Guerilla Burgers / West End, London


“I could have cleaned my bath with that burger”

Oh dear. We’re not off to a good start.

Guerilla Burgers opened last week, and we popped in for an evening burger on their second night.

You can still smell the paint on the walls and it’s nestled on James St where Tootsie’s used to be: a culinary black hole of touristic medicocrity. So keeping its youth, inexperience and location in mind, let’s see how they did.

Despite a friend being able to order a medium/rare burger earlier in the day (and enjoying it too), I was denied the same patty treatment and proffered the ‘health and safety’ excuse. Irritating.

Of course when they did show up (roughly 25 minutes later), they were hideously, unforgivably overcooked. Literally crunchy on the outside of the patty. Arid in texture despite pouring over all the sauces we had to hand.

Rodeo Burger

This is a heinous crime when your raison d’etre is making burgers, and a hefty proportion of your overlong menu is given over to a poorly written quasi-diatribe on what makes ‘the perfect burger’.

PS: it’s not burning it.

The burger itself is served in a stainless steel dish (the kind you would typically expect to contain a curry) with the condiments on the side. The buns were neatly toasted, but Rob simply stated through dried-out lips “I could have cleaned my bath with that burger”.

It doesn’t stop there, they serve up crinkle cut chips. Like the ones out of the freezer you used to get round your best mate’s house when you were nine years old. And they haven’t changed a bit from how you remember them: spongy, cold in the middle and not abundant enough to justify their £4 price tag. We also made the error of going for the ‘smothered fries’. Smothering consists of three small morsels of cheddar and a large dollop of sickly veggie chilli. Avoid that upsell.

Crinkle Cut

Something fishy…

The fish tacos are also a country mile away from what fish tacos should be. They’re marinaded salmon, with no breadcrumbs and shop-bought tzatziki slathered over the top. And are cold. So it seems Wahaca still remains the only purveyor of a fish taco resembling something similar to its delicious Califonian brethren.

There are some enormous menu issues going on here. It’s too long and unfocused.

Check out the PDF on their website and witness the layout issues and bizarre menu choices (the LA burger has cottage cheese in it, burger sauce is called ‘Russian Tarragon Dressing’, sliders are called skaters for some incomprehensible reason, I could go on).

Saving graces?

Well the staff were very much full of first-week perk, which would have made us feel guilty about complaining about the food. They were trying really hard, and I can’t blame them for what came out of the kitchen, although arguably a quality control process should be implemented to stop overcooked meat going out.

If they sort out the menu and do some proper testing I might give it another go, but when you’ve got Byron within schlepping distance, then I can’t think of a good reason to go here.

The thing is, it won’t really matter if the food doesn’t get any better. James Street serves the post-Selfridges tourist crowd (we had to wade through big yellow bags on our way out), and it will make no difference to them if whingy blogger types like me continue to opine Byron’s simple genius over GB.

This review is a slightly more focused version of the one I originally posted on Qype

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