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ShortList's search for the UK's best burger

We love burgers. It's a love that dares speak its name over and over again.

We love burgers so much that we wanted to a) shout the word burger through the streets for one week straight, b) consider an ill-advised back tattoo of a giant patty and c) find out where the greatest burger in the UK lives. After being carefully talked down over the first two, we pushed forward with the third.

Over the past year, we tried out the very best burgers that the UK has to offer. The full list is underneath while you can see the five star burgers here.

September 25th

The Crown & Shuttle, London

Address: 226 Shoreditch High St, London, Greater London E1 6JE

Burger of choice: Loomswood duck & Suffolk pork burger

Toppings: Kreik Boon, liquorice & black cherry ketchup, Provolone picante cheese

Chips: Worcester sauce & chilli

Price: £8.75 (without fries)

Thoughts: Throughout our search, we've sampled a fair few burgers that can be easily placed in the "odd" category. At this Shoreditch pub, their three burgers are all focused on bringing the quirk and while it's always interesting to try something a bit leftfield, it's important not to let the more basic ingredients disappear into the background. So while the patty, a combination of duck and pork, made for a nice difference, the bun was a real letdown. Dry and tasteless, it prevented any of the other flavours from really shining. Bonus points though for the delicious chips which were ingeniously coated in Worcester sauce and chilli.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

crownandshuttle.co.uk

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September 23rd

Joe's Southern Kitchen, London

Address: 34 King street, WC2E 8JD London, United Kingdom

Burger of choice: Joe's 'Dry Aged' Burger

Toppings: Pimento cheese, bacon, caramelised onions,

Chips: Fries, served with bacon salt

Price: £12.95

Thoughts: Previously known as Navajo Joe's, this Covent Garden restaurant was in need of a bit of a face-lift after slowly turning into a theme park. Thankfully, it's come and after being rebranded Joe's Southern Kitchen, the menu has become a more authentically American selection of tasty dishes. Our burger was "dry aged" and made from longhorn which gave the patty a deliciously savoury flavour. In fact, every component worked together like a charm from the glazed bun to the bacon salt served with the salty fries. A worthy reinvention.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

joessouthernkitchen.co.uk

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September 20th

Purnell's Bistro, Birmingham

Address: 11 Newhall St, Birmingham, B3 3NY

Burger of choice: Purnell’s burger

Toppings: Emmental cheese, tomato, pickle, dressed leaves.

Chips: Steak cut

Price: £7.95 (includes chips)

Thoughts: Dear, dear Birmingham. It's been a long search, but finally we have it. A simply superb burger in Britain's second city, courtesy of local legend Glynn Purnell. Half pork – half beef, the grease-free patty is a divine bite, with the perfect flavour to juiciness ratio. The homemade burger bun isn't floppy, it has some backbone which marries perfectly with the meat. You have to do a little bit of work to get a mouthful but it's oh so worth it. And the chef goes easy on the toppings, meaning there's no mess. This isn't a dirty burger. If you want one of them go to Original Patty Men at Digbeth Dining Club (also superb). This is sophisticated, stunningly fresh burger making. Top tip: The flair bartender makes an incredible peanut butter and jelly cocktail. It's not on the menu and is a sublime bed pal to the burger.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

purnellsbistro-gingers.com

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September 18th

CHOP SHOP, LONDON

Address: 66 Haymarket, London, Greater London SW1Y 4RF

Burger of choice: Patty Melt Sandwich

Toppings: fried onions and ogleshield cheese

Chips: thin cut, salted

Price: £12 (£15 with a starter 'Jar': options of ricotta, duck liver mousse and smoked trout. Available before 7pm)

Thoughts: We were slightly taken aback when Chop Shop's burger arrived at our table: "We didn't order the cheese toa... oh,wait, there's meat in here." We should have adjusted our expectations when we ordered: the Patty Melt Sandwich is just that - a square meat patty riding shotgun in what is otherwise a cheese toastie, albeit an extravagant one. The patty (35-day aged meat from the rolling hills of the Lake District) was flavoursome, medium rare and not too heavy on the grease. The onions were fried to sweet perfection, but it was the ogleshield cheese (of Neal's Yard Dairy) that was the overriding flavour - a melted mess of stringy deliciousness. Our only issue lay with the bun: the two slices of fried-then-toasted rye bread were nicely crisped, but the crusts spoilt the overall texture of the sandwich, leaving a notable gap in which there was no meat or filling. It's different, but in a good way.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.chopshopuk.com

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September 16th

CHOSEN BUN, LONDON

Address: 647 Fulham Rd, London SW6 5PU (delivers within a two-mile radius)

Burger of choice: The Viking

Toppings: caramalised red onion and garlic chutney, lettuce, American cheese or Cheddar cheese, ketchup, mayo and Nicks pickles.

Chips: Belgians: skin-on, triple-cooked with rosemary salt

Price: £8.50 (without fries)

Thoughts: Burger delivery? What madness is this? Not madness, but perfect sense, according to friends Andy and James, who realised there was a gap in the market for a high-end burger delivered to your door. So they set to work travelling the world tasting burgers and patenting their own box to transport the burger without a mess of bread and beef arriving on your doorstep. We ate in-store, so can’t comment on the delivery, but we can say that there was no toppling in transition from counter to seat. Highlights were the branded bun (which is kept from sogginess due to a strategic layer of chutney) and the American cheese. The patty wasn't mind-blowing, but the chips were crisp and crunchy due to the triple-cooking process over 48 hours to retain heat on the moped journey. One to keep an eye on.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.chosenbun.com

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September 13th

Duke's Head, London

Address: 8 Lower Richmond Rd, London SW15 1JN

Burger of choice: Cardinal Burger/Wild Boar & Apple Burger

Toppings: Cheese, Tomato, Lettuce for the Cardinal; Cheese & Smoked Garlic Mayo for the Wild Boar

Chips: Triple cooked chips

Price: £10.50/£11.95

Thoughts: A thoroughly beautiful riverside setting, overlooking some struggling rowers attempting to navigate the Thames, together with some friendly service made this an enjoyable eating experience overall. Unfortunately the burgers were good, rather than sensational; the Cardinal beef burger was very nicely done, but straightforward, while the Wild Boar burger had a good, strong flavour, but was a little on the rich side overall. The accompanying triple-cooked chips, however, were excellent. A great place to eat, but don’t expect burger paradise.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.dukesheadputney.com/

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September 11th

Boom Burger, London

Address: (formerly) The Earl of Portobello, 36 Golborne Raod, North Kensington W10 5PR

Burger of choice: Boom Burger/Jerk Boom

Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, cheese, bacon, onion for the 'standard' Boom/fried plantan, mango sauce, paw paw sauce for the Jerk Boom

Chips: Plantain Fries/French Fries

Price: £8 for the burgers, £2 for the fries

Thoughts: A pop-up kitchen in a relatively obscure pub in Westbourne Park, together with a rainy Wednesday night meant that it was fairly quiet when we experienced the Boom Burger - so all the more reason to shout from the rooftops about this hidden treasure in the UK's burger landscape. The 'normal' Boom Burger was faultless - a succulent patty, perfectly complemented, but the Jerk Burger was truly outstanding, an intoxicating combination of flavours and just the right amount of heat. In addition, the plantain fries were sensational, although quite rich; though that is part of their appeal. The Boom chefs have now finished their run at the Earl of Portobello, but be sure to follow them on Facebook for news of their next move - you will not be disappointed.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.boomburger.co.uk

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September 9th

Googies, Kent

Address: 15 Rendezvous Street, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1EY

Burger of choice: The Mexican

Toppings: Guacamole, chorizo, sliced tomato and lettuce

Chips: Chunky, skin on, served in an enamel mug.

Price: £9.50 (with fries)

Thoughts: You know what they call a quarter-pounder with cheese in France? No? If you’re burger munching in Folkestone, you’re virtually close enough to shout across the Channel and ask. Here in Britain’s extreme south east, the French coast is considerably closer than London, the proximity presumably part of the reason local art café Googies uses brioche buns to house its excellent burgers. In general, however, the focus is much more on local ingredients – so much so that when we try to order the Surf N Turf we’re refused because the prawns, bought that morning from the harbour, have run out. Instead we go for the Mexican, which is made with guacamole and locally-sourced chorizo. As with all the options in Googies, there’s a choice of having it in a wrap (would it still be a burger then?) or the brioche. The patty is satisfyingly thick, just fatty enough to be juicy rather than greasy and superbly seasoned. The guacamole is outstanding too, as is the almost-too-strong chorizo. If it’s let down by anything, it’s the brioche, which is too spongy and soggy before half the burger has gone. The final product is still good here, but not quite great. As Vincent Vega says, “it’s the little differences.”

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

googies.co.uk

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September 6th

Soho Diner, London

Address: 19-21 Old Compton Street, London W1D 5JJ

Burger of choice: Double cheeseburger

Toppings: Dijonaise, chopped red onion, pickles, beef, Cheddar

Chips: Fries

Price: £10 (without fries)

Thoughts: The central sister to Electric Diner sits in the heart of Soho, near to some of London's best new burger joints. In other words, there's a whole heap of pressure on this place to be as good as, if not better than, the competition. The simple menu offers up diner favourites and the burger is a straight, no messing around cheeseburger. As with many others on the blog, it's a slightly high-end take on a greasy McDonald's burger and taken on this level, it was a satisfying guilty pleasure. The dijonanise also made for a nice change to burger sauce or ketchup.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.sohodiner.com

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September 4th

Wannaburger, Edinburgh

Address: 7-8 Queensferry St Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH2 4PA

Burger of choice: Bacon cheeseburger double

Toppings: Mozzarella, bacon, tomato, gherkin, lettuce

Chips: Cajun Fries (£1.65)

Price: £5.50 (excludes fries)

Thoughts: In an age of posh burgers, the options at Wannaburger are refreshingly simple. If you want to stray off piste, there’s a handful of additional toppings and extras available, but they’re not pretending to serve up ‘gourmet’ offerings here, just fast food done well in the classic American diner style. That doesn’t mean you’re short-changed in exchange for efficiency though – a double means just that; not only do you get twice the burger, you get twice the cheese and bacon, so prepare to dislocate your jaw to fit it all in. The flame-grilled patties are a bit thin, but doubling up should easily satisfy your burger lust. Best of all, they manage to keep them juicy despite the thickness, so there’s plenty of finger licking involved. Tasty glazed buns, and just enough salad to assuage your five-a-day guilt without detracting from the meat-fest, combined with the price (and speed of service) means they’re onto a winner. Bonus marks for too the awesome shakes, including a thick, rich chocolate number and the fiendishly moreish vanilla and peanut butter (trust us).

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.wannaburger.com

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September 2nd

Tramontana Brindisa, London

Address: 152 Curtain Rd London EC2A 3AT

Burger of choice: Hamburgesa Blanco y Negro

Toppings: Mushrooms, mayonnaise and baby leaf salad

Chips: None

Price: £4.75

Thoughts: Burger tapas anyone? Yeah we were a bit dubious as well, admittedly down to our insatiable hunger. We worried that a mere taste of a burger would prove more frustrating than anything else. We were wrong. This perfectly balanced Spanish slider was a bit of a treat. Instead of opting for what we usually expect a London-based "Spanish" take on a burger to be (chorizo), this patty was a combination of two sausages: butifarra and morcilla. It made for a taste that we've never experienced before, savoury, meaty, creamy, just pretty special. Okay and yes, we did want a bigger portion.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.brindisa.com/restaurants/tramontana-brindisa-shoreditch

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August 30th

Burger Brothers, Brighton

Address: 97 North Road, Brighton BN1 1YE

Burger of choice: Classic Beef

Toppings: Mature cheddar, plum tomatoes, wild rocket, mustard, relish, cracked black pepper mayo, caramelised onions

Chips: Not available on our visit

Price: £6.50

Thoughts: The new boy on the burger block in Brighton (try saying that when you're nose deep in a quarter pounder) is essentially a takeaway with a few seats in the window. It's quickly built a loyal following among the city's burgerati with its Classic Beef a big draw. Made from finely minced beef, the patty could have been a bit pinker but was ably backed up by an ace combination of toppings. Tangy mustard and relish gave a sweet depth and top points for the black cracked pepper mayo with a hint of prickly heat. Add in tomatoes and melted cheese and there was plenty of good ooze factor, which was mopped up nicely by the big bready bun. Brothers superior.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.facebook.com/burgerbrothersbrighton

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August 28th

Bukowski, London

Address: BOXPARK Unit 61, 4-6 Bethnal Green Road E1 6GY

Burger of choice: The Fat Gringo

Toppings: Monterrey Jack cheese, candied bacon, jalapeno mustard, red onions, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise

Chips: Triple cooked and fried in beef dripping

Price: £9.95 (without chips)

Thoughts: Already known as the home for one of the area's best burgers, it's quite shameful that it's taken so long for us to try the menu out at Bukowski. Since it originally opened, it's now expanded to a second site down in Brixton and it's easy to see why the formula has been such a success. The selection of burgers was impressively unpredictable and it was the jalapeno mustard that made us choose this one. It was a decision that we didn't live to regret. It made for a nice salty accompaniment to the sweet candied bacon and, on top of the nicely pink patty and housed within a refreshingly large, soft bun, we left happy.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.bukowski-grill.co.uk

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August 23rd

The Chameleon Restaurant & Bar, Birmingham

Address: 1 Victoria Square, Hill Street, B1 1BD

Burger of choice: Chameleon steak burger

Toppings: Crispy bacon, swiss cheese and homemade burger relish

Chips: Crispy fries

Price: £12 (fries included)

Thoughts: The Chameleon, which most Brummies will remember under former incarnation of Henry's Cafe Bar, is new and very, very quiet. Which isn't great because it's also very, very big. On Friday nights it instantly becomes heaving with people who probably aren't looking for burgers. They're not missing a huge amount. The Chameleon specialises in small sharing plates which were delicious, but the burger comes from its less impressive grill menu. They say the sign of a good hot dog comes in the sausages "snap". The same does not apply to burgers. Unfortunately had we pulled the patty from the bun and bent it, such is the level of compression on the mince that it would probably have snapped. No beefburger should do that. On the plus side the bun was fine, the toppings plentiful (but they worked as chunky individual elements, not as a team) and the homemade burger relish was a delight. Plus the fries were exactly what you want from fries. Crispy, grease free and moreish.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

thechameleonbham.com

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August 21st

The Grove, London

Address: 39 Oldridge Road, Balham, London, SW12 8NP

Burger of choice: The Balham

Toppings: Bacon, pickle, mustard mayo, beer soaked onions, cheese, peanut butter

Chips: Thin cut French fries

Price: £10 (with fries)

Thoughts: That's right. Peanut butter in a burger. The chef of The Grove is playing fast and loose with the rules of burger forging - we could tell you the rules but we'd have to kill you, suffice it to say sandwich spreads are banned. There's a lot going on in The Balham besides this left-field addition: the bacon, fresh pickle, cheese and heap of assorted relish compliment the overall juiciness of the meaty middle, and the steamed Viennoise bun manages to contain all these competing passengers. The patty verged on the thicker side of perfection, resulting in some slight inconsistency in the texture of the Sussex-farmed meat, but it packs a wonderfully tasty punch. "But what of the peanut butter?!" said no one. It does exactly what you'd expect, introducing a subtle nuttiness that helps the grease slide down a treat. In all, it's a winning flavour combination. Now we're off to add some Marmite to our fish and chips, and jam to our bolognese.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.grovebalham.com

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August 19th

The Town Wall, Newcastle

Address: Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne

Burger of choice: Buffalo Burger

Toppings: Cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato

Chips: Hand cut chunky chips

Price: £7.95 (with chips. cheese or bacon extra £0.95)

Thoughts: A tough menu choice here between Venison and Buffalo, but in the end the Buff was too tempting to miss. The patty was tender and succulent, held strong with spices and oozing with each chomp. The taste was just as meaty as its traditional beef counterpart, and it was in no way disadvantaged by its boast of a much lower calorie count. Could have been bigger but the subtle spices lingered and we left feeling healthy...kind of.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.thetownwall.com

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August 16th

The Advisory, London

Address: 161 Mare Street, London E8 3RH

Burger of choice: Bacon, mushroom and onion

Toppings: Bacon, mushroom, onion, tomato, lettuce and special sauce

Chips: Fries

Price: £6 (without fries)

Thoughts: When it comes to burgers, East London is starting to resemble an increasingly fraught episode of Game of Thrones. While established House of Lucky Chip has recently come under attack from House of Psychic Burger, with House of Bukowski steadily gathering pace, we have a new contender for the throne. The Advisory sits in-between them all and could well be in line to Joffrey its way to the top. The burger we had was mostly fantastic. The medium-rare patty, erring on the rare side, was excellently seasoned and, taken alone was worth the price. Luckily, it was surrounded by brilliance (the sauce, a mixture of ketchup, mayo and BBQ, was particularly great). The only slight negative was an abundance of juice which made the bun rather soggy after a few bites. But we were still hugely impressed. We advise a visit. Yeah, we made that joke.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

twitter.com/ADVISORYhackney

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August 14th

The City Cafe, Edinburgh

Address: 19 Blair St Edinburgh, Midlothian EH1 1QR

Burger of choice: The Apache

Toppings: Monterey Jack cheese, smoked bacon, hickory-smoked BBQ sauce, tomato, lettuce and gherkin

