I’ve found that London’s Halal Gourmet Burger market has been saturated since the Burger explosion of 2015. Consequently, I find it really difficult to get excited by burgers and in recent times my criteria for considering Gourmet Burger joints has changed markedly.
I will now only entertain the thought of visiting a Gourmet Burger establishment if the restaurant has the following traits:
1. The restaurant uses Dry-aged Beef
2. They have unique flavour combinations in their signature burgers
3. They offer Innovative sides
Recently, I found out about Beef and Birds from the team at Feedthelion.co.uk. The lure of aged patties, brisket chilli burgers and dark chocolate wings ignited my interest and the 50% discount during the soft launch got me through the door. (Those dominant money-saving South Asian genes are hard to shake off!!).
Beef and Birds is situated in the middle of Brick Lane, in Whitechapel. Despite the 50% offer, we were pleased to find a table immediately available for Team Haloodiefoodie. We noticed Beef and Birds interior houses a few pieces of trendy designer graffiti on OSB sheets.
We were greeted by one of the owners, who took our order. The starters arrived within a respectable time, especially considering we were told the food will take longer than usual, as the restaurant was only in its second day of trading.
The Dark Chocolate BBQ Wings were innovative and unique. The dark chocolate wasn’t overly sweet and was flavoured with salt and chilli. This gave the slight punch of spice to go with the crisp wings. It is different but well worth trying.
Sadly, the Korean wings were a major letdown. The Korean BBQ sauce didn’t have the punch of sweet and savoury elements that I expected of onion, garlic, ginger and Korean Chilli paste.
The Birds and Beef short rib was served with fried potatoes, slaw and a choice of gravy (which I personally would never recommend with beef ribs) or an in-house BBQ sauce.
The beef rib wasn’t the portion size I would have expected! (I’m renowned for smoking huge Dino Ribs at home). Nevertheless, the meat was tender and unctuous. The BBQ sauce was pleasant enough, but it lacked the smoky element usually associated with Ribs. The unrendered fat and gristle at the end of the rib was quite unpleasant and spoilt the overall dish.
My first exposure to real Gourmet Burgers was at Meat and Shake in Tooting. I was fascinated to hear that the M&S’s former executive chef Christan Stoner helped develop the Menu at Beef and Birds.
The Texas Brisket Chilli Burger, with its aged Beef patty, Brisket Chilli, Cheese and Jalapeno soon arrived. The first thing I noticed that the chilli was cold! Argh!! The burger itself was reasonable, it was cooked to medium well. Due to the dominant flavours of the brisket chilli topping, I didn’t get the kick of umami I was expecting from an aged beef patty.
Our second burger was the Dirty Diana, with its aged beef patty drenched in creamy Diane Sauce. This burger really hit the mark. The mushroom-laden Diane sauce’s umami savouriness perfectly complimented the Beef Patty. It was a unique flavour combination on the London Halal Burger Scene. Team Haloodiefoodie really enjoyed this Burger.
Overall, I feel its too quick to judge Beef and Birds. With all newly opened restaurants, they are finding their way around the menu and the new setting. The service was polite and attentive, but needs sharpening; there was nobody to receive us and we were offered the table without it being cleaned. We also had to ask for napkins (Especially after the Saucy Dirty Diana).
However, we feel that there is potential in the unique flavour combinations in some of the dishes, and we look forward to keeping an eye out for future developments. Finally, there’s 50% off the food menu until Monday 4th December 2017 by simply quoting ‘Feed the Lion’ when ordering.