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On a balmy summer night I, and a couple of friends, ascended the escalators at Bond Street station in anticipation. The day was finally here, we would be part of the in-group, we would be the ones urging anyone who would care to listen that you must go to Patty & Bun.
The chaos of Oxford street reigned in front of us as we stepped out of the sweltering station into the pleasant summer breeze. All around us people were darting in and out of shops, meandering up and down the street, unaware of what was about to happen, what they would be missing out on. We sneered at passers by with their takeaway McDonalds bags and soggy tepid waffles with chocolate sauce. Heathens we thought to ourselves, do they not know what is available to them mere moments away? We strode with a sense of purpose looking down our noses at everyone as our excitement built. We dreamed of what awaited us. “You don’t think they will limit us to one burger?” one of us asked, eyes growing larger by the second. “I am going to eat ALL of the burgers,” another of us piped up. Our stomach’s were rattling.
Crossing the road we located James Street and began the walk up to our salvation. We passed all of the usual chains, tapas, pizza, mediocre burger restaurants, all of which failed to interest any of us. Though hungry we desired one thing. In the fading sunlight the red awning stood out like a beacon and we followed it, our eyes transfixed. We neared the front door and our hearts sank a little, this was to be expected but still it was painful, this was one of those no reservation places and the queue was already out of the door. We joined it in silence. The group in front of us were chatting away every few seconds sipping on a lukewarm Peroni. I decided to follow suit, leaving the rest of my group as placeholders I popped to the off license across the road to return with warm refreshment.
Beers in hand we remained in the queue salivating over the menu, imagining what was to await us. As the buzz began to build, made up of a mix of beer and excitement, the wait faded. Before we knew it we were at the front, it was our time.
The waitress showed us into the cramped restaurant, every table seemingly full. Where were we going to sit? As I wondered this the head of a diner moved and I saw a small three seater table appear. We sat down, bare wood with the bare essential sauces and menus greeted us. We immediately made our first order. “3 beers please.”
Our starter order was simple and to the point. The confit BBQ chicken wings. These were served in a tall pot still steaming. A small sprinkling of spring onion was on the top as garnish. I picked up my first wing. The BBQ sauce was light and sweet a perfect compliment to the deliciously tender chicken. The crusty coating crackled on each bite, the meat falling off the bone and melting into my mouth. This was a good start. The wings did not last long.
The Main (Burgers)
In the queue all three of us had made differing decisions on what to have, wanting to seem adventurous and able to sing the praises of our individual orders. When it came down to it though, we all crumbled. “3 Ari Gold’s,” partly due to our love of the TV series Entourage but also because it is supposed to be the Patty & Bun original, essentially a good old fashioned bacon cheeseburger. The burgers came wrapped in P&B branded paper, no plates necessary. This is gourmet fast food. The first bite was wonderful after all the wait and the hunger having set in. The cheese and the beautiful British beef patty mingled together perfectly with a wonderful american tasting sweetness. Next the crunch of the bacon and the smoky P&B mayo distinguish themselves adding another dimension to the bite. The brioche bun is one of the best parts of the burger, providing good meat containing integrity and resilience to the juices whilst also remaining soft and light. The lettuce and tomato there to cut through the rich sweet and smoky flavours with a clean crunch. Ultimately though this was a bacon cheeseburger, albeit a very good one. Can it compete in the race for the best burger I have ever had? I am not sure.
To try and answer this question we ordered another round of beers and a single Lambshank Redemption to share. Recommendations had told us that this was something special, something that had the potential to blow our minds. It was delivered in the same style as the Ari Gold, and we divided it into 3. Taking the couple of bites we had our faces spelled disappointment. The Lambshank Redemption is bold and extremely different. I am not sure if it was because we had already been sated by our Ari Gold’s or because our mouths were bone dry due to the overly salty rosemary fries we had been delivered, but it tasted wrong. The flavours didn’t mix like we expected. The brioche bun, lamb, coriander and feta didn’t walk arm in arm into my mouth and dissolve together into a delicious burst of flavours. Instead they battled each other for my attention. Unfortunately the wonderful harmony that is supposed to be a great burger was not achieved here. The boldness of the ingredients just failed to mix.
Unfortunately this end to the meal left us ultimately unsatisfied. The taste of the Ari Gold was extinguished and all we were left with was unsatisfying bursts of coriander, lamb and feta.
Is Patty & Bun a bad place to go? Absolutely not, their success in opening a new restaurant proves their abilities. Our experience just came up short. Overly salty chips and a final burger that was just not quite right. This reviewer can appreciate that had we not ordered the Lambshank Redemption we would probably have a different view, the wings and Ari Gold somewhat mitigating the overly salty fries. Our problem was that we expected greatness, and although half our meal was close, the second half just tore us away into good.