We've been grabbing toasties from haggis slingers Deeney's at Chatsworth Road and Broadway Market for time. They are great. Absolute Top Ten sandwich in London: The interweaving of the earthy savoury-spice of the haggis (real or vegetarian - both great) with the gooey twang of melted cheddar as the heat of the english mustard bites through the intense sweetness of the caramelised onions. Rocket adds the odd touch of bitterness and the crisp bacon we recommend you add tops it off with a great salty meat note, all ensconced within the cracking crunch of the buttered and grilled granary bread. Yep, it reads like flavour poetry. Imagine eating the fucking thing.
Deeney's has just opened a cafe in Leyton so you can got and eat your sandwich indoors, in the warm, whilst having a coffee too (sadly they cannot cook bacon there). But they currently also have a residence at the Duke's Head in the quaint little hilltop environ of Highgate village. And they have put a burger on the menu. Game on.
Highgate is a very pretty little part of London, a minute high street of charity shops, coffee houses and pubs, all perched on a stunning view of the City. And it holds fond memories of the Meatwagon truck at the Red Lion & Sun pub many years ago. The Duke's head is no-nonsense beer pub - a craft boozer that has nods of trendy pretence without being overbearing - with lots of independent brewery options on tap. It also hosts monthly kitchen residencies of street food vendors, with notable past grill squatters such as The Bell & Brisket and Howard's Meat Co. A cosy venue for grabbing a bite and a pint.
The McGurken Burger is a solid piece of work. The bun has a provocative luster, light and airy with a good chewy shell. The patty, which is unfortunately slightly overcooked, is nicely seasoned with a good meaty flavour and a thick coating of melted cheddar provides a stretchy mild tang.
The house pickles are in abundance as suggested on the menu and push a sturdy sweet tartness across the burger. There is a bit of ketchup for added sweetness, and the mustard and rocket from the toastie make an appearance to kick some bitter heat through it. There are decent flavours here which, while not breathtaking, are agreeable.
The venison tacos were rather disappointing. The deer meat lacked the depth of meatiness you'd expect from it proving pretty bland, as was the accompanying salsa and sauce. The coriander and radish did their crunchy fragrant jobs, but the bottle of hot sauce that came to the table with them was used in earnest. The tortilla were quite heavy and floury, separating and sticking to the serving paper. These need more work.
The fries, which were huge, fluffy-centered joy, needed no improvement. They were perfectly constructed proto-roast spudchips. A definite addition to your guts.
If you are up Highgate way, maybe popping up to the cemetery to pay your respects to Karl Marx or, more importantly, Jeremy Beadle, we'd suggest you dip over to the Duke's for a Macbeth with bacon and an IPA while you have the chance.
- Si & Rob
Deeney's residency on on until the end of January.