Underwhelmed, disappointed (insert other negative comment here)
Honest Burgers, Kings Cross Review
Tom and Phil met in 2010 whilst working at a Brighton restaurant. Soon after, they bought a small marquee and decided to go it alone serving burgers at festivals and events. After meeting Dorian, Tom moved to Brixton in 2011 and within a few months they’d signed a lease on a tiny unit in Brixton Village.
Since than, the first Honest Burgers family has grown rapidly to a further 8 locations, each serving the same menu consisting of 1 chicken option, 5 beef (including 1 special) and 1 veggie. The Liverpool Street, Clapham and Tooting branches also serving some tasty sounding breakfast options.
Honest Burgers is one of many, many burger joints, including Dirty Burger, Bleecker Street, Big Fernand, Hache, MEATliquor, Burger Craft, Shake Shack, Five Guys and Patty & Bun to name a few, that have saturated the London market over the last couple of years.
Previous specials include;
Tandoori rubbed beef, vegetable pakora, cucumber raita and mango chutney
Christmas special – beef, smoked bacon, deep fried camembert, cranberry sauce and rocket
and the Oktoberfest special – beef, Black Forest bacon, Bavarian smoked cheddar, sauerkraut and currywurst sauce.
Antonia and I popped in for a quick dinner before reliving our youth watching Reef. Yes, REEF at Scala, just round the corner from Honest Burgers Kings Cross Branch at Scala. And yes, they were awesome!
Antonia arrived just before me and couldn’t have timed it any better, as the inevitable queue started forming as soon as she’d been seated. The decor is… woody? It covers pretty much everything here from the tables to the walls and ceilings. The Kings Cross branch is a cool space though, on a curved corner which they’ve filled with spacious banquette seating and there’s a generous downstairs dining room too.
For this month’s special, Honest Burgers has teamed up with Beavertown Brewery. Starting with a mustard-fried Ginger Pig dry aged beef patty, they add Beavertown Pale Ale pickles, American cheese, white onion and then some more beer pickles. It’s £11.50 or £15 with a bottle of Beavertown Pale Ale.
I ordered the Beavertown special (£11.50) and Antonia went for the Chicken Burger – free range chicken breast, lettuce, tomato and mustard mayonnaise (£9). We also ordered one of the 3 sides – the green salad (£2.50). Service was nice and informal but rushed as the staff were very aware of the numbers crowding round the entrance to get a table. After our server said the Beavertown special was ‘”AMAAAAAZING”, hopes were high.
Our order came pretty quickly and we got down to the tasting but sadly, were both instantly underwhelmed.
Everything here comes with rosemary salted chips and frankly, they’re awful. Too much rosemary and too much salt, they were overpowering and didn’t compliment my burger at all. Not only that, half of them were limp and lacking any kind of satisfying crunch…
Our burgers were both… fine. Well cooked – mine to a nice medium and Antonia’s chicken was nice and moist but apart from that there was nothing to make me want to return. The Beavertown special was also stuffed with far too many pickles. I LOVE pickles but most mouthfuls reminded of that bite from a Big Mac when you stumble upon the hidden pickle (not that I’ve ever been to McDonalds of course…).
The concept at Honest Burgers is good, with high quality beef from Ginger Pig (who you’d be forgiven for thinking are the only butcher in the country), free range chicken and interesting specials but our experience at Honest Burgers Kings Cross was generally disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good burger as much as anyone else but I can’t say I understand the hype or the queues that some of these places attract. Maybe they were having an off day, maybe I just don’t get it or maybe they’re just not that good.
251 Pentonville Road,
London N1 9NG