Again with the Marylebone. The way burger places continue to sprout up round here it won't be long before we're stumbling across them with more regularity than Pret A Manger.
What is it about this place that draws the patty smashers here? Have the City of Westminster slashed business rates up this way or something? Does anyone give a shit? With one of us working around the corner, it just means we can saunter in and grab burgers for lunch with gay greasy abandon. And the fact that Slabs offers take away service, made the opportunity to try it out all the easier.
Waiting for our burger gave us a chance to clock the place, which has the air of a classy, refined-dining affair: lined with clean, bright colours (the 'exposed' brickwork is painted white), surfaces are shiny and plastered with marble or granite. Trendy bare light bulbs hang from knotted rope, the booze selection behind the bar is proudly back-lit, and there is champagne brazenly on display. They even have a hostess station in front. At a burger place. Really.
Apart from the leaves of round lettuce hanging over like an oversized pashmina, the burger looked pretty decent when unwrapped, with the copious and wonderfully-melted Monterey Jack drooling all over the place. The sesame-topped brioche was nicely glazed and well toasted, but the buttery yellow innards were a touch chewy, and was a bit too thin to hold everything packed inside.
The patty was thick, and whilst not inspiring was nicely seasoned, though sadly over-cooked past the medium promised. The pleasing lashings of cheese added a slightly salty tang and good chewiness to it. The standard tomato and lettuce were accompained by thin slithers of cucumber, a monocled-wink to the clientele being attracted, which added a novel freshness.
It was a nice contrast to the vast quantities of condiment, identified as 'onion relish' on the menu, which wins the award by for closest replica to Big Mac sauce you'll find in London by some strokes (having eaten Big Mac Sauce by the spoonful, we can safely say we can recognise the nuances instantly). It tastes exactly the same, down to the flecks of pickle in it, but fresher than manufactured. There are flecks of onions too, to be fair. Ah, now the menu description makes sense...
This burger is pretty decent. In large parts due to the familiarity the sauce imparts on the palate. It is not exceptional.
However, the guise of the restaurant puts it at an advantage: in an area so target-rich with burgers, it doesn't seem stupid to carve a niche for those too refined to slum it with the great unwashed in the queues of MEATliquor, or be subjected to reading the menu off of pieces of hanging cardboard at Tommi's.
Kate Hudson and her perma-gurning boyfriend have been here. It's like New Cavendish Street is the new fucking Melrose or something. In this way, Slabs would suffice for business meetings, a work do, or a date who thought that eating a burger was a giggle-inducingly novel idea.
- PS. putting service charge on take away is not cool bro.
A short list of rejected names for SLABS
- NOT NUGGETS
- HUNK CHUNKS
- WIDE STRIPS
- FAT SLICE
- BUN PRICK
- INGOTS O' BEEF
- COW BASTARD