Chips: Chunky chips

Price: £9.00 (with chips)

Thoughts: First up, we need to point out that the bun, made especially for this retro-cool American diner by local artisan baker Breadwinner, is simply superb; robust enough to stay firm in the face of potential sogginess, but still soft and moist, with just the tight hint of chewiness. As for the rest of the accouterments – they’re pretty spot on too. The bacon is thick-cut, a hickory-smoked BBQ sauce is moreish rather than overly sweet and sickly, and there’s certainly no shortage of cheese. Plenty of gherkin provide just the right amount of sour tang, and they’ve struck the balance of lettuce and tomato so it’s an integral part of the serving, without ever threatening to dominate. It’s just a shame then that the actual patty itself is only OK, which is a shame as it should be the star. It’s meaty enough, but suspiciously uniform and too thin. That means it’s just not possible to get the lovely caramelisation on the outside without over-cooking the middle. Sure there’s an excellent supporting cast here, but ultimately the lead has been miscast.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.thecitycafe.co.uk

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August 12th

The Bar, London

Address: The Dorchester, Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K1QA

Burger of choice: Wagyu burger

Toppings: Tomato relish, cheddar cheese, truffle mayonnaise and onion jam

Chips: Jumbo handcut, salted

Price: £29 (with chips)

Thoughts: Just as no one goes to The Ritz for a pint, no one goes to The Dorchester for a burger. And we're all mugs for not doing so. This is a gourmet creation that easily matches the opulent surroundings of The Bar and the immaculate suit of the French waiter who took our order. The Australian wagyu patty was of a generous size, cooked to medium rare perfection (our choice) and loaded with bovine flavour: the fluffy bun was easily capable of handling the resulting juices. But it was the combination of tomato relish and truffle mayonnaise that blew us away - a groan-inducing flavour (think When Harry met Sally) we've never before encountered in a handheld meal. This isn't a gimmick to keep the big spending American guests happy, the chefs of The Dorchester have constructed a burger readily capable of going toe-to-toe with any of the five star burgers on this page. Yes, it's the most expensive yet, but every ounce of it is crammed with deliciousness. Put on a shirt, book a table and find out for yourself.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.thedorchester.com/the-bar

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August 9th

Jones & Sons, London

Address: 23 - 27 Arcola Street, London E8 2DJ

Burger of choice: Chargrilled burger

Toppings: Cheddar, lettuce and tomato

Chips: Fries

Price: £9.50 (with fries)

Thoughts: Opening around the corner from Psychic Burgers in Dalston, this new restaurant might not specialise in burgers but placing one on their minimalist menu is a brave decision. Sadly, it turns out to be a slightly misjudged one as well. While it might have looked the part, the patty was overcooked - a fatal error. The meat was also devoid of any seasoning and the rather simplistic toppings failed to distract from the problem. We left disappointed.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

www.jonesandsonsdalston.com

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August 7th

Wenlock & Essex, London

Address: 18-26 Essex Road, Islington, London, N1 8LN

Burger of choice: W&E handmade Angus Burger

Toppings: Pulled pork, slow roast tomato, dill pickle (cheddar and jalapeno as extras)

Chips: Hand-cut chips

Price: £11 (with chips, extras £1 each)

Thoughts: In the middle of their impressive US-themed menu lies two slightly different burger options. Because we're heavy believers in being thorough with our burger tasting, we had to try them both. Obviously. The good news is that we loved the two of them but this one, we loved a little more. We customised the already jam-packed burger with some cheddar and jalapenos which added yet more flavour to the delicious pulled pork and perfectly pink patty. Okay so those three words should never be used again together, we agree. A delicious burger though.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.wenlockandessex.com

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August 5th

Sylvesters, Edinburgh

Address: 55-57 W Nicolson St, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 9DB

Burger of choice: Spicy Jerk Pork

Toppings: Pineapple salsa, tomato, lettuce, red onion

Chips: Sweet potato wedges

Price: £9.95 (with wedges)

Thoughts: Because it’s pork, it was always going to be juicy, unlike beef which can dry out with the merest hint of over-cooking. Not that we needed worry however – this bulky, appealing burger arrived perfectly cooked, oozing it’s porcine juices just waiting to run down our chins. A wholewheat bun – toasted, of course – is a good choice on paper, but on the plate it’s a little too big and dry, negating the pork’s natural fatty goodness, while the (lovely) pineapple salsa doesn’t quite cut it on its own: this needs some sort of sauce slathered on it to grease the wheels. The jerk flavouring of the pattie is tasty too, the combination of spices delicate and subtle. The only problem is that a burger shouldn’t be delicate or subtle. A beurre blanc should be subtle; lobster thermidor should be delicate. A great burger however, should be anything but. It needs to be brutally obvious. It must bellow, ‘here I stand, bow down before me’. It should be the flavour equivalent of a swift knee to the groin – bringing a tear to the eye and leaving you in doubt as to what you’ve just experienced.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.sylvestersedinburgh.co.uk

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August 2nd

The Jam Tree, London

Address: 13-19 Old Town, Clapham London, SW4 0JT

Burger of choice: Beefburger, with bacon

Toppings: Tomato and onion relish

Chips: Thin French Fries

Price: £11 (includes fries)

Thoughts: Efficiency is the key word here; The Jam Tree burger is clean, straightforward and pleasing. No crazy toppings or oozing grease to be found here; this is an old-school British burger served with the minimum of fuss. The relish gives just enough pizazz to keep things interesting, while the patty was perfectly cooked. The classic fries round off a quiet triumph. It’s very much a gastropub job, but it’s nicely done, and you can’t argue with that.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.thejamtree.com/clapham

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July 31st

Burger Meats Bun, Glasgow

Address: 48A West Regent St, Glasgow G2 2RA

Burger of choice: Smokin' Bacon

Toppings: Smoked bacon, Dale End cheddar, spiced ketchup, burger sauce, braised onion, lettuce, cucumber, tomato

Chips: Cheese chips

Price: £8 + £2.50 for cheese chips

Thoughts: A decent-sized patty of well seasoned mince trim and shoulder, with suet, lovely and pink inside, retains a juicy, meaty flavour despite soft, smoky strips of bacon and a wonderful spiced ketchup. There's perhaps a little too much secret burger sauce – it's a messy mouthful – but overall this is a really satisfying fistful, served in a brioche burn, arriving in an old-fashioned plastic wrapper. Sides such as fries cost extra but are available with sea salt, cheese or Thai chilli cheese. With a concise, classic, specialised vibe, Burger Meats Bun is a fine addition to Glasgow that also offers takeaway.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.burger-meats-bun.co.uk

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July 29th

Red Dog Saloon, London

Burger of choice: The Devastator

Toppings: Pulled pork, bacon and American cheese. Lots of all of them.

Chips: French fries

Price: £22.75 (fries an extra £2.95)

Thoughts: We visited Red Dog Saloon expecting to hate The Devastator – a gargantuan burger consisting of three 6oz patties, 200g of pulled pork, six rashers of applewood smoked bacon and six slices of American cheese. We expected it to be all quantity and zero quality. A grim product of the Man v Food generation.

It was absolutely spectacular.

Our top tip, as if you needed it, is to share this monster between two or three. The 100% chuck beef is tantalisingly juicy, but the grease factor, which you’d expect to be as high as the burger itself, was gratifyingly low. The love that went into those patties was as much love as went into any on this page, irrelevant of how many go between the bun.

And the pulled pork. Ahh the pulled pork. It’s cooked in Red Dog’s award-winning smoker that’s been imported from the USA and is built to recreate the cooking process of the original South USA fire pits. They use the traditional American woods of hickory and mesquite to give a full smoke flavour, and the meat stays in the smoker for up to 16 hours, adding to the burger but taking nothing away from the patties.

Quality from top to bottom.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.reddogsaloon.co.uk

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July 26th

Busby and Wilds, Brighton

Address: 8/9 Rock Street, BN2 1NF

Burger of Choice: Busby Beef Burger

Toppings: Gherkins, slow roasted tomato, rocket, onion jam, homemade burger sauce.

Chips: Chunky chips

Price: £9.50 + 90p for Montgomery's cheddar

Thoughts: Burger chemistry is an elusive science. A carelessly cut tomato here or a heavy handed dollop of ketchup there, and the fragile equilibrium of a great burger can be thrown out of kilter. The Busby Beef Burger was a case in point. The individual constituents were all perfectly good in their own right, but the chemistry wasn't quite there.

The Dexter beef patty (shoulder, flank and marrow) was fine – good charring on the outside, not quite pink enough on the inside and a nice hit of meaty flavour. Slow roasted tomatoes were a clever touch and there was an interestingly rustic onion jam, but put together they were too sweet. The soft bun also struggled to cope and soon collapsed into soggy turmoil. Needs fine tuning.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.busbyandwilds.co.uk

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July 24th

Galeto, London

Address: 33 Dean Street, London, W1D 4PW

Burger of choice: Picanha Burger 6oz

Toppings: Cheese

Chips: Fries

Price: £9.50 (with fries)

Thoughts: As you might have noticed by this stage, we've eaten a lot of burgers. A dangerous amount of burgers, if you will. So when we head to a new eatery, we're always hoping for something a bit different. Hopes were high with this one. A Brazilian restaurant with a menu full of authentic dishes, we expected a burger with a similarly South American flavour. But their one option was decidedly, well, non-specific. The patty, supposedly medium rare, was more like medium and while it was nicely seasoned, it felt a bit stranded with just some cheese for company. We'd hoped for something a bit more, well, Brazilian. A whelming burger.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.galeto.co.uk

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July 22nd

The Roxy 171, Glasgow

Burger of choice: 6oz Scotch Beef

Toppings: Ayrshire back bacon, Dunsyre blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, half gherkin, smooth salsa, mayonnaise

Chips: Homemade potato salad (twist)

Price: £8.50 + £1 for the bacon + £1 for the blue cheese

Thoughts: A lovely, juicy patty with a rough, hash-like texture is afforded extra kick and crunch by the addition of Dijon mustard, plenty of pepper and red onion in the minced steak. A lively salsa base adds more piquancy, although the white sesame bun is a bit dry and the half-gherkin speared atop adds nothing. Eleven toppings are available for customising your burger, of which the spicy but mellow blue cheese has an exceptionally strong flavour. Cool, excellently made potato salad and a homemade coleslaw offer an appealing change from the usual fries/wedges choice.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.theroxy171.co.uk

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July 19th

Five Guys, London

Address: 1 Long Acre, London, Greater London WC2E 9BD

Burger of choice: Bacon cheeseburger

Toppings: Other than the obvious? Extra fresh onion.

Chips: Large cajun fries (enough for two or three) £5

Price: £8.75 (without fries)

Thoughts: Going toe-to-toe with the newly opened neighbour Shake Shack, Five Guys boasts 1200 restaurants in the States and is named after the owner and his four sons (which became 5 sons after they'd named it). The queue spiralled out of the doorway and into the baking London heat. People willing to wait in 30C temperatures was a good sign. So how was it? Well, good. Very good, in fact. Oddly enough there's definitely room for Five Guys and Shake Shack in Covent Garden. They're very different. Shake Shack feels very Californian - freshness focused (for a chain, anyway) - while Five Guys serve up unapologetically dirty burgers. And that's no bad thing. Meaty, cheesy, deep fried crispy bacon, it's the sort of thing you'll seriously enjoy eating, but will know you've eaten for hours after. Pro tip: The Coca-Cola freestyle drinks machine is incredible.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

fiveguys.co.uk

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July 17th

Bar 166 & Bistro, Leeds

Address: 166 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4AQ

Burger of Choice: 6oz Honey and Rum Burger

Toppings: Bacon, onion rings, salad

Chips: Fries (not chips)

Price: £10

Thoughts: Fact one for the evening: apparently fries are just thin chips, a bit crispier. Perfectly serviceable here and the accompanying salad and coleslaw was pretty good too. But let’s talk burgers. Given the description, we were somehow expecting this to arrive dripping with some dark, sweet sauce. In reality it was a bit like the edible version of staring at a lightbulb then seeing the outline of said lightbulb everywhere for the next half an hour. We’d read that it had a honey and rum glaze therefore our taste buds may have believed they were eating a burger with a honey and rum glaze. And we're not suggesting this as a criticism – burgers can get a bit overwhelmed with sauces and rubs but this was spot-on, just a hint of sweetness with the nicely moist patty. We're still not sure whether it all really happened (was it just the power of suggestion?) but we're pretty sure it was very enjoyable.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.bar166.co.uk

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July 15th

Opera Tavern, London

Address: 23 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JS

Burger of choice: Mini Ibérico Pork Burger

Toppings: Manchego cheese, chutney, lettuce, crispy onions

Chips: None

Price: £6.50

Thoughts: It's moments like this that we wish we could give half stars. These truly stunning tapas-style pork burgers (made with Blackfoot Ibérico pig whose diet is predominantly fresh hazlenuts) are juicy morsels of utter joy. Bizarrely they'd be worthy of a five-star rating if this were a search for the UK's best tapas. But we're looking for burgers and these go somewhat against the dictionary definition of a burger. The size and the absence of beef are the only reasons this isn't perfection in a bun. The porky patty is infused with foie gras, adding a velvety taste but not an overkill of richness. An onion chutney cuts through the meatiness while manchego cheese adds a hint of piquancy. The burger's juice oozes out on the bite, but not to the point of being unpleasant. Far from it. We mopped up the overspill with the fresh bread provided. Heaven. The hardlined burger purists may choose to look elsewhere, but they'll be missing out.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.operatavern.co.uk

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July 12th

The Salisbury Arms, Edinburgh

Address: 58 Dalkeith Rd Edinburgh EH16 5AD

Burger of choice: Prime beef burger with cheese and bacon

Toppings: Emmental cheese, bacon, mayo, relish, red onion, tomato, lettuce and gherkin

Chips: Fries

Price: £10.45 (with chips)

Thoughts: Given the fairly genteel location (think urban-country-pub meets Sunday lunch with the grandparents), eating the burgers requires a satisfyingly liberal amount of uncouth finger-licking. Appearance –wise it’s pretty good, all piled high, complete with bun hat sitting at a jaunty angle. The fairly hefty patty, shaped from finely ground meat, is tasty even if there isn’t a hint of internal pink, two rashers of plump piggy adding the requisite amount of ooze instead. A suspiciously-uniform slice of emmental, and a rather plain bun, let the side down a tad, although the cheese is thankfully melted, and lashings of mayo and relish under the salad ensuring the bread doesn’t ever veer towards dry-mouth territory. Thin cut fries, crunchy, salty and piping hot, are an added plus.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.thesalisburyarmsedinburgh.co.uk

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July 10th

Shake Shack, London

Address: Covent Garden, 24 Market Building, The Piazza, London, WC2E 8RD

Burger of choice: ShackBurger

Toppings: Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce

Chips: Crinkle cut cheese fries (£3.50 extra)

Price: £5

Brilliant fast food-style hamburgers have finally hit these shores. If you're looking for gourmet burgerage (which spell check is incorrectly flagging as 'not a word') then move along. But that's not what Shake Shack is about. It's about the first UK venue for the 29 location US burger behemoth. They have 21 restaurants in the US, there's a handful in the Middle East, one in Turkey and this one, in Covent Garden. And it's delicious. The ShackBurger is a grass-fed Aberdeen Angus patty topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato and their tangy, mayonnaise-based Shacksauce. That's it. Unlike chain restaurants their burgers are fresh and lively. Juicy but grease-free. And they only cost £5. There are better burgers on this blog, but there are no better US chain burgers in the entire country. Your move Five Guys.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.ShakeShack.com

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July 8th

The New Club, Brighton

Address: 133-134 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2HH

Burger of Choice: Dirty Burger

Toppings: Hickory onion and bacon relish, sliced pickle, Monterey Jack, house sauce, shredded cabbage and romaine lettuce

Chips: French fries

Price: £10

Thoughts: Get an eyeful of that burger in the picture above. I mean really look at it. Long and hard. Study the perfectly cooked patty made with organic Black Angus and Longhorn rump, chuck and marrow. The texture is just right – chunky and juicy – with a solid beefy flavour. Inside, there is just a faint blush of pink.Now gaze at the homemade brioche bun. Underneath that shiny, seeded crust, it is soft and fluffy and sweet, but this is a bun that does not shirk its responsibilities. It's sturdy enough to hold the burger together as you eat.Then there are the details – a velvety smooth blanket of Monterey Jack, the bite of the pickles and the sweet and salty tang from hickory smoked onion and bacon relish. What you are looking at, my friends, is a very rare thing on this blog – a genuine five-star burger.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.thenewclubbrighton.com

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July 5th

Psychic Burger @ Birthdays, London

Address: 33-35 Stoke Newington Rd London N16 8BJ

Burger of choice: Psychic Burger

Toppings: Psychic sauce, pickles, Monterey Jack, lettuce, tomato, bacon

Chips: Shoe string fries

Price: £8.50 (extra £1 for bacon, without chips)

Thoughts: The menu at Psychic Burger is very much the product of the past year in London. As the burger scene has blossomed, the standard combination of patty, cheese and slightly stale bun is no longer acceptable. At this "concession" at Dalston bar Birthdays, an American-themed menu offers up more than just the basics, with pork skin popcorn and chilli cheese fries adding some colour. But we're here to talk burgers and we went for the Psychic Burger, their specialty, and the word special is extremely apt. The glazed brioche bun and the sweet psychic sauce worked wonderfully with the seasoned patty and the salty bacon and cheese combo, making it a satisfyingly guilty pleasure. Could have done without the underwhelming onion ring though...

