Sunday, 25 November 2012

CASK Pub and Kitchen: Missing Oomph

CASK pub had recently come onto my radar and a friend dragged me there despite setting my eyes on having ramen on one of the few free weekdays I have had recently. I'm always game for a good burger (as this blog does and will continue to attest to), and so we made the trek to a slightly baron part of Pimlico to see what these guys could do.

The outside of the pub is a rather grotty 1960's-style monstrosity, its interior having had an overhaul along the way. CASK, as the name betrays, is just as focused on its impressive selection of beers as it is on their burgers, served up by a group calling themselves 'Forty Burgers'. The bar-front is full of a myriad of pumps, with more on offer in the way of bottles. There is something for every taste and I would readily go back just for a tasting. Commercially cross selling of selected beers with certain dishes/burgers could be leveraged to a greater extent. Now this post should have a disclaimer that they haven't been serving burgers all that long and readily admitted on twitter that they are listening to comments and tweaking the specifics. Which is all rather refreshing considering what can happen to a blogger these days.


Onto the menu and the meat at CASK and its provenance has already been well-noted as that sourced from a Royal Warrant holder to HM The Queen, and a blend of Aberdeen 40 day aged rib and 30 day aged rump. The blend is exciting; rib for marbling and fat content, the rump for deep beefy notes. The menu is short and sweet, nothing to be sniffed at a burger joint and provides some signature twists such as chips with bacon dust. Bacon dust?! How could any sane person resist that?

Cheeseburger - overdone
I ordered a cheese burger topped with bacon and the fries with bacon dust, while friends ordered the double burger - The Tiny. As noted in BurgerAffair's blog, in theory it checks all the boxes: solid meat provenance, brioche bun, red onion relish, gherkins and salad on the bottom to avoid slippage and an array of quality condiments (supplied by Stokes). However theory is but an empty promise of success, and dear readers, entering back into reality, overall we were disappointed.

The Tiny. Note difference in patties.
The patty, while a generous hockey puck size, was overcooked and left it quite dry and crumbly (we werent asked how we'd like it cooked). On lifting the lid the bacon was cold and the cheese had not been melted, which although nothing wrong in itself, is something I have become accustomed to. The bun itself was very bready for  brioche, not as soft and light as some of the better buns in London and weighed it down near the end.

Cheeseburger with bacon dust fries
Bacon dust, well that sets the bar pretty high doesn't it? It all sounds a bit more Ben Spalding than burger-bar. How was it made? How strong a baconey punch would it give? Could I inject it directly into my veins? Bacon - king ingredient of foodie-hipsters everywhere, the table was close to seizure by the time they arrived.

Alas, what we were met with was less crumbly pieces of dried clouds of heaven, but a rather suspicious looking mound of cocaine. Upon tasting it merely dissolved into a fatty slick on the roof of the mouth and was almost devoid of taste. I failed to ask the staff (you order beforehand at the bar) but I assume they have dried the solidified rendered bacon fat. Personally if I was to make bacon powder I would crisp bacon up to near glass-like brittleness in the oven between baking trays and then blitz them in a grinder. Maple syrup could be used to bind them to fries (possibly overly sweet?). The other offering parmesan chips with truffle oil were okay although truffle oil is always a bit of a con.

We didn't see any deserts on the menu and even if we had I'm not sure we'd have been too keen. 

Overall the meal was a real shame as besides the possibly overly harsh criticism levelled at these guys, everything is only 5-10% off being damn good. If they continue to tweak and get diner feedback, I'm absolutely positive that 6 months down the line the queues for this place will rival any of those in the Burger-zone (read: near Bond Street Station).

How much: Burgers around 10pounds.

Where: 6 Charlwood Street, Pimlico, SW1V 2EE
Tel: 020 7630 7225

Food: 6/10
Drink: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

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