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ShortList's search for the UK's best burger

ShortList's search for the UK's best burger

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