So Rob is back from the West coast tour and while we wait for him to compile the epic list of dive bars, food trucks and various Denny’s locations he visited, here’s a little write-up of Elliot’s in Borough Market.
I’ve been keen on Elliot’s ever since they ran a highly celebrated pop-up in Victoria Park’s Pavilion Cafe. Now it’s open, Borough Market finally has a restaurant that is correctly positioned. Roast is too sartorially aware and posh. Applebee’s is too dirty. Black & Blue is grossly misplaced, looking like a cavernous, empty, shiny insult to the neighbouring Ginger Pig. I never went to the Oyster place. The sushi restaurant is uninviting. None of the pubs serve anything remotely edible. This could well be the Market’s first proper restaurant that feels like it actually belongs there.
Borough is a food enigma, and over the last few years has begun to spiral into a joke what with the former MD being a tit, the rampaging tourism, the neverending rail bridge build, booting out great traders and the overall quality of available produce being a bit embarrassing. It is a place of queues and disappointed tourists chewing on disappointing takeaway sandwiches. I worked next to Borough for nearly two years, and watched this steady, gradual decline happen right infront of me. I saw legions of sandwich-chewers wondering what the fuck all the fuss was about. Any small town market across the Channel makes Borough look like the preening, over-praised street-bauble it really is.
So I was excited to go back for the first time in months to see what Elliot’s had done. Maybe they’d captured the essence of what it used to be and had made good on their mission of uncomplicated, good food using market traders to source ingredients.
We ordered burgers. They took about 25 minutes to arrive. At the time of writing, they are only available at lunchtime. They come served with shoestring fries, which I left most of. Shoestrings can be amazing, but these were like a plateful of the broken bits you get in the bottom of a bag of McCoy’s. Hard to eat.
They were also accompanied by a few slices of pickled cucumber. I would prefer a proper dill pickle, but can get behind the sentiment. There was also an excellent homemade spicy ketchup.
As for the burger, it’s not as revelatory as others are suggesting. The beef is excellent quality and very tasty. The olive oil bun is the best thing on the plate. Soft, yet solid enough to prevent any spillage. The cheese is salty and posh, and therefore not quite melted properly, and I think there are some onions in there too. My main complaint is the lack of saucing. After a lacklustre first half, I emptied the remainder of the aforementioned spicy ketchup, and the whole thing improved immeasurably. Had there been a mayonnaise in that bun, and perhaps some mustard to wake up the beef, I think this could be a real contender as a top London British burger. Bread nerds should certainly sample the bun: it’s really excellent.
I think Elliot’s is lovely. Borough does finally have a restaurant that matches its aesthetic, and everything else on the short, simple menu sounded great.
I think they’ve succeeded with everything they were trying to do and I hope the rest of the area can start to meet this new standard.
- Elliot’s serves cheeseburgers on weekday lunchtimes.