Byron Burgers: where we found some skinny love

I never really liked burgers until two years ago and now all I can think about is how much I would love to have a cheeseburger.

I’ve had five burgers in the past five days (two last Sunday, none for Meatless Monday) and as my friends plan around weekend dinners I’ve been suggesting steak/burger joints like MeatLiquor, The Admiral Codrington, Honest Burgers. It’s strange, but my burger cravings really skyrocket this time of year (late summer/early fall). Yesterday I wanted to try the new Chilli Cheese Stack burger from Deliverance but I had leftover arroz caldo c/o the boyfriend so I had that instead. This morning, I woke up scrambling to press my four snooze buttons hoping I’d hear the sound of four sizzling steak patties on my griddle pan instead. I want a cheeseburger. DARN IT!

Ironically, the most memorable burger out of the five is actually a ‘not-so-burger‘ burger from Byron called the Skinny (£7.50).

Now, a standard burger looks like this:

Photo by this dude.
Ladies and gents, dissect: 1) a massive minced beef patty (cooked medium rare to medium); 2) a decent bun that can soak the juices and can hold through monster bites (preferably sourdough or brioche); 3) gooey or tangy melted cheese (American cheese, extra mature cheddar/comté or even Red Leicester); 4) streaky bacon; and 5) crisp LTG (lettuce, tomato slice & gherkins). Ideally served with fries on the side and some sort of beer or soda float.
You are excused to burp at the thought of that.
Anyway. Here’s what a Byron Skinny looks like:
Bun-less, check. Cheese-free, oui. Bacon-deprived, sure. Purists would not even call it a burger; they’d roll their eyes and drop their jaws at the thought of using utensils to eat it. But hey, suum cuique!

Now I’ve had ‘skinny’ burgers before (back when I found it strange to eat meat enveloped in bread). Chefs usually go crazy on presentation for lack of everything else, as if serving meat on slate or on a chopping board should somehow make up for the carb-stripped meal. Byron must’ve missed the memo on prettifying because the Skinny came as straightforward as a slap on the face; it was essentially just a beef patty on a plate served with a side salad and a wedge of gherkin. My date had the signature Byron (£9.25) with fries on the side so my order looked like a coughed up excuse of a snack.

Then again Byron has never been a fancy schmancy place. A few years back, when London had a surge of steady American-inspired restaurants, Byron was hailed as the holy grail of burger chains. I remember queuing up for an hour and a half at the old Intrepid Fox to try the signature Byron myself (with extra guacamole and extra bacon plus a malt choccy milkshake). It was indeed delicious. Since then, heaps more diner-inspired places have opened and I personally think there are better burger joints in town. But Byron still serves good quality grub.

My date had a forkful of my Skinny and said my patty was weak. He didn’t think it was as good as his Byron (which he thought was good but ‘I’ve had better‘ – fair enough, he was exposed to NY burgers). I disagreed. At any other time I’d pick a proper burger but on that day my lone, boring-looking, medium-cooked patty was all I needed and wanted. I thought it was tasty and comforting in its simplicity. It totally hit the spot.

Oh, of course it wasn’t totally a carb-free meal. Pssssh.

Steady creamy macaroni and cheese (£3.25), homemade skin-on fries (£3.25), a decent serving of soda and an awesome date. My belly was as happy as my heart. =)

Byron
London/Kent/Oxford
Ave spend pp: £15
Byron on Urbanspoon

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