Star rating: ★★★★✰

birthdaysdalston.com/psychic-burger

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July 3rd

The Huxley, Edinburgh

Address: 1 Rutland Street, Edinburgh. EH1 2AE

Burger of Choice: Philly Steak and Cheese

Toppings: Sauteed onions, provolone cheese and green bell peppers

Chips: Skinny fries

Price: £9 (with chips)

Thoughts: Apparently, the people behind The Huxley spent a year travelling the world, trying out burgers in an attempt to create a perfect one. While they might not quite have achieved perfection, that effort hasn't gone to waste. First up, the burgers look great. Clad in nicely glazed buns and served in baskets with a mountain of skinny fries, they've got a Midwest truckstop vibe about them. And if they appear a little on the small side, a quick lift of the lid reveals two chuck steak patties hiding underneath. With upmarket sister restaurant Kyloe upstairs specialising in everything bovine, the grilled burgers themselves are as excellent as you'd expect - thick, chunky slabs of grilled steaky beefness - and the meat is treated with due respect, perfectly pink in the middle and oozing with juices. As a result, eating it is a delightfully messy task; it's definitely a three-napkin-burger. The only slight downside is the topping combination - sauteed onions, green bell peppers and provolone cheese - which although perfectly passable, doesn't pack quite as much punch as it promises.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thehuxley.co.uk

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July 1st

140 Park Lane Restaurant, London

Address: 140 Park Lane, London, W1K 7AA

Burger of choice: 140 Park Lane luxury wagyu burger

Toppings: Onion rings, grated parmesan, tomato, lettuce, spicy salsa

Chips: Well salted, with skins

Price: £19.90 (with chips)

Thoughts: You generate a bit of a fuss in 140 Park Lane when ordering their luxury wagyu burger. A hotel venue more suited to cream teas and cocktails, eyebrows were twitched as our towering meat stacks arrived. The quality of the wagyu beef was undeniable (raised on a diet of straw and maize, massaged to tenderise the fat): the texture, size and rich flavour were worth upsetting the high-society pretenders. However, the patty was let down by the accompanying onion rings and grated parmesan – the combined levels of grease bordered on washing the meat’s flavour away. Compensating with the side-severed salsa restored some much needed kick to the overall taste. The seeded bun was light and fresh before the juices soaked through – it’s worth eating quickly rather than savouring the affair. In brief, a four star patty nestled in a three star burger.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.140parklane.co.uk

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June 28th

The Arches, Glasgow

Address: 253 Argyle St Glasgow G2 8DL

Burger of choice: Beef and mustard burger

Toppings: Bacon, Applewood cheddar, lettuce, tomato, root vegetable coleslaw

Chips: Chunky handcut chips with rosemary salt and homemade ketchup

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: A straightforward but terrifically tasty burger this, with the only surprising addition being an unusually crunchy and sapid coleslaw. One hundred percent Scottish beef from Cairnhill Farm in Ayrshire is densely flavoured with onions, herbs, peppers, and, for a mild kick, wholegrain mustard, all slathered in a strong, smoky cheddar and topped with bacon. In a white flour bun that doesn't get soggy when the cheese and tomato are squeezed together, it's a lovely cram into the mouth. The chips are just ever so slightly anaemic but that's the only disappointment.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thearches.co.uk

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June 26th

Slabs, London

Address: 19 New Cavendish street, London W1G 9TZ

Burger of choice: Spanish burger

Toppings: Manchego cheese, serrano ham and garlic aioli

Chips: Triple cooked chips

Price: £13.95 (without chips)

Thoughts: A refreshingly varied burger menu offered up a selection of interestingly unconventional choices, leaving us a tad confused over what to order. Ultimately we decided to go Spanish, swayed somewhat strongly by a unique patty which was a combination of minced chorizo and beef. It made for a nice, salty taste and with the serrano ham and manchego cheese, things were all going rather well. But an unnecessary and overwhelmingly large dollop of garlic aioli was a step too far, making it all a bit too rich. So close.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

slabslondon.com

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June 24th

The Troll's Pantry @ Hobgoblin, Brighton

Address: 31 York Pl Brighton and Hove, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 4GU

Burger of Choice: The Smoky Mountain

Toppings: Bourbon bacon jam, home-made barbecue sauce, smoked Foresters cheese, caramelised onions, garlic mayo, lettuce.

Chips: No

Price: £8.50

Thoughts: Wrapping your chops around a troll's smoky mountain is a lot more fun than it sounds. The troll in question is Brighton street food trader the Troll's Pantry, run by Paul Clark, who has swapped his burger trailer for a gazebo in the garden of the Hobgoblin pub. The Smoky Mountain is one of his most popular creations and for good reason – the amount of work that goes into this bad boy is impressive. The brioche bun, barbecue sauce and bourbon bacon jam are troll-made, as is the aged Longhorn chuck steak patty. Throw in oak smoked local cheese and garlic mayo and you have a serious contender for the crown. We loved the boozy, fruity, dangerously addictive combo of barbecue sauce and bacon jam, and the burger itself was properly cooked with a good savoury flavour. The only downside was that the meat and even the cheese were a bit overwhelmed by all the sauce. We also wanted more of a crust on our bun. Nit-picking aside, this is a mountain of a burger that we would love to conquer again.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

thetrollspantry.wordpress.com

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June 21st

Kopapa, London

Address: 32-34 Monmouth Street, London, WC2H 9HA

Burger of choice: West Country Beef Burger

Toppings: Tomato chilli relish, smoked aioli, crispy bacon, coleslaw

Chips: Fries with rosemary & garlic salt

Price: £9.90 (without chips)

Thoughts: Long considered one of the finest fusion chefs in Europe, it is quite surprising to see a menu from Peter Gordon, particularly one which has already bowled reviewers over with its crab burger, would play it so safe when it came to the beef variety. And while there was certainly much to savour – the tomato chilli paste, generously pasted on the lightly toasted bun, rolled off the tongue wonderfully; the sparingly used crispy bacon provided a decent foil for the tender if slightly dry West Country beef – it just wasn’t as belly-filling as we had hoped for, leaving us with the bittersweet dilemma of having ample room for dessert.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.kopapa.co.uk

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June 19th

Meathammer at Nice N Sleazy's, Glasgow

Address: 421 Sauchiehall St Glasgow G2 3LG

Burger of choice: Great White Buffalo

Toppings: Bacon, Stilton, lettuce, tomato, red onion, garlic mayonnaise, red onion marmalade, hot 'buffalo' sauce

Chips: Triple cooked, chunky chips with rosemary

Price: £7.50

Thoughts: This dank, renowned music venue scrubbed up a few years ago and brought Meathammer Ltd. in to run the kitchen. Inspired by the Ted Nugent song, the Great White Buffalo was created for David Vincent, lead singer of death metallers Morbid Angel. A compact, grainy patty of blended chuck short-rib, pork mince for succulence and ketchup, horesradish, bone marrow and oyster sauce, it's a rare assault on the tastebuds. A butter and Tabasco sauce and the meat's soaking in Jack Daniels eschews the sugary, sticky horror that usually attends bourbon in cooking. The red onion is bland though. And the diverse flavours are compromised by the difficulty of cramming even a third of the burger into your mouth at once.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.nicensleazy.com

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June 17th

JW Steakhouse, London

Address: 86 Park Lane, London W1K 7TN

Burger of choice: JW Longhorn Burger

Toppings: Montgomery cheddar, crispy bacon, tomato

Chips: Herb chips

Price: £17.00 (with chips)

Thoughts: When asked how we'd like our burger cooked, we're usually happy to go with whatever the chef suggests. Most times this means medium rare which we're doubly happy with. At JW Steakhouse, the sole burger on the menu was given to us as the chef prefers: well done. Given the high quality longhorn beef used, we were cautious. Sadly, it turned out our suspicions were correct. The patty was dry and rubbery and lost any of the flavour which might have come with less cooking time. Crispy bacon and some tasty herby fries helped soften the blow slightly though.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

www.jwsteakhouse.co.uk

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June 14th

New York Burger Kitchen, Leeds

Address: 50 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 6DT

Burger of Choice: The Blues Burger

Toppings: Red onion marmalade, pickles, lettuce, tomato and blue cheese

Chips: Sweet potato fries

Price: £8.50 (plus extra £1 to upgrade to sweet potato fries and 50p extra to upgrade to sweet brioche bun)

Thoughts: We’re suckers for a bit of blue cheese on our burgers and NYBK’s Blues Burger does not disappoint. The tangy gloop of molten cheese is nicely complemented with the sweet red onion marmalade and there’s a satisfying crunch courtesy of the copious pickles. The medium-cooked patty sourced from Leeds Kirkgate Market, literally a stone’s throw away from the restaurant, has a refreshingly wholesome lean feel about it (which makes a change from normally feeling guilty about the waistline post-burger-scoffing). It’s also well worth the extra £1.50 to upgrade to the melt in your mouth brioche bun and the best sweet potato fries you are likely to sample in Leeds.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.nybk.co.uk

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June 12th

BBQWhiskyBeer @ The Wargrave Arms, London

Address: 40-42 Brendon St, London W1H 5HE

Burger of choice: BBQ Pork

Toppings: 24hr smoked pulled pork, coleslaw, cheese, bacon ,lettuce, tomato, onions, pickle and relish

Chips: Triple cooked chips

Price: £10 (without chips)

Thoughts: Yet another pop-up taking up a residency at an esteemed local, this whisky-infused addition specialises in iconic American food and our burger choice gave us the best of both worlds. Firstly, it gave us a chance to sample their deliciously tender pulled pork, which coupled with the melted cheese and bacon, made for a great topping. Underneath, the patty was tender and well-cooked. But things fell down after that. Not only was coleslaw slathered on top but a relish underneath and mayonnaise meant the burger was over-stuffed and sickly. The double mayonnaise meant it was the overriding flavour, taking away from the delicious meats. So close.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

twitter.com/BBQWhiskyBeer

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June 10th

Hix Chop & Oyster House, London

Address: 36-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6BN

Burger of choice:

Toppings: Battered and deep-fried oysters, cheese and bacon

Chips: Thin chips

Price: £19.75 (without chips)

Thoughts: When looking for a suitable burger for our search, a unique selling point is always important. In this instance, including two battered and deep-fried oysters semeed like a pretty damn unique way of topping a burger. And while the Hix burger certainly gets points for creativity, it falls down slightly on taste. With the oysters already providing a heavy dose of flavour, the addition of cheese and then bacon, plus relish and coleslaw on the side, makes the whole thing a bit too much. The sort of burger that makes your heart beat dangerously fast. We never thought we'd say this, but it was a case of too many good things at once.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.hixoysterandchophouse.co.uk

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June 7th

The Coal Shed, Brighton

Address: 8 Boyces Street, Brighton BN1 1AN

Burger of Choice: Steak Burger

Toppings: Lettuce, pickles, tomato, onion and Montgomery's cheddar with homemade tomato relish on the side

Chips: Chunky beef dripping chips

Price: £11 (plus £1 for the cheese, chips included)

Thoughts: You know you've eaten a good burger when you discover some time later that your wristwatch is coated in meat juice. That was our experience with the Coal Shed's steak burger. The 250g chuck steak patty, made with 35-day-aged Aberdeen Angus beef, was a text book example of how to cook a burger - charred on the outside and lusciously tender on the inside. The pickles gave good crunch and respect is due for having king of cheddars Montgomery's as an optional topping. We also rated the well toasted homemade bun, which held it all altogether nicely. There were a few downsides, if you were being ultra picky (which we were). The seasoning was a bit heavy handed and the homemade relish lacked depth and tang, but these were minor faults.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.coalshed-restaurant.co.uk

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June 5th

The Plough, London

Address: 89 St Johns Hill, Clapham, London, SW11 1SY

Burger of Choice: The Boston Burger

Toppings: Pickle, mustard, beer-soaked onion, cheese, wafer sliced bacon, peanut butter

Chips: Hand-cut chips

Price: £13.75 (without chips)

Thoughts: With the freshly ground prime beef patty proudly soaked in bacon dripping and topped with extra bacon and beer-soaked onion, this burger makes no apology for what it is: an enormous US-style calorific artery-buster. The peanut butter adds a great, and unusual flavour for a burger, but also adds further to the calorie count - you don't want to be admitting this one to your doctor. Beautifully cooked, but heavy going, this is great for those who like a challenge, but may overwhelm those more gentle souls among us.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.theploughstjohnshill.co.uk

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June 3rd

Elliot's, London

Address: 12 Stoney St London, Greater London SE1 9AD

Burger of choice: Cheeseburger

Toppings: Caramelised onions, cheese, dill butter

Chips: Fried potatoes

Price: £12.50

Thoughts: Given the amount of burgers we've sampled for our epic search, a break from the norm is always appreciated. Which is why we were intrigued by the offering at Elliot's. Firstly, the bun was a seeded brioche, which might sound like a small variation but it gave a nice, crunchy topping to the burger. Secondly, the patty was made from a mixture of ribeye and hindquarter, with the fat separated out, to make it juicy. The problem was, it was a bit too juicy and the juice was unseasoned and flavourless. Thirdly, dill butter was added, something we haven't seen yet. But the caramelised onions (cooked for 8 hours in beef fat) were a bit too wet and tasteless. An admirable attempt but not as special as we'd hoped.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.elliotscafe.com

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May 31st

Common, Manchester

Address: 39 Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HW

Burger of choice: The Reuben Burger

Toppings: Sauerkraut, pastrami, Emmenthal

Chips: Thin chips

Price: £9.00 (with chips)

Thoughts: Food consultant to this Northern Quarter gem is ex-Fat Duck chef Laurence Tottingham but there’s nothing molecular about this in-your face Reuben with its lashings of pickled cabbage, blanket of piquant pastrami and oozings of melted Swiss cheese. The quite plain bun struggles to contain the overload and underneath it all is a substantial patty of coarsely minced Cheshire sirloin sourced from acclaimed Chorlton butcher Lee Frost. A side of home-produced slaw features too much red onion, adding to the spicy hit and calling for a chilled Kernel or Redwillow craft ale, but instead we’d recommend a similarly spicy Borsao red from Northern Spain.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.aplacecalledcommon.co.uk

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May 29th

Blue Boar Smokehouse, London

Address: 37-45 Tothill St London, Greater London SW1H 9LQ

Burger of choice: Blue Boar Burger

Toppings: Barbecue onion relish, melted cheddar (pulled pork as an extra)

Chips: Fries

Price: £13 (with chips)

Thoughts: Proudly revelling in all things marinated, smoked, barbecued and smoked, the Blue Boar Smokehouse specialises in ribs and pulled pork. Which handily explains why the pulled pork topping on our burger was easily the best part of the dish. The deliciously tender pork, coupled with melted cheese was a special thing. Sadly, the other, slightly more important, meat - the patty - was a disappointment. Overcooked and lacking in seasoning, it showed none of the craftmanship displayed in the smoky pork topping. But the pork, oh the pork.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.blueboarlondon.com

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May 24th

The It Bar, Leeds

Address: 57-59 New Briggate, Leeds, LS2 8JD

Burger of Choice: it’s 8 Hour Sloppy Joe

Toppings: 8 hour slow cooked chilli, shaved cheddar, sour cream

Chips: Seasoned skinny skin-on

Price: £8-95 (including chips)

Thoughts: When your dish is called ‘Sloppy Joe’ and you are pre-warned not to accidentally eat the sodden gingham napkin under the bun, you know this is unlikely to be a particularly crisp affair so I have no problem with that. In fact the rich chilli oozed everywhere but was totally delicious with the sour cream. Where things let the side down a little was the patty – definitely a substantial puck of lean beef, but maybe the meaty quilt of hot chilli caused it to arrive slightly over-cooked and a little bit too firm as a consequence. The lightly seasoned chips held their own without being exceptional so it’s difficult to score this combination much above 3 out of 5. More Average Joe than Sloppy Joe but certainly no disaster.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.itbars.co.uk

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May 22nd

The Truscott Arms, London

Address: 55 Shirland Road, Maida Vale, London, W9 2JD

Burger of Choice: English Wagyu Burger

Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, red onion, spicy tomato salsa on the side

Chips: Chunky

Price: £14 (with chips)

Thoughts: The first thing you should know about the burger at the Truscott Arms is that the beef is from the Queen's supplier. Whether that will sway you to go eat there is another matter. There's is nothing wrong with the burger as such, it's just it's not as great as it could or should be. Take the meat: it's a reasonable patty in size and in consistency - you can tell the meat is good quality. However, it lacks seasoning (which is key) and is too overdone. True, you might not want it bleeding, but a little redder would have made for a tastier burger. On top of the patty is tomato, lettuce and red onion, all of which tastes a bit BBQ in the garden - fine if you're the one cooking the burger, not so much if you're paying for a gourmet version. Finally the brioche bun is too toasted and there's little need for the spicy tomato salsa as it adds nothing to the dish.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

thetruscottarms.com

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May 20th

Waggon & Horses, Brighton

Address: 10 Church St, BN1 1US

Burger of Choice: Zombie Head Shot

Toppings: Chuck steak patty, melted blue cheese, guacamole, salsa, lettuce, onion, tomato and chipotle ketchup.

