Me: “Want to grab a drink after work?” Friend: “Sorry, busy. How about Monday for an hour, 9 weeks from now?” Does this feel familiar? As my friends and I get older, have more responsibilities and more social media apps to stare at, the more impossible it is to arrange a spontaneous cocktail session. The best way to avoid it? Set up a monthly (or weekly) event that everyone has in their diaries and can only get out of with a proper doctor’s note (or angry email from a boss).
My friendship group has tried all sorts of things: Neilflix (a Sunday night movie session at my mate Neil’s house), Asian Wednesdays (a girls-only night, eating noodles somewhere), Monday Movies (our local cinema is half price on Mondays) and Thirsty Thursdays (not a particularly structured event, just much-needed end of week booze).
The one that’s really stuck, though? Wednesday Burger Club. The concept, as you can probably infer from the name, is simple: burgers on a Wednesday.
It all started on a bleak Wednesday back in 2013 at the new Shake Shack in Covent Garden. Just four friends eating burgers and having a good, old bitch about everything. It was just what we needed and we’ve done it one Wednesday per month ever since.
Our little Wednesday Burger Club has evolved since then (my friend Luke takes it particularly seriously): we have a blog, a logo, rules, there’s talk of a t-shirt and we’ve even taken a day trip to a burger championship. But strip all that stuff back and the centre of it remains the same: four friends making a big effort to stay in each other’s lives.
“That’s all lovely,” I hear you cry. “But tell us about the best burgers you’ve tried, yeah?” Ask and you shall receive, below in order of meaty deliciousness are the best burgers in London:
And if you're coeliac, these are the best gluten-free restaurants in London.
1. Patty & Bun, nr Bond Street
Burger: Ari Gold Cheese Burger
In the opinion of my little Wednesday Burger Club, this is the best burger in London. Hands down. Worth every single calorie, the Ari Gold cheeseburger has gained cult status in the burger sphere.
2. Lucky Chip, The Old Queens Head, Islington
Burger: Cheese Burger
No fancy gimmicks, just a bloody great cheeseburger. Cooked to pinky perfection with thick-slice gherkins and mustard. You will not want it to end.
3. Stokey Bears, Stoke Newington
Burger: Grizzly Bear
Enjoy a Grizzly Bear cheeseburger topped with crispy double oaked bacon and Stokey Bear’s unique Burger Bear Jam, washed down with a craft beer, at this food-truck-turned-restaurant. And follow the man behind it all, Burger Bear Tom, on Insta for serious foodspiration.
4. Bleecker Street, Spitalfields
Like the delicious Stokey Bears above, Bleecker St started off in a food truck and now has two permanent venues: a small kiosk in Spitalfields Market and, since January 2017, a 12-seat restaurant in Victoria. Simple burgers, excellently done.
5. Bite Me Burger Co., Holborn
Burger: Beef Encounter
Bite Me Burger’s USP is they serve little sliders so meateaters are able to sample a wide range - up to 12 if you're really feeling it or, you know, are sharing with friends. We opted for a quad of four mini burgers each: Beef Encounter (Aged grilled beef patty, special burger sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, pickles), The BC (aged beef patty, cream cheese aioli, bacon, Brie, crispy onion), Pluck Me (Buttermilk fried chicken, yuzu mayo, shredded lettuce, pickle) and Bloody Mary (aged grilled beef patty, horseradish, onion, cheddar cheese, secret Bloody Mary sauce). A special mention goes out to the Beef Encounter, which in my friend Luke’s words, was: “Cooked to perfection and tasty AF.” They also do American-style shakes with flavours like peanut butter and oreo.
6. Hotbox, Spitalfields
Burger: The Smokey Bandit
With the tagline, ‘Meaty Barbecue Masterpieces’ you know these guys are going to take burgers seriously. The Smokey Bandit is outstanding and pretty damn close to perfection. Dry-aged beef patty with smoked short rib, jalapeños, chimichurri and cheese, it melts in your mouth. They do a good bottomless brunch, too.
7. Dip n’ Flip, Clapham Junction
Burger: Dip n’ Flip with lamb, beef and gravy
These guys specialise in gravy-soaked meat sandwiches, but we went for one of the flip burgers: a beef patty topped with lamb with gravy on the side. A heart attack waiting to happen, but a good way to go, I reckon.
8. Dirty Harrys, Soho
We went on a quiet Wednesday (obvs) but apparently this Coyote Ugly-inspired bar gets pretty rowdy come Friday and Saturday. But I can dance on the table and make a tit of myself at home, what I wanted was a delicious burger. And that’s what I got. Other Side Fried and Burger Beyond have teamed up for “Beyond The Otherside”. Melt in your mouth burgers and the best fried chicken wings I’ve ever had.
9. Bar Boulud, Knightsbridge
Burger: Yankee Burger
You can go super-posh here and go for a burger topped with foil gras (the BB) or exceed your weekly recommend red meat intake and have a burger with pork ribs atop (Piggie) but we went for the classic Yankee cheeseburger. Pricier than your average at £17, but a delight. Special mention goes to the truffle mash.
10. Dirty Burger, Vauxhall
Burger: Cheese Burger
When it comes to chicken, the Soho House Group has it nailed with Chicken Shop, when it comes to burgers they have it nailed with Dirty Burgers. There are restaurants all over London but we went underneath the arches in Vauxhall for our meat treat. Love, love, love the crinkle fries.
11. BOOM Burger, Ladbroke Grove
Burger: BOOM Burger
Tasty burgers with a Caribbean twist by owner Josh, who was born In Jamaica. Think cans of Red Stripe, plantain fries and jerk mayo. Loud music and strong rum cocktails make this a burger you might forget - but for all the most fun reasons.
12. Mac & Wild, Devonshire Square
Burger: The Veni-moo
Wednesday Burger Club Verdict: 7.6/10
Voted London’s Best Burger in 2016 (not by my silly mates, by professional burger-eating types), this is a beef patty and a venison patty together with cheese and béarnaise sauce. Sounds a lot? It is. Sounds too much? Nah, you can handle it.
13. Hache, Shoreditch
Burger: Hache Cheeseburger
Wednesday Burger Club Verdict: 7.6/10
The burgers on this menu are the kind of burgers dreamt up by someone either very high, or very hungry, or both. Top your meat with crunchy peanut butter, fondue cheese, cornichons, blue cheese, truffle shavings or fried egg. We kept it classic cheeseburger and devoured every last meaty morsel.
14. MeatLiquor, Marylebone
Burger: Dead Hippie
The Dead Hippie is two beef patties served with their trademarked Dead Hippie sauce. What’s the sauce made of? No one knows.
15. Honest Burgers, Tooting
Burger: Cheese burger
When in doubt always go for an Honest Burger. Never, ever disappointing. I believe their cheeseburger and rosemary fries can solve any problem. They do gluten-free, too.