So the second thing. A burger van. They’re pretty hot right now. Should be a slam dunk, right?
It’s not immediately clear that FFBCo is a new venture by the lovely Joel of Daddy Donkey fame.
But it is. It’s his burger van, and it’s about thirty yards away from DD on Leather Lane in Clerkenwell.
We continue to be big fans of the Double D. I still think they sling the most consistent, generously portioned, fastidiously put together burritos in London. They were here long before any of the bricks ‘n mortar chains like Chilango and Tortilla started aggressively commercialising it, and they’ve matured tastefully.
There hasn’t been the same rabid board-room driven expansion (let’s forget the brief foray into Brick Lane) and there’s been a series of upgrades to the DD truck. It’s got bigger, more colourful, the menu has widened a bit (totopos looks like a direct response to Chilango) and it’s still as popular as ever, despite the ever-increasing competition.
And DD is still very, very good. It holds a special place in the hearts of lunch-seeking Holborners everywhere.
So the second at. A burger van. They’re pretty hot right now. Should be a slam dunk, right?
Joel’s already proven that he can do good branding, great customer service and most importantly good consistent food with Daddy Donkey. What could possibly go wrong?
Well let’s start with the name. Fast and Fresh. It’s neither. Logistically it’s very hard to take the production line experience of a burrito truck and transfer it to burgers. Burgers need to be cooked to order. So the burgers aren’t fast, because they’re reheated on a flat-top while the (sesame shop-bought) buns toast a bit. So that means they’re pre-cooked. So they’re far from fresh.
You can always tell a pre-cooked and reheated burger. They retain a sickly grey pallor on the inside, and the reheating makes it dry and overly crisp on the outside. It also changes the flavour of the beef significantly, a bit like letting a cup of coffee go cold and then desperately microwaving it. It’s not the same.
So the burgers are neither fast, nor fresh. The other oddity is how they’re packaged. There is no cheeseburger option without going custom. Since that’s my default choice that’s what I went for. I was mildly horrified when the dude started ladeling lukewarm liquid nacho cheese all over the crispy reheated patty. I love nacho cheese. On nachos. This yellow goo should be part of the DD offering, not being slopped all over burgers.
Having settled down to sink into my saucy option, the cheese sauce actually did the burger a favour by masking all the flavour of the dry patty with thick, gelatinous, salty, fake cheese. I kinda liked it, but won’t be going back. I can’t support reheating. The glory days of the Meatwagon queue were all about the wait and watching it being cooked from scratch. I don’t think these guys have twigged that yet, and as a lunchtime market offering, this is just a bit too poorly conceived and ‘me too-ist’.
We expect more the daddy of the donkey, and looking at the sparse queue on any given lunchtime compared to the burrito, this could do with going back to the drawing board.
Stick with what you know. Get a burrito.