Chips: French fries

Price: £7 (without chips)

Thoughts: To quote Zombie movie classic Dawn of the Dead: “When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Well, burger hell must be already full because the Zombie Head Shot is the star attraction at this busy Brighton pub. It's a monster meal, stuffed with a dictionary-thick 8oz chuck steak patty, melted blue cheese and homemade salsa, while chipotle ketchup oozes from a 'bullet hole' in the bun. It's a great concept and our burger looked suitably ghoulish with green guacamole dripping down the side. The problem was it was so vast that the meaty tower quickly collapsed under its own weight and became a bit of a gore fest, spilling off the board and onto the table. Top marks for the fresh zingy salsa and the rich guacomole and we also liked the tangy kick from the blue cheese. But the patty was so thick that the outside was overcooked, and we expected more smoky oomph from the chipotle ketchup. Good, but not dead good.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.facebook.com/pages/Waggon-and-Horses/131695093565896

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May 17th

Patty & Bun, London

Address: 54 James St, London W1U 1EU

Burger of Choice: Ari Gold (with bacon)

Toppings: Cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, ketchup, smokey P&B mayo, bacon

Chips: Crispy, with rosemary salt

Price: £7.50 (without chips)

Thoughts: One of the city's most respected pop-ups settled down in this central London location earlier this year and it's rapidly become a staunch reader favourite. We can see why. Their trademark burger, the Ari Gold, was exceptional. Although it's a total mess to eat (arm yourself with plenty of napkins), the creation couldn't be more precise. Managing to balance sweet caramelised onions with smoky house sauce and a perfectly seasoned patty, every ingredient is given its moment to shine without anything being drowned out. A glazed brioche bun that is lightly toasted but remains springy helps matter greatly. A tremendous meal.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.pattyandbun.co.uk

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May 15th

The Harley, Sheffield

Address: The Harley, 334 Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2HW

Burger of Choice: ‘If It Ain’t Broke’ - the classic cheeseburger

Toppings: American cheese, lettuce and Harley house relish

Chips: Regular Joe Fries

Price: £5.90 (with fries)

Thoughts: The people responsible for the newly launched Twisted Burger Company are obviously burger obsessives. The menu boasts eight different burgers and that's before we've got to the toppings. You can pretty much live out all your burger fantasies with their huge menu that includes slow cooked onion rings, Monterey Jack, guacamole, chorizo, corn relish, baconaise... we could go on. In the end we went for the ‘If It Ain’t Broke’ classic American style cheeseburger. Inside a light brioche bun, the meat, a double beef patty is delicious, perfectly seasoned and succulent. It comes with fresh lettuce, cheese and a special salsa that all compliment without over-powering the taste. We will definitely be going back, again, and again.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

facebook.com/TwistedBurgerCompany

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May 13th

Old Red Cow, London

Address: 71-72 Long Ln Smithfield, London EC1A 9EJ

Burger of Choice: The Fat Cow

Toppings: Ogleshield cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato and a side relish

Chips: Thin chip shop chips

Price: £14.00 (with fries)

Thoughts: A charming boozer with an impressive selection of craft beers, the Old Red Cow is a great place to enjoy a burger. Their only burger on the menu is a decent dish although given the price tag, that's not really good enough. The patty was tender although lacking in seasoning, the cheese was sadly a bit tasteless and the relish was a tad too sweet. We'd also have preferred a warm bun. Overall, it's a solid option beside one of their varied beers but sadly, little more than that. Good chips though!

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

theoldredcow.com

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May 10th

Blackbird, Edinburgh

Address: 37-39 Leven Street, Edinburgh EH3 9LH

Burger of Choice: 8oz Scottish beef burger

Toppings: Smoked bacon, Scottish cheddar, tomato and chilli relish and salad

Chips: Home-cut chips

Price: £9.95 (with chips)

Thoughts: This is a nice looking burger. No, it's better than that. It's classy, refined, almost elegant - it's the sort of burger you'd take home to meet your parents. There's just one problem with that: a burger isn't meant to be something your mum approves of. It's meant to be a sticky, squidgy, messy pleasure. Sure, it's a lovely piece of meat, dense and chunky, with a tasty charred exterior but there isn't a hint of pink in the middle, which makes it a tad dry. Cheese is strong and moreish, but there's not enough of it, and the tomato and chilli relish doesn't have any real fire. The rolled oat bun is good quality and the salad is fresh, while smoked bacon is a juicy addition, and the chips are fantastic, but juices don't ooze down your chin when you take a bite, and fingers remain disappointingly detritus-free. It's a good burger, but it's missing that one vital requisite of a great burger - the guilt factor.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

theblackbirdedinburgh.co.uk

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May 8th

Burger & Shake, London

Address: 47 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AP

Burger of Choice: House Burger

Toppings: 180g pure beef patty, lettuce, tomato, pickle, American cheese, sweet cured bacon with horseradish and mustard ketchup

Chips: Fries (extra £1.95)

Price: £8.50

Thoughts: This was an odd one, to be honest. The beef they use is stunning. Five stars without a shadow of a doubt. And the first bite of the house burger was mind-blowing. The second was excellent. The third was good. The fourth was okay, and from then on it all got, well, less impressive. The horse radish went from being a total revelation to being a real tough customer, incredibly quickly. Just that one ingredient. Had we ordered the cheeseburger (which we definitely will when we go back - it's right by our office) this could have been a five-star bite. Very nice. Perhaps just a little too creative. (Pro tip: The salted caramel milkshake is God-like)

Star rating: ★★★★✰

burgerandshake.co.uk

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May 3rd

The Dog Bowl, Manchester

Address: 57 Whitworth St, Manchester M1 5WW

Burger of choice: DB Burger

Toppings: Cheese, onion rings and BBQ Sauce

Chips: Medium fries

Price: £15 (with fries)

Thoughts: After a work-out on the bowing alley, grab a booth and have a stab at the DB Burger – so mega and wobbly it has to be skewered to a board with a kitchen knife. The shoulder for the pulled pork, sourced from Pugh’s Piglets, has spent 16 hours smoking over hickory, the Cheshire beef brisket maybe longer, while the (slightly overcooked) beef patty jostles with melted cheese and smoked bacon. Chef Barry ratchets up the smoke factor with chipotle in his secret sauce and tops this cholesterol-packed skittle by tossing on an edible hoopla of crisp onion rings. After this overload you’ll definitely be glad of a Wisconsin Point IPA (£4) or, if you need a steady hand for your bowling, non-alcoholic Goose Island Root Beer (£3)

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

blackdogballroom.co.uk/dogbowl/

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May 1st

Meat Mission, London

Address: 14-15 Hoxton Market, London N1 6HG

Burger of Choice: Dead Hippie Burger

Toppings: Dead Hippie sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions

Chips: Fried pickles

Price: £7.50 (without chips)

Thoughts: As the East London offshoot of the famed MEATliquor, we were expecting a masterclass in how to make a tasty burger. But, things didn't quite go to plan. While it was far from a disaster, it didn't quite provide the fireworks we were hoping for. Despite containing two "mustard-fried patties", there was an underwhelming lack of savoury flavour in the meat. The burger was also dripping flavourless water, leading to the bun becoming soggy and cold: not ideal. But things weren't all lost. Their dead hippie sauce was still tasty and the fried pickles made for a refreshing change. But, we expected more.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.meatmission.com

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April 29th

The Globe, Brighton

Address: 77-78 Middle St, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1AL

Burger of Choice: The Juicy Lucy

Toppings: Lettuce, tomato and blue cheese

Chips: French fries

Price: £8 (with chips)

Thoughts: Lucy sounds like the kind of girl your parents warn you about. A huge beef patty moulded round a hunk of blue cheese, which oozes tangy curd goodness when you get stuck in. She promised so much, but Juicy Lucy wasn't quite as naughty as she made out. The burger was decent enough – thick with a nice chunky texture, if a little bland – and good marks for the slightly sweet soft bun. But there just wasn't a big enough blast of blue cheese and the lettuce, tomato and mayo were didn't add anything. Not bad, but could be a whole lot dirtier.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.drinkinbrighton.co.uk/globe

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April 26th

Duke's Brew & Que, London

Address: 33 Downham Road, De Beauvoir, Hackney, N1 5AA

Burger of choice: The Californian

Toppings: Monterey jack cheese, jalapenos, guacamole and bacon

Chips: Fries

Price: £12.95

Thoughts: "Try the beef ribs! Try the beef ribs!" It's all we heard when we told our Hackney-based pals about our impending visit to Duke's. It's as if they weren't listening when we told them we're on the search for the UK's best BURGER. Duke's is indeed famous for its ribs and they sell out most nights. However, why they're not famous for their burger is beyond us. The burger's better than the ribs. It's a great, big beefy wonderpunch to the head. "I worry that most burgers don't have the right ratio of fat to meat" said the incredibly lovely chef. "I worked on that for weeks. Then I started using brisket in mine which basically doubled the flavour overnight." If worrying about beef ratio is his business then worrying about toppings ratio is ours'. So often a burger comes heavily-laden with excessive dollops of extras, but at Duke's they have it nailed. The guacamole doesn't sodden the bread. The jalapenos don't overpower the beef. It's perfect matrimony. Hat tip to the restaurant in general for the wonderful atmosphere, cheery staff and perfect beer, brewed in-house. But all five of these stars are earned by the burger. Bravo.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.dukesbrewandque.com

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April 24th

Roseleaf, Edinburgh

Address: 23/24 Sandport Place, Leith, Edinburgh. EH6 6EW

Burger of Choice: Royale with Cheese

Toppings: Beef tomato, lettuce, mature cheddar, tomato relish and a sweet pickled dill gherkin. Oh, and some Stornoway black pudding

Chips: thin-cut, twice-cooked chips

Price: £10.55 (with chips)

Thoughts: Chances are that Vincent Vega never had this particular 'Royale with Cheese' on his trip to Europe, otherwise that scene from Pulp Fiction would have taken a very different course. Forget moaning about chips drowned in mayo, our Vince would have been busy extolling the virtues of this minced pork belly and beef burger, which is topped off with a soft, fragrant slice of Stornoway black pudding and sandwiched between a home-made toasted sesame-seeded onion bun. And despite Jules' claim that he doesn't 'dig on swine', after listening to his buddy bang on about how the pork kept the patty moist and juicy, the black pudding added a heady, savoury tang and the chunk of pickle provided some welcome acidic crunch, he'd have been on the first flight over here to try one, all washed down with a tasty beverage. Big Kahuna who?

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.roseleaf.co.uk

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April 22nd

Beard To Tail, London

Address: 77 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BS

Burger of Choice: Charcoal burger

Toppings: Tomato, gherkins and lettuce

Chips: Double dipped fat daddy chips (their words, not ours)

Price: £11.00 (without chips)

Thoughts: Beard to Tail is one of the most meat-obsessed restaurants in London. The menu is a carnivore's dream, offering up everything from pigs trotters to faggots. So when it comes to the meat, their burger is spot-on. It's a juicy, well-seasoned patty that offers up a generous serving of beef. But sadly, its brilliance is somewhat stranded. Served with just plain salad ingredients and only a sweet relish on the side, it's an unimaginative and disappointing showcase for some high-class meat. Back to the drawing board guys.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.beardtotail.co.uk

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April 19th

The Burger Joint, Bristol

Address: 83 Whiteladies Road Bristol BS8 2NT

Burger of choice: Own creation

Toppings: Smoked streaky bacon, cheddar, roasted peppers.

Chips: Chunky, hand-cut

Price: Varies; above example £9.45, including two free sauces and one free side.

Thoughts: There’s a BYOB policy at The Burger Joint – build your own burger. According to a super smart friend of Shortlist (thanks Niall), the myriad combinations of patties, toppings, buns, and sauces mean that if you ate here for lunch and dinner every day it’d take 423 million years to exhaust the menu – an immortal T-Rex wouldn’t even have made it a quarter of the way through at that rate. But no matter which of the 300 billion or so options you go for, you’re almost certain to be satisfied. The flavours are deep and lasting, the ingredients clearly expensive (the meat comes from a posh butcher literally across the road) and the buns are toasted perfectly. The meat isn’t greasy and the burger will only be over-stacked if you make a mess of the order. We’d guess at least 10,000 potatoes have to die to cover the preposterous portion of perfect chips. Nothing is lacking here (the other sides are also faultless and the soft drinks unfathomable) but the burgers, whether beef, venison, wild boar or any of the other options, are the real stars. If you accept the limitations of the dish – a meat puck in an edible glove – it’s hard to imagine how they could improve. This is something approaching burger perfection.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.theburgerjoint.co.uk

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April 17th

Fornata, London

Address:15 Kingly St London, Greater London W1B 5PS

Burger of Choice: The Fornata Burger

Toppings: Pickles, tomato and cheese

Chips: Not included

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: While this wasn't a traditional choice of burger, the promise of a patty baked in pizza dough was too good to resist. Instead of turning into a calzone-esque dish, there was much more burger than dough. The pizza part itself was thin all over and encased the very thick patty. When cut into, the dish proved to be interesting but sadly as the meat was baked, a lot of the requisite burger flavour was not to be found. It was also over-cooked and poorly seasoned. An admirably ambitious failure.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

fornata.com

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April 15th

The Alchemist, Leeds

Address: First Floor, Trinity, Leeds

Burger of choice: Prime Aged House Beef Burger

Toppings: Bacon and Cheese

Chips: Skinny skin on

Price: £8.25 (fries £2.75 extra)

Thoughts: Choices choices choices. We’re always told we want them. We’re always told we need them. But you know what, sometimes you get the best results by just concentrating on doing a few things right. And so it is with The Alchemist’s burgers - a simple decision required – chicken or beef? In the spirit of this column we naturally selected beef and the rest was history. We just sat back admiring the rooftop view out of the window and waited for this juicy wonder to arrive. Simply topped with cheese and bacon, some crisp leaves and just the right amount of pickles, The Alchemist delivered a drool-inducing patty, perfectly cooked with char outside and nicely pink inside to satisfy the most ardent carnivore. Although perhaps lacking in quite enough flair to get top marks, very definitely a burger at the top end of 4 stars.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thealchemist.uk.com

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April 12th

The Cabin, London

Address: 148 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London, W4 1PR

Burger of Choice: The Wagyu Beef Burger

Toppings: Home-made tomato relish

Chips: Thin fries

Price: £14.90 (with fries)

Thoughts: When there’s a Wagyu burger on the menu, that’s easily the one we’ll choose. Their website makes a concerted effort to describe the diet of the cows, which includes beer, and their regular massages which help to improve the quality of the meat (something to do with fat marbling). While the meat did have a good texture, the burger in general was merely fine, nothing to write home about. The bun had a good thick consistency and was nicely grilled on the inside, adding an extra chargrilled taste. A low three stars.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

cabinrestaurants.co.uk

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April 10th

Bo'Vine, Glasgow

Burger of choice: Bo'Vine Burger

Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, onion ring

Chips: Triple cooked, chunky chips

Price: £16 (with chips)

Thoughts: Unashamedly upmarket, this delicious burger is afforded a rich, luxuriant texture thanks to plentiful foie gras in the garlic and rosemary seasoned patty, a distinctively smooth taste crushing into a fistful of juicy beef that you just want to cram into your face. Cooked to order and served in a mildly sweet, savoury brioche Kaiser bun, the onion ring is superfluous, but there's a cheeky peach and chilli chutney dip that's tremendous with the chips.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.bovinerestaurant.com

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April 8th

Old Bengal Bar, London

Address: 16A New St, London, Greater London EC2M 4TR

Burger of Choice: The Bengal

Toppings: Dopiaza onions, raita & tamarind chutney

Chips: Triple cooked, chunky chips

Price: £14 (with chips)

Thoughts: There are two kinds of brilliant burger on earth. American-style and gourmet. If you don't know the difference have a look at Giant Robot's burger on this very page. That's a wonderful American burger. This, this New Street Grill burger right here, is a wonderful gourmet burger. If you want exploding grease and cheese with salty fries and onion rings, move along. If you want a superb meat patty with meticulous seasoning, and small pots of well thought out extras, it's ideal.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

NewStreetGrill.co.uk

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April 5th

The Kings Arms, Bristol

Address: 168 Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2XZ

Burger of choice: El Diablo

Toppings: Homemade chorizo, home-smoked cheese, onion rings and salsa

Chips: Skinny fries

Price: £10.95 (available as part of 2-4-1 burger offer, Tuesday-Friday, noon-5pm)

Thoughts: El Diablo is one of those burgers that has other diners whispering to their partners: “Cor, did you see the size of that?” Standing at a mighty five or six inches tall, depending on your perspective, it’s hard to not notice the waitress bringing it out of the kitchen like a clown balancing a broom on the end of their finger. The height primarily comes from three giant onion rings (two too many) that act as a kind of well for flavoursome homemade chorizo and salsa. The tasty inch-thick patty is made in-house too, but there’s a diabolical amount going on with this offering – bits sliding off the side, an overload of ingredients in every awkward bite – making it a little unruly. Napkins galore required.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.kingsarmsbristol.com

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April 3rd

The Ship, London

Address: 41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London. SW18 1TB

Burger of Choice: Chargrilled beef burger with cheese

Toppings: Pickled cucumber, cheese and lettuce with mustard and ketchup sauce

Chips: Skinny fries

Price: £12.00 (with fries)

Thoughts: It would be rude of us not to go into detail about the sheer brilliance of The Ship’s burger, not just because it’s one of the best we’ve eaten so far but because they clearly spend a lot of time and effort perfecting their formula. Encased in a brioche bun, the meat, from local producers, is 20% fat and 80% meat, and is bought ready minced, which they make into the patties themselves. In terms of toppings, there’s a delicious mix of lettuce leaves and a special part ketchup and part mustard sauce. There are also gherkins but you won’t find any tomatoes in the winter as The Ship leaves them out as they don’t taste so good in the colder months. As if that attention to detail wasn’t enough, what really impressed us was the cheese. They even make it themselves. While the chef wasn’t keen to divulge precisely how they make it, he did say that the cheese was made with extra cream to ensure when it melts on the burger, it does so perfectly. This was all topped off by the fact that everything had been seasoned to perfection. Clearly these guys know what they’re doing. We’ll definitely be going back again.

