It’s a slippery, grubby, unkempt, delightful beast…
We remember a few years ago when Kentish Town was just that place between Camden - Mecca Of The Goths and a massive posh park, which had a couple of half-decent pubs, a couple of proper dodgy ones, a gig venue, and a highly dubious ‘naturist’ health spa.
Since then it’s started kicking off a bit and new residents like Camden Town Brewery have set up shop. It’s even got a Sainsbury’s Local and a Pret now. Come on, that is big time. What better to continue the K-Town renaissance than some of the big boys dropping a triple threat bang on its door step?
In the carcass of the previously desolate Grand Union, the Soho House Group have erected the second offshoot branch of its highly successful Shoreditch eaterazzi feeding ground, Pizza East. But as well as this, it houses one of their new toys: Chicken Shop.
But it’s the shack-tacked-on-the-backDirty Burger that we’re concerned with.
Is there such a thing as a trendy shack? Doubtful. But we guess it’s what they’re going for with this almost absurdly over-the-top New Orleans crab shack style: a brushed-rust bare-bulb conservatory aesthetic boasting a delightful view of the Fitness First squatting further down the car park.
With the grill directly behind where you order, it gave us a good view of how DB prepped their wares:
- It was pretty hectic when we got there, but loads of orders were on the go with no apparent stress. They can do numbers.
- They ‘animal style’ their patties a la In-N-Out, putting mustard on the top whilst cooking, then flipping. And not just a little bit. There was fuck tons slopped on, so much mustard they could coin it ‘monster style’.
- They worship the cloche. The cheese is lobbed on the patty, then the tomato, pickle and bun lid are put on. All cloched. So many orders were going at once, they were having to used overturned pans on some. Resourceful.
So the burger?
It’s a slippery, grubby, unkempt, delightful beast. The chunk of beef housed between an ample, squidgy bun was decently pink, and abundant with heavily peppered meaty juiciness. The mustard on the patty had been fused with ample amounts of mustard mayo mix on the bottom, bumping up the hard-to-handle factor and really delivering the tang.
If you don’t like mustard, dearest reader, you are fucked here.
The omni-cloching had fused the tomato and thick pickles into the cheese and, despite our worries, had just maintained structural integrity. It was actually quite pleasant to taste a warmed tomato/pickle instead of the usual cold additions, although it was touch and go.
And the sides, oh the sides. In keeping with the dirthos, the crinkle cut fries and onion fries, which are ostensibly straight onion rings, are fucking filthy. Both had great crunchiness, the onion fries nudging with solid batter/onion ratio.
But order portions to share, because they are totally Danny Zuko, and having one to yourself would be like giving your arteries a noogie whilst stealing their lunch money.
Some people are going to dislike the pickle, peppery, mustardy flavours that boldly parade themselves here. But screw them, we love it. It’s a refreshing American Diner-style take on meat plus bun that doesn’t try to cater to popular English tastes. With opening hours to cater for post-pub drunky bites and hungover morning afters, we are pissed we don’t live closer.
We’re not even talking to our friends that live a five minutes walk away, huffing like Alphabite-deprived children. Essential visitation.