Theatreland Smackdown / Mishkin's vs. Opera Tavern / Covent Garden, London


With the Opera Tavern still burning a hole in our burger To Do list, we thought it time to get around to sampling the high ranking Ibérico Pork and Foie Gras Burger. Unable to get through during the day and book over the blower, we thought we’d chance it. On a Friday night. Smart, right?

When we got there though, we were met with the predictably sharp intake of breath from the maître d’ and an hour long wait for a couple of seats at the bar. So what to do in the meantime? Well, Mishkin’s is right next door, so why not go and try the burger they were sold out of last time?

They have two stools at the bar free in the corner. Plan.

We set about some boss gin cocktails - one of which is brilliant because it’s served in a Tesco’s Finest jam jar.

We order a couple of 3oz steamed beef patties with onions & Swiss cheese. What promptly arrived was a half-size burger glistening with steam. Looking closer, it was clear - it’s a slider. It’s an actual fucking slider! None of this meatball in a bun bullshit. The patty had been cooked on the onions and then cheese added.

We’re ecstatic.

The patty was spot on medium, and juicy as hell, the flavour from the onions penetrating into the meat creating a really succulently rich onion gravy. The Swiss was TV advert stretchy, gooey, and popped a little cheesy nuttiness in. The bun was warm and pillow-soft from being steamed. Every bite was melty greatness. A triumph.

We get the call whilst paying the Mishkin’s tab that our space at the bar next door is free, so it’s a three second hop to the Opera Tavern for round two.

The burgers arrived, similarly sized, a blackened puck of meat tucked into a pale, floury bun.

One bite, and it immediately feels like you’re eating fancy home barbecue. The patty was expertly charred, giving it a hard crunchy crust, but within the soft and pink middle yielded easily. The pork had a deceptively beefy wallop, perhaps aided by the addition of the foie gras.

The floury bap was a touch disappointing, being a little dry. But the sweet onions, deeply infused with a rich red wine just about made up for it. A sprinkle of battered red onion added an additional unique crunch to the ensemble.

Finish Him!

But which is the mini-burger to rule them all? Whilst similar in size, they are both pleasingly contrasting, and served to split B/A opinion. Rob found it hard to fault the Mishkin’s slider, Simon preferred the freshness of the Tavern’s effort.

We say, screw it, do what we did and go eat both. They are next door to each other, how much more fortunate can you get!

Just a quick postscript on the Opera Tavern - we both agreed it was a superb establishment. The scotch egg and crispy pig’s ears were wonderful, as was the wine. We hope to go back for a less fleeting visit in the near future.

  • Rob & Simon.
Finest Gin Cocktail
Mishkin's Slider
Mishkin's Slider split
Opera Tavern Pork Burger
Mishkin's on Urbanspoon
Opera Tavern on Urbanspoon

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