Star rating: ★★★★★

theship.co.uk

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March 27th

The Parlour, Manchester

Address: 60 Beech Road, Chorlton M21 9EG

Burger of choice: Handmade Beef Burger

Toppings: Cheese, caper and gherkin mayo

Chips: Proper fat chips

Price: £10.75 (with chips)

Thoughts: The Parlour has won a national award for Best Sunday Roast and its few-frills burger similarly benefits from immaculately sourced beef from acclaimed butcher Frost’s of Chorlton. Hand-cut and cooked quite rare with thyme, rosemary, onion and garlic, the juicy filling gets added wow factor from lashings of the sharp caper and gherkin mayo. A slice of bacon is extra at £1. The seeded bun is a springy cushion that barely contains the ample cheese ooze. Surprising stars of the show were the ultra crisp beer batter onion rings. Match it with a beetroot stout or Seville orange flavoured IPA from Red Willow’s Faithless range (£3.50 a pint).

Star rating: ★★★★✰

theparlour.info

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March 25th

Sam's Brasserie, London

Address: 11 Barley Mow Passage Chiswick, London W4 4PH

Burger of Choice: Sam’s Cheeseburger

Toppings: House relish, beef tomato, cheese

Chips: Skinny, salted

Price: £11.00 (with fries)

Thoughts: While not a show-stopper, the cheeseburger on Sam’s bar menu is good, solid and tasty enough to fill a hole while you sip a quick pint. The lightly toasted sesame seed bun is filled with a meaty patty, fresh salad leaves, beef tomato and melted cheese. The homemade relish is lightly spicy and sweet, giving this otherwise fairly tame burger a dash of interest. The skinny fries are salted to perfection and the surprise knock out from the dish is the impossibly fresh and crunchy gherkin - giving a new found respect to a previously much feared vegetable. Sam’s Cheeseburger does exactly what it's supposed to do but sadly not a lot more.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.samsbrasserie.co.uk

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March 22nd

The Lansdowne, Glasgow

Address: 7 Lansdowne Crescent Glasgow G20 6NQ

Burger of choice: Beef Burger

Toppings: Mozzarella, rocket, tomato and caramelised red onion

Chips: Crisp wedges

Price: £8.50 (with wedges)

Thoughts: Served in a lightly toasted, mixed seed white bun with a little flag, the Lansdowne’s burger is otherwise pretty nondescript, the toppings nice enough but with nothing to excite the imagination. The beef patty itself is more appealing though, lightly seasoned with coriander, Cajun spice and garlic, attractively pink, with juice sluicing all over the wooden serving board after each bite. Best of all are the accompanying potato wedges, fat, golden and crispy but wonderfully fluffy inside. A choice of additional toppings would be appreciated.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.lansdownebar.co.uk

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March 20th

The Diner, London

Address:21 Essex Road, Islington, N1 2SA

Burger of choice: The Diablo

Toppings: 8oz USDA burger made from rib, sirloin, filet & chuck topped with bacon, jalapeno mayo & US cheese

Chips: Diner Fries (Cajun spiced - £3.10)

Price: £8.80 (not including fries)

Thoughts: Order rare if you dare, mainly because you can. Their nearest competition, Byron burger (just around the corner), refuse to serve their burgers this way. The meat is delicious, the jalapeno offers just the right amount of heat, the cheese isn't lost in all the flavours and it's exactly the right level of messy. On a trip to New York the owners of The Diner taste tested all the famous burgers out there: Minetta, Spotted Pig, Five Napkin, Corner Bistro. Based on that they decided to try and get USDA chuck into London, and were able to source and blend that chuck flap with Fillet, Rib and Sirloin from Scotland to form the Diablo which was originally launched for their Halloween menu. Apparently feedback was incredible so they made it the house special. On top of that cajun fries are a delight and the hardshakes are gorgeous (though pricey). The only quibble is that it gets incredibly busy at weekends, with people standing around waiting for a table. Which can give the place an 'eat and get out' sort of a feel. Although that doesn't come from the staff.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.goodlifediner.com

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March 18th

The Pour House, Leeds

Address: Canal Wharf, Water Lane, Leeds, LS11 5PS

Burger of Choice: Pour House Burger

Toppings: bacon, mac & cheese, Monterey Jack, onion rings

Chips: Skin-on

Price: £15.95 (with chips)

Thoughts: “£15-95 for a burger?” we hear you cry. But if you knew that after gorging on this monster you wouldn’t have to eat again for about two weeks that would suddenly make a lot more financial sense. Packing in over a pound of local beef patty, this burger has already made a statement of intent before you even unearth the onion rings and bacon in there. Tell you what, let’s throw in some mac & cheese as well to really make it a burgerish behemoth. As an added bonus the accompanying chips are no afterthought – lovingly tended in pristine oil to give the perfectly seasoned and crisp side dish. The only down side is by the time you’ve managed to plough through all of this filling, the bread bap has got a bit soggy from all the juices soaking into it. But our guess is by that point you’ll already be struggling for breath and reaching for the fat pants.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

thepourhouseleeds.co.uk

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March 15th

The Rookery, London

Address: 69 Clapham Common South Side, London, SW4 9DA

Burger of Choice: The Rookery Cheeseburger

Toppings: Homemade Pickles, Onion

Chips: Fries

Price: £12.50 (includes fries)

Thoughts: This was as close as you can get to an archetypal "solid triumph". The Rookery's effort doesn't try to be anything that it's not: it's a straight down-the-line, simple and effective burger with tasty homemade pickle and onions giving it a nice friendly zing. The patty was cooked to absolute perfection and it was just the right size - not too big, not too small. Accompanied by perfectly-cooked thin cut fries which were, again, the perfect portion. Don't expect a gastronomic journey from this burger: just a simple, elegant affair, perfectly executed. And that's no bad thing at all.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.therookeryclapham.co.uk

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March 13th

Jack Spratt, Manchester

Address: 11 St James’s Square, John Dalton Street, Manchester M3 6WH

Burger of choice: Jack Spratt’s Primo Burger

Toppings: Caramelised onion and bacon jam, Maker’s Mark BBQ sauce, pulled pork, smoked Applewood Cheese and an onion ring.

Chips: Twice-cooked fries

Price: £15.95 (with fries)

Thoughts: The Primo is a mega burger that defies you to finish it – a stack of 6oz chunks of coarsely ground beef chuck, flat iron and short rib beef served medium rare and a mite under-seasoned. A springy glazed brioche bun struggles to contain the substantial filling dominated by a the smoked cheese slices and the caramelised onion. There’s crisp coleslaw and salad in abundance and some terrific dark, salty fries. To accompany you need a cocktail that’s equally mega. Try RU Bobby Moore?!? which combines (or should that be collides) vodka, whisky, sauvignon blanc and apple juice.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.jack-spratt.co.uk

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March 11th

Dirty Burger, London

Address: Rear, 79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL

Burger of choice: Cheeseburger

Toppings: Cheddar cheese, mustard mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles.

Chips: Onion fries

Price: £5.50 (without fries)

Thoughts: Unassuming doesn't even begin to describe Dirty Burger. In an artfully distressed shack in Kentish Town, the choice of just one burger, at a suspiciously cheap price, had us expecting very little. But, unlike some of the ritzier, and pricier, places on the list, this place truly delivered. And then some. The burger is modelled after a classic American cheeseburger but it replaces processed cheese with Cheddar and ketchup with mustard mayo, therefore becoming something a bit more special. Oh and then there's the patty, cooked with a mustard mayo crust. Genius. Probably the best value burger on the list.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.eatdirtyburger.com

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March 8th

A Nation Of Shopkeepers, Leeds

Address: Nation of Shopkeepers, 27-33 Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 3AG

Burger of Choice: Avocado, blue cheese and bacon

Toppings: Red onion, tomato and lettuce

Chips: Double cooked

Price: £8.95 (including chips)

Thoughts: It might sound like something you’d throw together using the remnants in your fridge at the end of the week but this combination is delicious. The chargrilled patty in glazed bun would be great on its own but the tangy cheese, creamy avocado and crispy bacon all combine perfectly for a deep, rich taste sensation. And if that’s still not enough for you, try adding one of the specialist Tabasco table sauces – who knew there were so many varieties available? All this for less than 9 quid too.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.anationofshopkeepers.com

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March 6th

Beach Blanket Babylon, London

Address: 19-23 Bethnal Green Rd, London, E1 6LA

Burger of choice: BBB burger

Toppings: Grilled Portobello mushroom, cheese and bacon

Chips: Fries

Price: £15.50 (with fries)

Thoughts: Like a good marriage or even a good murder, a good burger needs to have every element working perfectly in unison for success. Which brings us to the BBB burger. Instead of offering up an expertly balanced bite, it all felt a bit unrehearsed. The bun was too big and had a bland, 'your mate's BBQ' taste to it while the patty alternated between tasteless and overly seasoned with rosemary. The cheese was nice and strong which helped matters but overall, it was a burger that was lacking in anything above and beyond. Given the price, that's a large problem.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

www.beachblanket.co.uk/shoreditch

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March 4th

The Tempus, Edinburgh

Address: 19-21 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PB

Burger of choice: Crombie beef burger

Toppings: Mature cheddar, cured bacon, pickle, tomato and a sprinkling of salad

Chips: A neat stack of 'real' chips

Price: £13.95 (inc chips)

Thoughts: In the trendy bars along Edinburgh's swanky George Street, the 'gourmet' burger is now a ubiquitous fixture on menus, each dressed up in an increasingly ludicrous fashion in order to differentiate itself from the competition. The burger at the George however, prefers to go about its business in a more understated manner. A sesame seed bun in, whisper it - wholemeal - adds an unexpected touch of variety, familiar enough to be comforting, yet distinct enough to distinguish it from the run-of-the-mill. An 8oz beef patty, supplied by noted local butchers Crombies, is admirably chunky and comes topped with Scottish cheddar, sweet maple-smoked bacon and a hint of greenery. The lightly-cooked tomato slice is a neat touch, straddling the line between inappropriately raw and fried-breakfast-mushiness. But while it's a nice burger, it's not a knockout - requiring a side, a sauce, a something - to raise it towards greatness. It is, quite simply, the Everton of the burger world; managing to keep itself ahead of its flashier, louder neighbours through a combination of simplicity, endeavour and the right mix of good quality components, but lacking that one true superstar ingredient capable of inspiring it to title glory.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.tempus-edinburgh.co.uk

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March 1st

Belushi's, London

Address: 28 Hammersmith Broadway, Hammersmith, London, W6 7AB

Burger of choice: The Belushi Burger

Toppings: Bacon and cheddar

Chips: Thick cut

Price: £8.45 (with chips)

Thoughts: After debating whether or not to go for the BBQ special, it was finally decided that the house burger would be the best option (after trying a bit of the BBQ one it was definitely the best choice as that one had far too much sauce which dominated the rest of the burger). The patty is made from Scottish beef and the bun was made on site, which was ciabatta-esque. The toppings were fine although there was nothing particularly notable about them. They worked well with the burger but the lack of seasoning prevented it from being truly memorable.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Belushis.com

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February 27th

The 23 Club, Liverpool

Address: 23 Hope St, L1 9BQ

Burger of choice: 12oz Ranch burger

Toppings: Brioche bun, mayonnaise, grilled bacon, beer battered onion rings, Monterey Jack cheese, barbecue sauce

Chips: Hand-cut chips

Price: £12.50

Thoughts: Save for Chuck Norris wearing the chef’s hat, the double 12oz Ranch Burgers at this basement whisky bar couldn’t be more American if they tried. That’s because it’s all about size: rich toppings, all densely packed onto the top of some melted Monterey Jack cheese, feel almost as heavy as the lofty slab of beef itself, presenting the danger of beer-battered onion rings plummeting back onto the plate before you’ve even sank an incisor into that tender 100 per cent beef showstopper. Moreover, once you finish the meat – which is terrific – there should be enough of the nicely grease-glistened bun, coated inside with a barbecue sauce of pupil-dilating proportions, left to mop up any remaining leftovers. If you make it to the finish line, that is.

Stars: ★★★★★

The23club.com

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February 25th

Christopher's Grill, London

Address: 18 Wellington St, London WC2E 7DD

Burger of Choice: Christopher’s 8oz Classic Hamburger

Toppings: Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise

Chips: Shoestring fries

Price: £10.95 (bacon is £1.50 extra and cheese is £1.25)

Thoughts: When you're relying on the basics of a bacon cheeseburger, you need to add something a bit different to ensure your burger doesn't get lost in the mix. So at Christopher's Grill, they've swapped a traditional Cheddar or "American" processed cheese for Monterey Jack which makes for an interesting change. However it's not enough variation to distract from a disappointing patty which is desperately lacking in seasoning. A healthy portion of tasty bacon helps matters though.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.christophersgrill.com

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February 22nd

Gorilla, Manchester

Address: 54-56 Whitworth Street, Manchester M1 5WW

Burger of choice: Herbed Lamb Burger

Toppings: Aioli, red onion chutney, butterhead lettuce

Chips: Seasoned fries

Price: £11.00 (with fries)

Thoughts: Folksy serving on a wooden board with your seasoned fries tumbling out of a white enamel mug in this converted Victorian railway arch. They bake their bread in-house, so the sesame brioche bun is springily top notch. The filling is 100% Cheshire lamb, loin and shoulder minced friskily with rosemary, garlic and substantial salt and pepper. Further garlicky kick from the aioli. Trade up to the parmesan and truffle oil deluxe fries for an extra quid to encourage a thirst for a bottle of Thornbridge Jaipur (£4.50) or house Carmenere (£4.25) served in picnic tumblers (what else?). Afterwards there’s a gin parlour under the rafters.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thisisgorilla.com

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February 20th

Bleecker St Burger, London

Address: On the move, check the site for details

Burger of choice: Cheeseburger

Toppings: American cheese, lettuce and their own sauce

Chips: Hand-cut, skin-on, thin chips £2.50. Angry Fries, topped with blue cheese sauce and buffalo sauce, are £3

Price: £4.50

Thoughts: Set up by an American former lawyer who worked in a burger joint in the Lower East Side of New York before recently relocating to London, Bleecker St Burger keeps things simple with a short, authentic NY-style menu served from its stylish, black, mobile van. The burgers are small, perfectly formed and well-priced. So perfect, in fact, it left us regretting not going for the double cheeseburger. The simple nature of the burger is what makes it a winner – the medium rare patties are soft and perfectly grilled, juicy and full of flavour, the cheese melted to just the right consistency and the sauce has a sweet edge that made us consume the burger in six bites.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.bleeckerburger.co.uk

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February 18th

Oracle, Leeds

Address: 3 Brewery Place, Leeds, LS10 1NE

Burger of Choice: The Greek

Toppings: Tsatziki

Chips: Fat Chips

Price: £9.45 (with chips)

Thoughts: That’s right – we went a bit leftfield and ordered ‘The Greek’ – not a half-witted East London gangster but a lamb burger. Great idea but not quite right on this occasion – the lamb patty was tasty but a bit dry and the pitta looked like a bit of an afterthought (it probably was – we think we saw it being panic-shipped over from Sainsbury’s local during our drinks – that’s local produce for you). After playing hunt the tsatziki for a while and bemoaning the lack of feta (you’d have to upgrade to The Feta Club for that) we did at least take solace in the fact that we seemed to receive an accidental portion of onion rings on our plate – result! But the chips deserve special mention, fluffy potato obelisks perfectly cooked.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.oraclebar.com

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February 15th

Kua 'Aina, London

Address: 26 Fouberts Place, London, W1F 7PP

Burger of Choice: Avocado burger

Toppings: Sliced avocado, onion, tomato and lettuce (bacon & swiss cheese as extras)

Chips: Sweet potato fries

Price: £12.70 (with chips)

Thoughts: Adding a unique Hawaiian flavour to the London burger scene, Kua 'Aina does its best to transport you to a brighter food destination. The burger had a good patty- thick, juicy and meaty, and although it was a bit overdone, it was all the better for it; a firm structure, slightly charred on the outside and tender on the inside. The toppings of avocado, bacon and swiss cheese certainly added a smokey flavour, but were messy to deal with. The star of the show was perhaps the sweet potato fries which were deliciously crunchy and sweet. Fact fans: the original Hawaii branch is a favourite with Obama. For reals.

