ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.
You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.
I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!
There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.
Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
One thing that has always really annoyed me about GBK is how the lack of table service completely detracts from the 'restaurantness' of the experience. It's all so 'fast-foody', deciding what one wants rather hurriedly whilst queuing to pay for it upfront, then returning to the counter to pay again if you want something else. The last thing you want to do when stuffed with Kiwiburger is to struggle to your feet and sift through your loose change just to get a coffee
|'Gourmet' Wetherburger, now with plate-corners|
I read on Wetherspoons Facebook page this week that they've now upgraded their gourmet burger... to be served on a rectangular plate! Great. That'll make it taste so much more awesome!!!111one1
I think I've hit on something here: Wetherspoons burgers, say, aren't really much better than those from Burger King or a van outside a football ground, because they probably come from the same off-cuts and offal silos, if that isn't some sort of culinary libel. (If it is, I didn't say it, obviously).
Here’s a little tip: one pretty good indicator of a good burger is that the taste holds up (and, as far as I’m concerned improves) when cooked on the rarer side of medium and eaten without extraneous toppings.
Get past the deliberately quirky branding, and toilet facilities eerily wallpapered with comics and the fundamentals are all there.
|Byron, Canary Wharf|
(i've no idea who the Byron in question actually is, but it's reassuring that their slogan is 'Proper Hamburgers' rather than something convoluted around 'lording it over the competition' or 'club foot sandwich' or somesuch!)
Maybe they fly their cattle over from Montana first class and slaughter them en route to The Wharf from City Airport? It certainly tastes like it.
Another reliable marker for the quality of a burger is to ask yourself if you could happily drink wine with it. Byron offer a succinct list, 'helpfully' self-rated from 'Good' (Pinotage) to 'Best' (a Californian Pinot Noir) via 'Better' and 'Great', though I'd suggest that in this context it's pretty much of a muchness and the scale goes from 'Alright' to 'Alright'.
They have a similarly-rated quartet of Whites, but who on God's fat earth would consider drinking white wine with a burger?!?.Come on.
But then who seeks out the best burger joint in town only to eat something that isn’t a burger? Possibly the same people who are drinking Chardonnay when they eat something that is?
Anyway, a substantial meal for two with a couple of beers or a bottle of wine will set you back £35-50, which is about comparable with GBK (and 3-4 times the price of Wetherspoons but fuck 'em).
The Ledger Building (JD Wetherpoons)
4, Hertsmere Road,
West India Quay
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Unit 24, Jubilee Place,
Second Floor, Cabot Place East
(Other branches of all three chains are plentiful across London