Assembling a tasty burger isn't as easy as it might seem. In fact, it's rather tough.
It's something we learned the hard way during our grand search for the UK's best burger. So, we thought we'd get some advice from Tom Barton, head chef and co-founder of Honest Burgers, on how to go about creating a burger that sits on the right side of quirky.
Where do you usually find your inspiration for one of your special burgers?
Our specials are usually adapted from very classic and robust flavour combinations. I try and go through as many flavours as I can that go well with beef and then pick out some that will work well together and in a bun of course!
What has been your most popular special?
We've had a few that have gone down really well. The most surprising being our beef, black pudding and apple tempura burger. I thought this burger might be a bit much due to peoples perceptions of black pudding but our customers went mad for it and it was one of our most popular. Also its on our menu from the 24th September.
What is the strangest combination of flavours you’ve assembled?
I think the most interesting flavour to experiment with has been the heat from different chillies. We braised a load of really punchy chillies in butter and it toned the heat down and let the flavour really come out, was fantastic.
Have you ever tried anything which was a disaster?
Our flavours have always been quite simple and classic so have never had a real disaster. Had some pretty interesting smells when I tried fermenting some cabbage! Phil has always been pretty keen on getting an oyster in a burger... me, not so keen.
What’s been your personal favourite special?
Thats like asking to choose a favourite kid! Ive got a top three but no standalone favourite, The beef & black pudding, The Chimichurri and chorizo, and our American Burger.
Do you ever have customers suggesting specials?
We've had a few requests... a fried egg in a burger has been mentioned a few times and beetroot (by our southern hemisphere fans!). We get a lot of customers asking for old specials too.
What is the normal process for getting a special on the menu?
Well, normally I come up with a burger that I will try and tweak until I'm happy with the flavours and then Dor, Phil & Carmelo will have a try and suggest any improvements.
What would be your main tip for anyone trying to create a new burger?
Look at the layers and flavours that will go into your burger e.g. Salty, sweet, crunchy, smokey, crispy, sour etc. Ultimately I'd look at your most favourite flavours and then try and work them into your burger, you'll be surprised what you can get in. Im looking forward to reading them! (also theres a great book called The Flavour Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit, that helps put these flavours down on paper and can really help kick start an idea)