Rewind the clock a month or so to the end of June, I find myself with the Missus, heading out on a hot summer’s evening to our second Young and Foodish BurgerMonday Pop-up. This event entitled the BurgerMat Show combined two of my favourite things – art and food. The art came courtesy of twenty-four leading artists and illustrators creating a series of Burger themed place mats. Teasers of some of the pieces had been appearing in the run up to the event and I had already picked out a few favourites and was keen to see the full selection on the night.
My enthusiasm for the art is perhaps why I neglected to do much homework on the food side, like who was cooking, what their plans were, and what to expect in general. I knew it was going to be good, of that there was no doubt. Anyone who spends even a few minutes talking to Daniel about burgers will discover how serious this burger lark can be. This video of the previous event shows how much passion, enthusiasm and talent the chefs and the BurgerMonday team put into each event. After Lionel’s provocative and highly original burger, I knew this evening’s offering would be, by Burger standards, a more traditional affair. That is not to detract from either Burger, one of the attractions of BurgerMonday is that element of surprise, no two are the same, all the chefs bring something new for the Burger fans at Andrew’s. This evening’s chef was Fred Smith of the Admiral Codrington pub in Chelsea, affectionately known as the Ad Cod, in a previous life it was a famous Sloany hang-out, but now it’s modern take on British pub food is what is drawing in the crowds.
We arrived to a bustling and hot Andrews, our table, once again, is situated enticingly next to the kitchen area. The sight of the Burgers heading out to the hungry diners has me salivating almost instantly. First impressions are very good. This Burger sits up proud on the plate, presenting a cylindrical tower with no accompaniments poking out to break up the clean almost architectural lines, capping off this proud construction, the glossy dome of an immaculate brioche bun.
Sustenance came quickly in the form of a snack platter; a tasty mix of appetisers from the Ad Cod’s menu. This was comprised of a shot glass of gazpacho soup, homemade pork scratchings served with a sharp apple puree, croutons with taramasalata and lastly grilled padron peppers finished off a delicious selection served on a stylish prison food tray. As is the BurgerMonday way, we shared our table with another couple of intrepid Burgernauts, it’s pretty hard to remain strangers for even a few moments when gathered over a love of food, but the sharing platter was a great conversation starter and we were soon chewing the fat with our two table guests. By chance they were both artists themselves, Lou an illustrator and Silvia a sculptor and painter. Had they come for the art or the burgers.
So, on to the main event itself – the burger and what an incredible beast it was, the patty was moist and full of flavour – cooked to a perfect medium-rare pink – just as it should be. Both the bacon and cheese added interesting textures. The cheese, Bermondsey Frier, is made locally by cheese maestro William Ogglesthorpe, who can also be found on Saturdays at Kapacassein serving up his world famous toasted cheese sandwiches and amazing raclettes. The cheese is made to be toasted and griddled and consequently makes a great burger cheese.
As described by Daniel, the bacon gave the burger a lovely bite, neither cooked soft like you’d expect in a bacon sandwich or totally crisped up, the cure also added another dimension to the seasoning. But if there’s one big take away for me – it’s the construction, I’m beginning to learn that the engineering of a burger is key to it’s success. Buns shouldn’t disintegrate when subjected to pressures of handling and those essential burger juices, patties need to be moist and tender, but also hold together, while toppings they’re really down to each chef, but balance, they need to add something without totally dominating the other elements. Fred’s burger was a marvel of Burgerneering – I demolished mine quite rapidly and I noticed that not a scrap had escaped my grip leaving only a slick of the delicious juices.
Talking of take-aways, by this time our whole table was very full, so the rather generous sized New York cheesecakes had to be prepared ‘to go’. I ate mine the following evening and it was thoroughly tasty, with a lightness of texture that defied it’s solid appearance.
All in all, it was a thoroughly excellent evening and fantastic to meet Fred, he really is nuts about Burgers. I have made a promise to seek out the Ad Cod and try Fred’s food firsthand, it’s out west, but of late the cycling adventures of the missus and I have been taking us to that neck of the woods.
To see all the great Burger Mats created for the evening and to buy super quality A2 giclee prints – visit the Print Process website.