Star Rating: ★★★★✰

www.kua-aina.co.uk

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February 13th

Slouch Bar, Glasgow

Burger of choice: The Greedy B

Toppings: Mozzarella & cheddar cheese, two slices of bacon, spicy onion rings. And another burger

Chips: Thick, skin-on chips

Price: £11.95 (with chips)

Thoughts: Dispensing with the notion of a burger you can eat comfortably without dislocating your jaw, this skyscraper of red meat slathers two thick patties with mozzarella, cheddar and crispy bacon, topping the lot with a couple of onion rings. The burgers are ever so slightly over-cooked, which combined with the bland white, toasted bun could make for a nondescript meal, were it not for the sheer mass of toppings loaded between the baps. Satisfyingly chunky, salty chips are served with a lovely peppercorn sauce.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

http://slouch-bar.co.uk/

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February 11th

Bar Boulud, London

Address: 66 Knightsbridge London, Belgravia, UK SW1X 7

Burger of choice: The Frenchie

Toppings: Confit pork belly, rocket, Dijon tomato compote and morbier cheese

Chips: Pomme frites

Price: £12.75 (without chips)

Thoughts: When you're told by the senior maitre d' that the restaurant you're eating in started the burger revolution, hopes start to reach stratospheric levels. The burger that arrived certainly had a lot of thought put into it. Perfectly sized and served with a portion of crispy yet soft pomme frites, it's clearly the result of years of experience. It also tastes pretty good, with a strong mustard and tomato compote adding something unusual to the typical ingredients. But the thinly sliced confit pork belly could have been bacon while the meat was served much rarer than requested. A pleasing burger but nothing revolution-worthy.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.barboulud.com

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February 8th

Southern 11, Manchester

Address: 3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3EB

Burger of choice: 100% Rump Beef Burger

Toppings: Gherkins, tomato, onion, BBQ mayo, ketchup and slaw

Chips: Skinny fries

Price: £9.95 (with fries)

Thoughts: From the Alabama Shakes soundtrack to the hickory wood smokers and cornbread this financial district eaterie yells America’s Deep South, but the coarsely minced beef is outdoor, grass-reared local rump. Shame that, clumsily spiced, it arrives in a slightly too sweet seeded bun but the mega gherkin slices and crisp slaw give it a tasty pickle rush. Accompany with tempura-style courgette fries (£3.50) and a Kentucky Kiss cocktail, a Mint Julep big on Jim Beam Red Stag bourbon, for just £7.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.southern11.co.uk

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February 6th

Haché, London

Address: 24 Inverness Street, London, NW1 7HJ

Burger of Choice: Steak Sicillian

Toppings: Parma Ham and melted Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese

Chips: Skin on chips

Price: £10.95 (without chips)

Thoughts: If you live in Camden, or Chelsea, or Clapham you are a lucky little sausage, because you live near a Haché. If we lived near this one, we went to Camden Town branch, we'd eat there once a week without fail. But that said, the burger itself is not stunning. It's not worth travelling for. It's the Seb Larsson of burgers. Good, but the manager's in the market for excellent. We should say that the entire trip was delightful. The finest team of waitresses and waiters we've come across for months, great starters (hot and spicy wings - £4.95) and a superb atmosphere. But this blog isn't about atmosphere. It's about meat between bread and toppings. Sadly the toppings on our burgers dominated the beef. Made the the beef their bitch. And we want our beef to be the boss. If you concur with this school of Burgerology, avoid the Mexican burger and plum for the Sicillian. Or something else where the toppings look like they're willing to play second fiddle to the patty. Bad ordering? Maybe. But on any burger we want to be able to taste the beef.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

hacheburgers.com

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February 4th

The Grill on the Square, Leeds

Address: 31-33 East Parade, Leeds, LS1 5PS

Burger of Choice: 100% Wagyu Burger

Toppings: Mushroom and Onion

Chips: home-cut skins on

Price: £18.50 (includes chips & relish)

Thoughts: It’s fair to say that if we were constantly fed beer and got regular massages we would be more agreeable. And it’s no different for the pampered cattle from which the Wagyu burger is derived – their life of luxury on their Texas farm comes through in the taste of this burger patty. Quite unlike any other burger you will have tasted, the specific rearing and breeding of Wagyu cattle makes their meat incredibly flavoursome and different in texture to our bog standard stock. Incredibly dense and visually appearing almost like liver, this burger oozes deep flavours, slightly reminiscent of venison or even game. It’s unusual nature and steep price tag may not be to everyone’s taste but for any burger connoisseur it’s a must try.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.blackhouse.uk.com/restaurant/leeds

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February 1st

The Dime Bar and Diner, London

Address: 50-52 Battersea Rise SW11 1EG

Burger of Choice: ‘The Juicy Lucy’

Toppings: Lettuce, beef tomato, stuffed with cheese

Chips: Shoe string

Price: £12 (with chips)

Thoughts: America: bigger, better, juicier and home of the burger. With no less than 300g of the finest Aberdeen Angus steak mince patty, Juicy Lucy has got a secret. Take a bite and out pops molten mature cheddar cheese. The meat itself is taller than the seeded bun it comes in, and layered with lettuce, jalapenos and tomato, it takes some handling. Elvis would approve. This wodge of perfectly cooked and seasoned ground beef, served alongside salt and pepper fries in their own miniature fryer, merges with the molten cheese and tears strips off the neon slice of plastic cheese flung atop too many burgers. This time, the gimmick works. A little slice of Americana in Clapham, this retro diner offers the definitive in transatlantic burgers.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thedimebar.co.uk

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January 30th

Loungers, Cardiff

Address: Juno Lounge, 14 Wellfield Road, Cardiff, CF24 3PB

Burger of choice: Hero hamburger

Toppings: Melted mature cheddar, chorizo, chimichurri, fried onion, chipotle mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and two pickles

Chips: A bucket of skinny fries

Price: £8.95, 75p for extra toppings

Thoughts: Calling your burger the "Hero hamburger" is a bold claim but this suitably heroic offering is worthy of such a title. The different components of the burger all work brilliantly together: all placed on top of a tender beef patty smothered in cheddar. The combination of chipotle mayonnaise and fried onions really make it: giving the burger a unique taste. The plain, floured bun lets the toppings do the talking and, boy, did you want to listen.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thelounges.co.uk

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January 28th

Pratts & Payne, London

Address: 103 Streatham High Street SW16 1HJ

Burger of Choice: The Barcelona Burger

Toppings: Manchego cheese, chorizo, tomato and mayonnaise

Chips: Thick, dry chips

Price: £11.00 (including chips)

Thoughts: Taking the form of a traditional burger yet replacing cheddar with Manchego and bacon with chorizo, hopes were high for the appropriately titled Barcelona burger. But alas, things were just a bit average. The bun itself was nothing more than something you'd have at a barbecue (no brioche luxury here) while the patty itself was rather pedestrian. While the Manchego cheese adds a slightly different flavour, the thinly sliced chorizo sadly becomes lost in the mix. All in all, it was perfectly okay but far from perfect.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.prattsandpayne.com

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January 25th

Gusto, Newcastle

Address: 106 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DX

Burger of Choice: Italian Burger in a focaccia bun

Toppings: Mozzarella and pesto

Chips: Fries

Price: £11.50

Thoughts: Don't be despondent by the lack of a 'burger' section on this menu. Yes, there is only one burger -aloof in the 'meat' section (kind of makes sense actually) - but stumbling across it is like finding a tenner in the pocket of your washed jeans, intact. We were asked how we wanted it cooked and the quality of the meat and its tenderness was unreal. What we liked about this meaty treat was its simplicity - not dressed up trying to be something it wasn't - and it delivered some unbelievable flavours which gave us brief joy and happiness. The herb focaccia bun complemented the ground steak and fresh pesto, and the creamy mozzarella just finished it off.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

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January 23rd

The Drift, London

Address: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY

Burger of Choice: Double Cheeseburger

Toppings: Guacamole, Pineapple, Beetroot, Mustard Mayo, Pickled Coleslaw

Chips: Cowboy Fries (with Chilli, Honey & Garlic)

Price: £18.20 (includes Chips)

Thoughts: Nothing less than a literal towering triumph, this creation is not for the fainthearted. It's a big beast of a burger in sheer size, so meat fatigue was an issue halfway through - however, teaming it with the brutal firecracker-hot Cowboy fries provides the perfect pick-me-up to take you to the finish line. The burger itself is certainly not just about volume, however: the unexpected pairing of pineapple and beetroot is an absolute masterstroke, accompanying the perfectly-cooked patties and giving a zesty tang to proceedings. Come prepared for the fight and you won't be disappointed; you may need to be carried home afterwards but you'll be smiling all the way.

Star rating: ★★★★★

thedriftbar.co.uk

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January 21st

Almost Famous, Manchester

Address: High Street, Manchester M4 1HP

Burger of choice: Smoky & The Bandit Burger

Toppings: JD candied bacon, cheese, bbq fried onions, baconnaise, chipotle sauce, chillis

Chips: Fries, trailer trash fries or bacon bacon fries

Price: £7.00, plus from £2 for fries

Thoughts: Unless you are the kind of trucker who gets off on their DD Burger with Slut Sauce (“like being roasted in a lay-by by Pam Anderson and Ron McDonald”) go for the Smoky. The chillies and chipotle sauce give it some kick, but you don’t need an asbestos gullet. Indeed the onions and candied bacon dominate the aftertaste. The bun was a lovely chew, too, in an establishment that maintains the mystique of a “secret” upstairs burger and wings pop-up but is now crazily over-subscribed.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.almostfamousburgers.com

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January 18th

Byron, London

Burger of choice: Byron burger

Toppings: Dry cure bacon, mature Cheddar and Byron sauce

Chips: Courgette fries

Price: £9.25 (without chips)

Thoughts: You know what you're getting with a Byron burger and this isn't meant to be a criticism. The patty is always perfectly cooked, the toppings are evenly distributed and compliment each other well and the overall feeling is one of satisfaction not fear of your stomach bursting. It's one of the few chains that constantly deliver a high quality product and the burgers never run the risk of feeling like a processed conveyor belt product. Oh and the courgette fries make for a pleasantly unexpected addition.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.byronhamburgers.com

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January 16th

Rose Villa Tavern, Birmingham

Burger of choice: RVT Burger

Toppings: Roasted onions and Swiss cheese, along with Bacon Jam

Chips: French Fries

Price: £8.95 (including chips) + £1.20 extra for Bacon Jam

Thoughts: The Rose Villa Tavern is renowned for its excellent burgers, so hopes were high. We opted for the RVT Burger, their "famous" option. Served in an artisan brioche bun, the appetising beef patty was topped with roasted onions, Swiss cheese and their special ‘Bacon Jam’ as an added extra, along with the usual lettuce, relish, and pickles. The salty bacon ham was perfectly complimented by the sweet roasted onions while the patty was tasty, juicy and built with quality meat. There was only one slight downside – the bun. It was a tad heavy and dry and it was in danger of taking the juiciness of the ‘insides’.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.therosevillatavern.co.uk

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January 14th

The Waterway, London

Address: Blomfield street, Maida Vale,

Burger of choice: The Waterway burger

Toppings: Mustard mayo

Chips: Thin chips

Price: £11.95 (with chips)

Thoughts: If we've learnt anything about eating mountains of burgers is that it’s all about balance. Burgers don’t always need to have lashings of fillings rammed inside them to be great. However, this is where the Waterway falls down. The meat was excellent, it was made from pure steak and it was really smooth with no gristle (pretty much a perfect patty), however, the lack of lettuce, tomato or onion meant that the bun got a tad soggy. Essentially, it was missing a 'burger buffer'. Otherwise, the meat will ooze its juices onto the bread creating a sort of gooey mess, but not in a good way. In the end it had to be eaten with a knife and fork.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.thewaterway.co.uk

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January 11th

Red's True Barbecue, Leeds

Address: Unit 1 Cloth Hall Street, Leeds, UK LS1 2HD

Burger of Choice: Pit Burger

Toppings: Sliced brisket, pulled pork, streaky bacon, melted Jack, dill pickle, "dirty" sauce, mustard, barbecue sauce and oh, an onion ring for good measure

Chips: Skinny, unseasoned for dipping in the 5 homemade sauces

Price: £15.95

Thoughts: Now don’t let the toppings fool you into thinking that this is some kind of Man vs Food vulgar meatathon. Sure it’s pretty substantial, but each carefully selected goody in this burger perfectly complements the homemade steak patty – the brisket and pork for a bit of extra juiciness, the dill and mustard for a bit of zing and the bacon for crispiness. The meats are definitely centre stage here, carefully sourced, lovingly glazed, rubbed and then slow barbecued in custom built wood fuelled ovens. For god sake, they even import their hickory to get the perfect taste to their bacon! And the treats keep coming - the dirty sauce with its combination of 30 herbs and spices rounds off this perfectly curated burger. But the supporting cast doesn’t disappoint either – optional sides of deep fried pickles, spice-dusted crackling and air dried housemade beef jerky to die for. It’s true, sixteen quid is expensive but don’t see this as just a burger, it’s more of a life affirming experience.

Star rating: ★★★★★

truebarbecue.com

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January 9th

#BRGR, London

Address: Delivers to W1 only

Burger of Choice: Beef sliders

Toppings: American cheese, ketchup and mustard

Chips: Comes with salted popcorn

Price: £6

Thoughts: Given our current state of burger-induced laziness, the very idea of a service which delivers our favourite meal directly to our door is already a winner. But there's a reason why burger delivery isn't a common concept. They don't travel that well. The two sliders we had were at least presented in good brioche buns but after that, things went downhill. The patties were badly ground and too big for the small buns while the cheese was tasteless and processed. Overall, an underwhelming mouthful. Next time, we'll happily go out and get our own.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

www.hashtagbrgr.com

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January 7th

SWANKY FRANKS, SHEFFIELD

Address: 722a Chesterfield Road, Woodseats, Sheffield S8 OSE

Burger of Choice: Carlito’s New York Burger (Double)

Toppings: Bacon, gherkin, melted Monterey Jack Cheddar, coleslaw and a salad garnish

Chips: Fries

Price: £12.90 (double, with fries)

Thoughts: The ‘Carlito’s New York burger’ was presented as a ‘double’ containing two 6oz burgers handmade in the restaurant and sourced locally from prime beef. The patties were succulent, fresh and moist and coupled with the melting cheese, bacon on top and salad below, Carlito is somewhat of a tower on the plate that you'll have problems picking up. In fact, given the size and the good range of condiments, it's a burger that's best enjoyed with cutlery. Might make it a bit more like Gentleman Vs Food though...

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.swankyfranks.co.uk

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January 4th

The New Inn, London

Address: 2 Allitsen Road, NW8 6LA

Burger of choice: New Inn Burger

Toppings: We were advised to have bacon and cheese. We were advised right.

