I'd been looking forward to coming to Burger Breakout for a month due to missing their opening due to work commitments. I'd heard frankly outstanding things from some serious burger fans and my expectations were set pretty high the night I managed to get over to Holborn.
Dave Ahern is the head chef at the Old Crown Public House and has made a culinary journey that mirrors my own imagined path through life. A respected food writer turned chef in early middle-age, he put down his pen and snide remarks about smears and foams and put on a apron. I've read his blog all the way through and felt a certain kinship with someone who finally had to balls to get behind a grill and see if he could do it better.
|Old Crown Public House|
The menu at Burger Breakout is simplicity with a twist. Simple American classics such as burgers, wings and chicken tenders, all given a culinary overhaul with some seriously creative toppings. Dave is keen to stress that all the ingredients are there for a reason and that he wants to give people a new experience with an old friend.
I drifted in at 9pm on a Friday evening without a reservation (idiot) and had to wait for 30 minutes to snaffle a table. Patience little grasshopper, good things come to those who wait. I immediately ordered the O.C. burger which had been eyeballing me for days.
The burger is a Longhorn blend with a low fat content. Dave is a generous man when it comes to beef, the patty being at least 8oz, closer to a Goodman than a Byron. There's not much else to say other than it was stonkingly good and I knew it the second my teeth broke the surface of the patty. Beef lovers know when they have struck gold before they have even started chewing, its a mixture of the aromas as the burger is lifted to the nose and the texture of that first bite. Deep beefy notes, perfect medium rare and well seasoned, near to perfection. The low fat content did nothing to lessen the flavours with the cheese filling the gap.
As stated before Dave emphasises some pretty sensationalist toppings and the O.C. is the most restrained of the bunch. The melted three-cheese sauce was so flavourful and complimentary to the beef, not too mature and had that great American-cheese flavour. The hot pickle was punchy and noticeably cut through the cheese providing a warmth through the bite.
The bun was a simple floury number. It held up as well as it could but with the cheese, thousand island dressing and beef juices but was defeated near the end of each half. Dave has tried to save this by reverse stacking the tomatoes and lettuce on the bottom. Pretty it isn't, but it takes burgers back to what they should be: fun. The chips with horseradish were moreish but honestly near the end of the bucket I longed for a few plain ones. Overall, this was genuinely one of the best burgers I have had all year.
I have been back since and the Halloween special burger and the Bambi burger weren't at the same level as the wunder-kid above. That being said, this was genuinely one of the best burgers I have had in London full stop, and if the place wasn't already so busy I'd tell you all to go, but it is, so I won't.
How much: £12-13 for burgers. Seems pricey but blows the Goodman and B&L 15-20 burgers out the water. If you want quick and cheap there are places on Wigmore Street that you can go. If you want something special, come here.
Where: The Old Crown Public House, 33 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1BH. Nearest tube - Holborn. Tel: 0207 836 9121