't necessarily see that as the kitchens fault. It was sold as a burger with the option of strong cheese, and I should have trusted that it would be good enough not to need embellishment. And yes, the reason I liked the burger was because it was so rich and juicy and full, and I was subsequently told that this was due to its composition of a very specific ratio of different cuts of lean and fatty grass fed beef, plus the marrow. I liked the grill flavour, though I generally prefer griddled, tends to a better compromise between char and juiciness imo.

        1. re: skut

          There's quite a bit of variation in burger styles, and it's no surprise that everyone has their favourite. Even in the US there are various cheese options these days, more assertive cheeses are not unusual; "America" cheese is but one of the many options. But I don't think the cheddar with steak is a suitable comparison. Most people wouldn't want ketchup with their steaks either (or have it with lettuce, tomato and onions).

          I see the oversalting as the kitchen's fault in terms of choosing ingredients. There are many burger places (some of them very generic) that have picked cheddars that don't lead to oversalting. Merely holding Hawksmoor to the same standards as the others.

          re:grilling vs griddle. It a tough call sometimes, because I like the grill flavour too, but griddled versions can sometimes offer the option of onions sauteed on the same griddle (with the drippings).