Chips: Fries

Price: £12 (including fries)

Thoughts: Situated incredibly close to The American School and surrounded by American families, The New Inn is under pressure not only to do US-style food, but to do it well. Their burger is exquisite. The patty is made up of highest grade beef mixed with beef jus, mustard, salt, eggs and fresh double cream. We asked. They told us. It's first pan-fried in butter then chargrilled with truffle essence. A splendid array of condiments come with your burger, as do crispy, grease-free fries to dunk. Heartening to see a pub keeping up with, and often in some cases beating the plethora of burger specialists popping up all over the country. Oh and the landlord is Savoy-trained. His Daiquiri is superb. Drink it. Drink it real good.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.newinnlondon.co.uk

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January 2nd

SOLITA, MANCHESTER

Address: Turner Street, Manchester M4 1DW

Burger of choice: Once In A Lifetime Burger

Toppings: Buttermilk fried chicken, pulled pork, melted vintage cheddar, lettuce, onion rings, chow chow slaw

Chips: Medium chunky fries

Price: £16.90 (with fries)

Thoughts: This three-in-one megaburger might cost twice as much as any other on the menu but then you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. Inside a taut bun you'll find a fillet of fried chicken on top of a pile of unctuous pulled pork and a slab of minced chuck steak studded with bone marrow and given a smoky flavour by the INKA grill. A German smoked beer, Schenkerle, is the perfect match, natch. The slaw is mayonnaise-free, but a side of chicken skin scratchings or the house dessert of deep-fried Coke will make you feel less of a health fiend. Stellar work.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.solita.co.uk

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December 21st

Honest Burgers, London

Address: 4a Meard Street London W1F 0EF

Burger of choice: Honest burger

Toppings: Red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber and lettuce

Chips: House chips with rosemary salt

Price: £9

Thoughts: It's not an exaggeration to say that you guys have been desperate for us to include Honest Burgers from the get go. We receive at least three enthusiastic emails about it a day. So expectations were extraordinarily high. We're pleased to report that they were met. And then exceeded. The lightly toasted brioche bun was slight, meaning a minimum of bread to wade through, the relish wasn't over-sweetened and packed a huge amount of flavour, the cheese was strong but not overpowering, the bacon was crispy and the patty was cooked perfectly. Any self-respecting burger buff/food eater will leave weeping in awe. A very special burger.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.honestburgers.co.uk

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December 19th

The Victoria, Birmingham

Address: 48 John Bright Street, Birmingham B1 1BN

Burger of choice: The Big Bad Wolf

Toppings: Soul sauce, blue cheese, bacon, pulled pork in home-made BBQ sauce

Chips: Double fried

Price: £9.75

Thoughts: While the name might suggest a rather villainous burger, the chef promised us great things and thankfully, he was spot-on. The patty was an unusual and delicious blend of pork, chorizo and herbs and went down perfectly. It was topped off with bacon, blue cheese, soul sauce and the surprise addition of some pulled pork in its own special BBQ sauce. The result was a revelation. It makes us drool just thinking about it. Which is awkward.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.thevictoriabirmingham.co.uk

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December 17th

Hawksmoor, London

Address: 11 Langley Street City of Westminster, WC2H 9JG

Burger of Choice: Kimchi burger

Toppings: Ogleshield cheese, kimchi, lettuce, shredded pork rib

Chips: Beef dripping fries

Price: £15.00 (with fries)

Thoughts: There are so many things that the Kimchi burger gets right that each one requires a special moment. Firstly, we have a easily squeezable brioche bun that makes a mouthful not only tasty but also easy to manage. This is an undervalued quality in a burger. Secondly, we have a patty which by itself would be special (given Hawksmoor's steak reputation) but it's also topped with a smattering of shredded smoky pork rib. Nice touch. Thirdly, we have a creamy Ogleshield cheese which offsets the final brilliant touch, the kimchi. For those not in the know, it's a spicy pickled cabbage and it gives a real savoury kick to a damn fine burger. Consider all boxes ticked.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thehawksmoor.com/locations/seven-dials

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December 14th

North Star, Cardiff

Address: 131 North Road, Cardiff, CF14 3AE

Burger of choice: Gourmet Burger with added cheddar and pecorino cheese

Toppings: 10oz Beef burger with lettuce, tomato, cheddar and pecorino cheese

Chips: Fat chips

Price: £7.80 (with chips +80p extra for cheese)

Thoughts: Currently hosting Cardiff’s Man vs. Food challenge every Wednesday night, The North Star had us salivating from the offset. Unfortunately the burger didn't really deliver above and beyond the average patty. The meat itself was large and well-cooked, showcasing a perfectly pink middle, but the size seemed to compensate for the frankly bland flavour, sloppy lettuce and absence of any relish at all. On a positive note the pecorino cheese saved it from being completely arid and the fat chips delivered their fluffy-but-crispy promise.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

www.thenorthstarcardiff.com

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December 12th

Giant Robot, London

Address: 45 Clerkenwell Road London EC1M 5RS

Burger of Choice: The 'Royale Wit Cheese'

Toppings: American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mustard

Chips: Salty fries

Price: £11.40 (with fries)

Thoughts: As part of the Lucky Chip stable of burgers, expectations were extremely high for this Pulp Fiction-inspired offering. And oh were they met. In fact they were smashed into puny pieces. A mess it might be to eat, this dream-worthy burger aims to emulate a greasy diner-esque cheeseburger and manages to do this while still relying on only the finest ingredients. So while the sweet relish and American cheese might scream guilty pleasure, the succulent, finely made patty reminds you that you're in the company of something pretty special. Don't miss this one.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.gntrbt.com

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December 10th

Sygn, Edinburgh

Address: 15 Charlotte Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 4QZ

Burger of Choice: Steak with cheese

Toppings: Mull cheddar cheese, tomato relish, piri mayo, pickles and rocket

Chips: ‘Rustic’ chips

Price: £9.95 (with chips)

Thoughts: Unsurprisingly for a trendy bar, the burgers here look pretty fine. But any fears that style might triumph over substance are unfounded; they taste damn good too. Who needs fine dining, foie gras or fancy foams when you can have a quarter-pound of juicy ground steak covered in mounds of molten cheese, all washed down with a side of delicious thick-cut, golden brown chips? A spicy mayo features just enough heat to add some interest, while the sesame seed bun was first class – just a shame it hadn’t been toasted.

Star Rating: ★★★★✰

www.sygn.co.uk

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December 7th

Harrison's, London

Address: 15-19 Bedford Hill London SW12 9EX

Burger of choice: Harrison's Cheese Burger

Toppings: Mayo, lettuce, onions, cheese, mini gherkin

Chips: Fries

Price: £12.00 (with fries)

Thoughts: Damn, that was some tasty meat. Our burger was brought out and it certainly looked the part, thick and juicy....with just the cheekiest hint of melted cheese oozing from under the bun. The bite was amazingly tender – there was no chewiness and the burger yielded without protest, helped by a flawless meat-to-bun ratio. The fresh patty was blended with thyme, shallots, horseradish and ketchup, all employed in just the right amounts to enhance the rump steak ground daily on site. A spot-on burger. Go – and go soon.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.harrisonsbalham.co.uk

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December 5th

Cau, Guildford

Address: 274 High Street, Guildford GU1 3JL

Burger Of Choice: BBQ Burger

Toppings: BBQ sauce, mayo, cheddar cheese, tomato & onion rings.

Chips: Triple Cooked Chunky Chips

Price: £10.95 (without fries)

Thoughts: Guildford and Argentina are two places that rarely feature in the same sentence. Yet here they (finally) do and with surprisingly excellent results. A 'no messing' small selection of burgers led us to try the BBQ Burger. Cau takes great pride in their Argentinian Angus steak and they don't hide it behind a mountain of distracting extras, just a sticky BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and onion rings. It's a deliciously meaty burger. If you're a lover of beautiful tender beef (and 80s Miami film set decor) then Cau should be top of your list of go-to places.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.caurestaurants.com

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December 3rd

The National Café, London

Address: Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 4DN

Burger of Choice: Beef Café Burger

Toppings: Bacon jam relish, emmenthal cheese, caramelised onions, avocado, gherkins, lettuce and beef tomato

Chips: Triple cooked

Price: £13.50 (without chips)

Thoughts: We doubt you’re a stranger to the National Gallery. It’s a London treasure after all. If you are, let the National Café at the gallery be your excuse to get a dose of pure protein and some art knowledge thrown in for good measure. With only two burger options on the menu (veggie or beef), we naturally opted for the latter and chomped our way through their café burger laden with toppings that brought on instant salivation. Skewered to preserve the towering layers of melted emmenthal cheese, avocado slices, caramelised onions and sourdough bun; the grassfed beef stood its ground in terms in flavour and texture - to a point. The smoky-sweetness of the bacon jam relish was at first lip-smackingly delicious, but our tastebuds soon felt like they’d been slapped across the face (hard) with its overpowering pork flavour. So while the burger was good - we would only be tempted to order another, just so we could experience the thrice-cooked chips. They were a masterpiece.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

peytonandbyrne.co.uk/the-national-cafe

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November 30th

The Oast House, Manchester

Address: Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AY

Burger of choice: The Beef Burger off the BBQ

Toppings: Bacon, cheese, blue cheese, lettuce, red onion, gherkin, salsa

Chips: Skinny, salty fries

Price: £8.95 (with chips), plus £1 for additional bacon or cheese

Thoughts: Fittingly for a bar housed in a former Kentish hop-drying barn magicked up to Mancland, the sole burger choice is served in a low wooden box. Bulging out of a plain white flour bun, the flame-grilled burger (ask for it rare) is a huge, juicy pink wodge of ground rump seared almost to blackness but not at all hard. The melted blue cheese extra topping adds a savoury sweetness. A must side is the house mustard seed and red cabbage coleslaw. With a hop-driven craft beer from an awesome selection to wash it down.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.theoasthouse.uk.com

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November 28th

The Surprise, London

Address: 6 Christchurch Terrace, Chelsea, SW3 4AJ

Burger of choice: Angus Rare Breed burger

Toppings: Cheese and bacon

Chips: Thick cut

Price: £10.50 (£1 extra for cheese, bacon, and onion rings)

Thoughts: When an amazing burger comes along, it’s hard to remember what a bad burger ever tasted like. While it was the only choice (they used to have one on the menu which included Foie Gras), it was so delicious it didn’t matter. As per, it was served on a board, except this time it was left to us to close it up. This meant we could judge how much filling we want to include, which while this isn’t imperative to the taste, it did add to our eating experience. Other than the patty, the filling included cheese, bacon, raw red onions, fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Crucially the lettuce wasn’t damp and the red onions added an extra crispness to combat the softness of the meat and the bun. Speaking of the bread, it was done to perfection. Not toasted, it was the ideal combination of being slightly sweet, although it wasn’t brioche (we asked), and savoury. The chips were also well cooked. The only small disappointment were the slightly damp and battery onion rings, which didn't matter after such a great burger.

Star rating: ★★★★★

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November 26th

Bar Kohl, Edinburgh

Address: 54 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EJ

Burger of Choice: The Chicago

Toppings: Jack cheese, fried onions, pickle, jalapeños, mustard, lettuce, tomato and house mayo

Chips: Skinny (and slightly anaemic) fries

Price: £8.25 (with chips)

Thoughts: With more than 20 options, the Bar Kohl burgers score high on variety as well as value for money and made from scratch with 100% Aberdeen Angus beef, there’s no doubting the pedigree of the patty, although you’d expect it to be a little pinker in the middle to make the most of the quality meat. All the key components are here for a great burger too - fresh ingredients, a tasty topping combo and a decent sesame bun, but somehow it just lacks that certain something to elevate it from so-so to spectacular. Respectable, just not remarkable.

Star Rating: ★★★✰✰

www.barkohl.co.uk

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November 23rd

Ben's Canteen, London

Address: 140 Saint John’s Hill, London, SW11 1SL

Burger of choice: BC Burger

Toppings: Smoked cheddar, burger sauce, lettuce, tomato

Chips: Handcut chips

Price: £12.50 (with chips)

Thoughts: To paraphrase the eternally wise Frank Drebin, this is the kind of burger that will make you want to drop to your knees and thank God you're a man. That’s because each masculine-sized layer - a gargantuan (clearly genetically modified) tomato, richly delicious burger sauce, lettuce with an autumn leaf crunch, melted smoked cheddar, a handmade beef patty topped with a topside of Orkney beef that’s been slow cooked for 8hrs – wildly lived up to expectation on our visit, and, if not for a last minute crumble of the lightly toasted bun, it was close to perfection.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Benscanteen.com

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November 21st

The Midnight Bell, Leeds

Burger of Choice: 8oz homemade steak burger

Toppings: Salsa, gherkin, pickled chilli, onion rings and mayonnaise

Chips: Chunky skin-on, served Jenga-style

Price: £9.50 (including chips)

Thoughts: Midnight Bell go the vertical route and decide to stack all the goodies you normally get as sides between the toasted ciabatta buns. So although there is a small but perfectly formed patty at the heart of this dish, the real stars are the pickles, especially the slow burning chilli and the best onion rings ever tasted. However it does present a bit of a logistical challenge – after you have dissembled this leaning tower of beef the tiny piece of driftwood provided as a plate inevitably overflows all over the table.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.midnightbell.co.uk

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November 19th

Dach & Sons, London

Address: 68 Heath Street, Hampstead, London NW3 1DN

Burger of choice: Beef sliders

Toppings: (1) bacon and peanut jam and lettuce, (2) smoked flexi-cheddar and dill cucumber, (3) salt beef chilli and soured cream

Chips: Triple cooked fries

Price: £9.oo (without fries)

Thoughts: While sliders might have originated in the US as a fast food non-delicacy, they've quickly turned into something far more exciting and increasingly experimental over here. This New York-y Hampstead pub specialises in bitesize burgers and, boy, do they know how to make the most out of very little. The three we tried were all wildly different. The bacon and peanut jam was distinctive and savoury, the dill cucumber was fresh and slightly sour while the salt beef chilli was quite possibly one of the greatest chillis we have ever eaten. True fact. When it comes to sliders, Dach & Sons are well and truly leading the pack.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.dachandsons.com

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November 16th

Fat Hippo, Newcastle

Address: 35a St Georges Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne

Burger of Choice: Fat Hippo Burger

Toppings: Bacon, chorizo, melted cheddar, caramelised onions, onion rings and a salad garnish

Chips: Handcut chunky chips

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: Any restaurant that hails a 'pimp my burger' competition is a winner in our eyes. We opted for the simpler choice though - the Fat Hippo Burger and we were not disappointed. The 1/2 pound of 100% Northumbrian beef was cooked to perfection - juicy, succulent and oozing with flavour. The patty came served in a soft ciabatta, the top half of which arrived stacked high on onion rings and melted cheese - shamefully, even with a pat down, it had to be attacked with steel. The chunky chorizo added a welcome kick, and with the accompanying Jamaican salsa it really hit the spot. A relaxed belt loosening towards the final whistle ensured victory, even if it was cutlery assisted.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Facebook.com/The-Fat-Hippo

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November 14th

Floridita, London

Address: 100 Wardour Street. London W1F 0TN

Burger of Choice: Cheese burger

Toppings: Smoked pancetta, swiss cheese, tomato salsa, gherkin and red onion

Chips: Just chips

Price: £16.25 (with chips)

Thoughts: In the recent burger revolution, it appears as if Floridita has been left behind, scratching its head and relying on a prime Soho location for business. They offer up a truly unremarkable burger which takes all the classic ingredients but fails to come up with anything interesting. A bland, lacklustre bun coupled with a flavourless burger and an overly sweet salsa, it's a genuine disappointment. The only saving grace was the crispy smoked pancetta. Given the price, it's daylight robbery.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

www.floriditalondon.com

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November 12th

The WestRoom, Edinburgh

Burger of choice: 8oz Steak (the only option)

Toppings: Mull cheddar and sautéed onions, with rocket and tomato on the side.

