Sometimes the best plans are the ones which come from the most unexpected origins, just lay back and whatever will be will be, c’est la vie and all that. Well generally most people would say that this is all well and good in theory but when it comes down to it, a lack of planning when booking somewhere to eat in London will leave you either with zero chance of getting a seat, being forced into a restaurant which is ridiculously expensive surely because it is the only place with availability or worse of all eating something you really wish you hadn’t bothered ordering and frankly leaving feeling cheated, glum and certainly without any jeux de vie!
Well occasionally amazing things can happen and London is if anything the home of the unexpected so it is with great pleasure that we alert you to the unpredictable thrill that is pop up restaurants around.
Chef April Bloomfield’s New York gastropub, The Spotted Pig serves a well-loved blue cheese-topped burger which has appeared on our fair streets for a few days and will be found lurking around Soho.
According to the Spotted Pig Burger recipe which Bloomfield published via The Telegraph back in 2009, she used to make her now famous burger with a blue cheese, creme fraiche and garlic dressing rather than with unadulterated Roquefort:
That recipe also reveals that she used to serve the burger with buttermilk-battered fried onion rings (as shot by James Merrell, above) NOT with a mountain of shoestring fries (as now).
As with the simplicity of Patty and Bun, we must applaud the simplification of Bloomfield’s burger. Gone is the fuss (and the potential drips) of a dressing, the Spotted Pig Burger (shown, top) was simply topped with crumbled Roquefort and served in a toasted, slightly sweet briochey bun. No lettuce, no onion, no pickles, no dressing, no ketchup, no “extras”. Just delightfully tasty beef and salty blue Roquefort in a rich bun bearing the charred scars (and flavours) of that which is perfectly toasted. Hats off: why meddle or fuss when these flavours alone provide such joy?
The shoestring fries are a genius touch, too. Given to you in a crazy mount of entwined starchy goodness, they resemble more of a plate of spaghetti than your stereotypical chips and they taste divine having been flavoured with rosemary (yup it’s the in thing to have with burgers at the mo people) and garlic slices.
There is also a certain level of hilarity involved with people watching customers who are absolutely determined to keep a stiff upper lip and eat whatever is served with the cutlery provided. But guess what? A fork is completely useless when it comes to picking up Bloomfield’s shoestring fries.
The only way you can eat them is by picking them up either in a chunk or else one by one and negotiating a sort of jenga like maze of potato that will inevitably send a cascade of crispy chips off the end of your plate and onto the table. It’s gloriously undignified and enormously good fun! And, of course, it reminds you (if you’re the type that needs reminding) that burgers and fries should be picked up and eaten hand to mouth.
And in the hand, the Spotted Pig Burger will issue forth no drips of grease, or splurges of ketchup and other superfluous sauce. There isn’t any. Here is a perfectly designed, brilliantly understated handful of wonderfully tasty beef and cheese housed consummately in a golden, charred bun.
It may just be a pop up and therefore by its very definition it won’t be around for long but while it is here we would definitely recommend you make the most of it and head over to Soho to try to track it down. Alternatively you can check out some of the other pop up restaurants we will shortly be reviewing as part of our recommendations for London eateries. You know us, we love to show you and our ladies a good time. Happy hunting.