Chips: Hand-cut, skin-on chunky chips

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: Considering burgers aren’t the house speciality, the WestRoom makes more than a decent fist of their solitary option; the two-inch thick hunk of ground steak retains a succulently pink hue inside, all covered over by a slab of melted cheese and caramelised onions. A toasted sesame seed bun, washed with a sticky glaze, stands up ably to the rigours of its contents, rather than dissolving like many inferior versions, while the accompanying Kilner jar of sweet and sour tomato relish rounds things off nicely. If you’re after a little more kick – and they like the look of you – the coarse chilli jam is the business.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thewestroom.co.uk

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November 9th

The Rivington Grill, London

Address: 28-30 Rivington Street London, Greater London EC2A 3DZ

Burger of Choice: The Luxury Burger

Toppings: Fried egg, cheese and bacon

Chips: Chip shop chips but crispier

Price: £12.75 (with chips)

Thoughts: When you add the word 'luxury' to the word 'burger', you're placing yourself in a category with much higher standards than your regular pub or fast food joint. So, it's a relief to report that the word is perfectly well-picked to describe this doozy. With the fried egg unleashing yolk as soon as the bun is closed, it's a bit of a mess to handle but coupled with the cheese and bacon, it's a tasty mess. The patty is also given a kick with flecks of chilli, helping to provide a spiciness that offsets the creamy egg and cheese. Luxury stuff.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Rivingtonshoreditch.co.uk/

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November 7th

The Cross Scythes, Sheffield

Address: Baslow Road, Totley, Sheffield, S17 4AE

Burger of choice: Cheese burger

Toppings: Sheffield’s own Hendersons relish, Tomato & Onion chutney, cheese

Chips: Chunky chips

Price: £9.75 (with chips)

Thoughts: From the handmade patty to the freshly baked bun to the local relish, everything about this burger was the product of a good old-fashioned local. The softness of the medium rare meat was offset nicely by a crunchy onion salad while the homemade tomato & onion chutney, made with Sheffield’s own Henderson’s relish, added a unique flavour. The cheese was plainer than expected but it allowed the caramelised onions to dominate, which was a rare pleasure. Overall, a classic done well.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.cross-scythes.com

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November 5th

The Princess Of Wales, London

Address:146 Lea Bridge Road, Clapton, London, E5 9RB

Burger of Choice: Char grilled beef burger

Toppings: Lettuce, tomato (bacon and cheese optional extras)

Chips: Thick, tripple dipped

Price: £9.95 (with chips)

Thoughts: If you want frills, buy a frock. If you want a wonderful, traditional burger, where the beef does all the work, head here. Bobby Davro won't bring out your burger on a golden traffic cone. The bun won't play 'green sleeves' when you bite into it. But the beef will knock you over with taste. Hats off to the chef for having total confidence in his product that he doesn't feel the need to carpet bomb the burger with ingredients and hope some of it hits. The chargrilled flavour permeates the light bun and juicy patty beneath truly sings. We added bacon and cheese, both of which complimented the burger without taking away from the beef. A wonderful winter warmer of a pub, and a homely, hearty hamburger. Bravo.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Princessofwalesclapton.co.uk

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November 2nd

Johnny Fontanes, Leeds

Address: 40 Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3DL

Burger of choice: Johnny’s Eggsplosion

Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, cheese, an egg in the middle

Chips: Cajun French-fries

Price: £6.49 (without fries)

Thoughts: This pseudo-American diner certainly looks the part so hopes were rather high. But the burger, featuring an egg built into the patty, was small, dry and overcooked. The egg yolk had hard-boiled (the menu claimed it ‘bursts when bitten into’), the sesame seed bun was stale and the tomato had been forgotten. It’s a shame because clearly a lot of effort has gone into making the place look authentic. On the plus side the milkshakes were excellent. But this is all about the burgers, and sadly ours was poor.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

www.johnnyfontanes.com

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October 31st

Burger Breakout at The Old Crown, London

Address: 33 New Oxford Street London WC1A 1BH

Burger of choice: The Bambi Bought it

Toppings: Tunworth cheese, beetroot pickle, chocolate & quince BBQ sauce

Chips: Smoked horseradish salted chips

Price: £14.00

Thoughts: Now, in the middle of a menu featuring slightly more traditional options, this unconventional burger doesn't sound like it's going to work. A venison patty with beetroot, strong cheese, chocolate and quince? But against all those considerable odds, it's a rousing success. The ingredients have all been delicately matched by an enthusiastic chef and work excellently together. The venison is moist and rich and the seemingly odd selection of toppings are in fact, rather brilliant. Leave your comfort zone for this one. It's worth it.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.old-crown.co.uk

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October 29th

The Plough, Birmingham

Address: 21 High St, Harborne, Birmingham. B17 9NT

Burger of choice: Chorizo and caramelised onion beef burger

Toppings: Beef tomato, gherkins and mayonnaise

Chips: Medium cut fries

Price: £11.25 (includes chips)

Thoughts: With a host of burgers to choose from, our pick was one of their speciality burgers – chorizo with caramelised onion and all the usual trimmings. The impressive tower was topped and tailed with a brioche-esque bun, complimented with purple slaw and fries served in a novelty deep fat fryer on the side. The star is the thick, juicy patty made with local beef, the recipe for which has been specially developed with a local butcher. The flavour combination was a real treat, the mellow onion complementing the punch of the spicy chorizo. All in all, a juicy, comforting mess.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

theploughharborne.co.uk

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October 26th

The Jugged Hare, London

Address: 49 Chiswell Street, City of London, EC1Y 4SA

Burger of Choice: Longhorn beef burger

Toppings: Applewood smoked cheddar

Chips: Thick

Price: £16 (with chips)

Thoughts: This was an easy choice to make as it was the only burger on offer for the evening. Made up of 30 per cent rib eye, 30 per cent flank and the rest made from kidney and suet, the patty was a huge slab of meat that was well done and topped with the slightly overpowering Applewood smoked cheddar. While it remained juicy it could have been improved with a touch more seasoning. The bun was a good doughy texture and not too sweet, but the problem we had was that there was too much of it. The bread was fighting to be the main attraction, when it should arguably be the meat that takes the starring role. As for the sides, the chips were cooked to perfection and the coleslaw made from red cabbage, a touch of mayo plus a hint of cumin gave this side an unexpected but delicious taste. While impressive on paper this burger failed to be amazing as all the ingredients were competing to be top dog.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.thejuggedhare.com

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October 24th

Annie's Burger Shack, Nottingham

Address: Annie’s Burger Shack at The Navigation Live Music Venue, 6 Wilford Street, Nottingham, NG2 1AA

Burger of Choice: Kogumaza Burger

Toppings: Dutch-Indonesian Peanut Satay Sauce, crunchy onions and a pinch of cocunut

Chips: Home-made Cajun wedges

Price: £7.90

Thoughts: Self-confessed burger geek Annie has decided to bless Nottingham with her Rhode Island recipes, meaning the ingredients are sourced from the US and the menu is unique to say the least. We opted for the exotic Kogumaza burger which packs an impressive punch of flavour. From the warm spice of the Dutch-Indonesian satay sauce to the cool coconut topping to the sweet toasted bun, it’s all works incredibly well. But it’s the rich and delicious meat, sourced locally, which also impresses and is never drowned out by the ambitious set of toppings. Great burger work.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.anniesburgershack.com

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October 22nd

Gaucho, London

Address: 60A Charlotte Street, London W1T 2NU

Burger of Choice: Gaucho burger

Toppings: Smoked bacon, Keens cheddar, tomato, lettuce and chipotle chutney

Chips: Chips with deep fried thyme

Price: £16.00 (without chips)

Thoughts: When it comes to meat, Gaucho aren't messing around. Known for their Argentinian steak skills, they've ground four of their greatest cuts to create their trademark burger and all that hard work certainly shows. But they don't rely on just a good quality patty. The sweet and smoky chipotle chutney works well with the smoked bacon and the brioche bun still retains its shape and flavour, even when slightly cooled down. Just leave a lot of room yeah? It's a hefty one.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk

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October 19th

Ad Lib, Glasgow

Address: 111 Hope Street, Glasgow

Burger of Choice: Classic Ad Lib Angus beef burger

Toppings: Dill pickle, homemade onion relish, lettuce, beef tomato

Chips: Skinny fries

Price: £8.95 (with fries) plus £1 each for additional bacon and blue cheese

Thoughts: Cowardly shunning Ad-Lib’s 3lb, £35 monster burger, which customers get free with a t-shirt if they manage to best it (the vast majority don’t), we plumped for Ad-Lib’s classic burger. In a lightly toasted, sesame seed bun with dispensable pickle and slightly too much tangy onion relish, the juicy, ground beef benefitted from a subtle infusion of garlic, Dijon mustard and paprika. Fine as far as it went, yet despite a multitude of ingredients the Classic lacks character, at least in comparison to Ad Lib’s lamb and chicken counterparts. Extra bacon and blue cheese offset some of the disappointment.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.adlibglasgow.com

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October 17th

Boisdale Belgravia, London

Address: 15 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LX

Burger of Choice: Truffle

Toppings: Fresh black truffle, roast field mushroom, Gruyère de Comté

Chips: Fat chips

Price: £15 (Includes chips)

Thoughts: If you're all about the burger when eating a burger (i.e the chips can take a running jump) then this is a very, very wise choice. Our dining chum described the Truffle burger as 'posh filth' and he hit the nail on the head. Stunning flavour and top end ingredients combine with the filthiness of a meaty burger experience to serve up a gastronomic tongue snog. This perfect date burger is slightly let down by easily forgettable chips served in tiny portions. Top tip: Eat in the bar (atmosphere is superb) and have the Bloody Mary Ketchup (£0.75).

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.boisdale.co.uk/belgravia/

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October 15th

Handmade Burger Company, Birmingham

Address: 4 Brindley Place, Birmingham, West Midlands B1 2JB

Burger of Choice: Stuffed Burger (Cheddar and Chilli)

Toppings: Bacon, Mushroom, Lettuce, Hot Chilli Relish and Mayo

Chips: Cajun Seasoned Chips

Price: £7.95 (without chips or extra toppings (bacon and mushroom))

Thoughts: If you don't like meat or don't like mess you won't like this. The patty is full of flavour - you can really taste the chilli which has been stuffed in with the cheddar - and very moist. When you add the bacon and a mushroom you get a burger you have to fight to control. The sourdough bun needed to be thicker to handle the burger's thick juices. However the chips were solid and very strongly seasoned. Overall the food is freshly prepared and delicious. Just don't come here on a first date, unless your companion approves of dribbling salivating messes.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.handmadeburger.co.uk

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October 12th

Cinnamon Soho, London

Burger of choice: Bhangra burgers

Toppings: Caramelised onion, mustard mayonnaise, Kasundi mustard, tomato and green salad leaf

Chips: None available

Price: £6.75

Thoughts: It's safe to say we've never had anything quite like this before. Combining the new trend for sliders (small burgers) with an intriguing Indian slant, this set of three bite-size offerings were a deliciously unconventional alternative. The combination of spiced lamb patties with sweet onions and fiery mustard leaves you wanting more. While the ever-so-slightly dry buns let the sliders down somewhat, their small size and choice of accompanying chutneys ensure that it's not a lasting concern.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.cinnamon-kitchen.com/soho-home

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October 10th

Hollyrood 9A, Edinburgh

Address: 9A Holyrood Road Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 8AE

Burger of choice: The Holyrood

Toppings: Hereford Hop cheese, beer mustard, rocket, red onion, caramelised onion mayo, dill pickle, tomato, lettuce

Chips: String fries

Price: £9.45 (with chips)

Thoughts: Given the proximity of the Scottish parliament, it’s not unusual to find political bigwigs conniving in the corners, although thankfully the burgers at Holyrood 9A are far easier to swallow than the rhetoric. Resting on a perfect sourdough bun, the flavoursome 6oz ground beef patty comes slathered in a creamy, gooey toasted hop-coated cheese which imparts a ridiculously moreish sour tang. Vitally, the underlay of salad isn't limp or sweaty, adding crunch and texture, while the burger-to-bun ratio is spot on, making it possible (with some finger-licking) to eat this with both hands, just as nature intended.

Star rating: ★★★★★

www.fullerthomson.com/eating-and-drinking/holyrood

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October 8th

North Pole, London

Address: 188 New North Road, London, N1 7BJ

Burger of choice: The only one they do. They call it 'burger'

Toppings: Beef burger with cheddar, smoked bacon, pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup & American mustard

Chips: Skinny fries with pepper

Price: £10 (with fries)

Thoughts: If this was a pub review we'd be going batshit mental about the North Pole. The craft and cask ales are simply out of this world, the pub is a superb winter warmer and the staff and clientele are wonderfully jolly. But this is about burgers. And the burger is good. Not amazing, not disappointing. It's good. Solid. James Milner. A carnivore's delight, it's incredibly meaty (perhaps sacrificing taste a little) and makes for great value for money, but it offers few frills. You don't leave pondering which pals you're going to tell all about it.

'Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Thenorthpolepub.co.uk

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October 5th

The Golden Fleece, Nottingham

Address: 105 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FN

Burger of choice: Rump steak burger

Toppings: Applewood smoked cheddar and Jalapeno

Chips: Chunky chips

Price: £7.95 (with chips)

Thoughts: Our pick of the Applewood and Jalepeno topped rump steak burger was a tricky choice thanks to the pretty extensive menu which offers 12 choices of toppings available on either 100% rump steak, lamb or veggie. The huge patty came covered in a multitude of extras – mayo, salsa, gherkins and salad, which somehow all worked together, making it difficult to eat but well worth the mess. Served in a chargrilled wholemeal bun, the burger is well over an inch thick with a juicy, pink centre. The combination of the chillies and salsa add a good hit of heat, but the sweet smokiness of the cheddar still comes through.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Facebook.com/goldenfleecenottingham

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October 3rd

The Draft House, London

Address: 43 Goodge Street London W1T 1TA

Burger of choice: The Smoke

Toppings: House-smoked cheddar, house-cured bacon and smoked Chipotle mayo

Chips: Hand-cooked, twice-cooked fries

Price: £9.95 (without chips)

Thoughts: One of the three rhyming options available (the others being 'The Yolk' and 'The Poke'), this burger is all about, predictably, smokey flavours. From the smoked cheddar to the Chipotle mayonnaise, it's an idea that completely works. But the intensity of the toppings still don't detract from a succulent patty, cooked to your specifications, which adds chopped parsley into the mix. Overall, it's a damn fine burger.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.thedrafthouse.co.uk

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October 1st

Red Onion, Glasgow

Address: 257 West Campbell Street Glasgow G2 4TT

Burger of choice: The Thunderstruck

Toppings: Deep fried cheese, lettuce, salsa

Chips: Thick, skin-on chips

Price: £9.50 (with chips), plus £1 for additional deep-fried cheese

Thoughts: Taking its name from an AC/DC anthem, former chef to Guns N’ Roses John Quigley’s jaw-stretching creation is mildly fiery, thanks to a base slathering of salsa, and distinctively Scottish, with a gratifying thick wedge of deep-fried mature Mull cheddar perched atop the beef. Served in a plain white flour bun, the flame-grilled burger is a juicy pink, medium rare patty of 90% ground rump steak with pork fat, so filling it barely needs the thick cut chips served with a peppercorn sauce. Healthy it isn’t but the cheese crunch really distinguishes it and Elvis would’ve died for one.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.red-onion.co.uk

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September 28th

Riding House Cafe, London

Address: 43-51 Great Titchfield Street London, W1W 7PQ

Burger of choice: Longhorn beef and bone marrow burger

Toppings: Truffled liver parfait, tomato, caramelised onions and mayonnaise

Chips: Skin-on chips

Price: £20

Thoughts: Existing at the higher end of the burger market, this luxury offering aims extremely high and only really delivers in parts. Coupling a burger made from 28 day aged fore rib chuck with truffle liver parfait is a brave move and coupled with the mayonnaise and sweet onions, it ends up being, predictably, all a bit too rich. The deep flavour of the parfait ends up monopolising the burger, which is a shame as the patty was well-cooked and flavoursome. The overly toasted bun also let things down, making an all-inclusive mouthful hard to manage. An interesting attempt to try something different but sadly, it doesn't quite work.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.ridinghousecafe.co.uk

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September 27th

Cattle Grid, Leeds

Address: Waterloo House, Assembly Street, Leeds, LS2 7DE

Burger of choice: House steak burger

Toppings: Feta cheese, beef tomato and lettuce

Chips: Skinny skin-on chips

Price: £8.50 (without chips)

Thoughts: It’s a bit of a no-brainer that a good steak house should do a good burger and this juicy, inch-thick chargrilled patty does not disappoint. Ground daily on-site, this burger is definitely at the meatier end of the spectrum. Meanwhile the layer of beef tomatoes keeps the dribble-down-the-chin factor high and the crumbly feta definitely necessitates use of cutlery to consume this monster. Though fully consumed it was – an excellent all round performance.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.cattlegridrestaurant.com

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September 25th

Tommi's Burger, London

Address: 58 Marylebone Lane London W1U 2NX

Burger of choice: Steak burger

Toppings: American cheese, tomato, lettuce, ketchup and mustard

Chips: Thin, slightly tasteless fries

Price: £8.95 (without chips)

Thoughts: Our burger provided an interesting contrast. On the one hand, the patty itself is a high-end mix of rump, rib-eye and fillet steak and it's served with a béarnaise sauce on the side. Yet it arrives with rather standard fast food trimmings. The cheese is processed, the salad is a bit limp and the bun is so doughy that it blends in with the meat. So while the meat is succulent, the other ingredients don't match up, which is a shame and given the Central London competition, it'll need a bit more to make its mark.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

www.burgerjoint.co.uk

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September 19th

Barbecoa, London

Address: 20 New Change Passage, City of London, Greater London EC4M 9AG

Burger of choice: Barbecoa Burger

Toppings: Westcombe cheddar, smoked bacon, sweet onions and pickles

Chips: Duck fat skin-on chips

Price: £16 (includes chips)

Thoughts: While some burgers rely on either a good quality patty or a set of tasty toppings to keep us happy, the impressive Barbecoa burger manages to astound on both counts. The burger is made from beef which has been hung on-site for between 5 and 11 weeks so taken alone, it'd be a delicious meal in itself but coupled with extra mature cheddar, crispy bacon and some rather uniquely sweet stewed onions, it's the sort of burger that makes you want to run to the kitchen and high-five the chef. Before you kidnap him and keep him locked up in your kitchen of course.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.barbecoa.com

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