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222 Kensington High Street
‘The best burger on the high street’ & other superlatives are regularly tossed in the direction of Byron Hamburgers, the chain that even hipsters will admit to liking. There’s nothing ‘flash or
clever’ about the concept; it’s all about ‘honest, juicy burgers served medium with a proper bun’, plus fries & ‘damn fine’ milkshakes. Gourmet twists are notable for their absence, though
specials surface from time to time – note the cult favourite Big D & the Uncle Sam with a glazed bun & American cheese. The attention to detail extends to the rest of the offering,
including US & British craft beers, soft drinks & decent coffee. Ambience can be anywhere on the mood spectrum, from ‘pleasant hubbub’ to manic. Service puts far posher places to shame.
222 Kensington High Street
020 7361 1717
High Street Kensington Tube Station 367m
Kensington Olympia Station 833m
Design Museum 194m
Holland House Youth Hostel 418m
Mon-Fri 12N-11pm (Fri -11.30pm) Sat-Sun 11am-11.30pm (Sun -10.30)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 2
Yoyos, Tamagotchi, Pogs. They all have one thing in common. They were a passing fad. They made millions of people happy. And they made millions.
There is a fad in the food trade at the moment, but whether or not it is passing remains a question. These booth seating, American food serving, truck stop diner reminding, junk food haunts are here in force.
That description sounds negative but it really isn’t. I love the ideas that are coming out.
Burger and Lobster, Patty and Bun, Duck and Waffle. Basically the key seems to be get two base ingredients, stick ‘em together and add frilly bits.
Simple but effective, and on the most part, bloody delicious.
I have been to Bubbledogs in Fitzrovia. It is genius. The simplicity, of putting a frankfurter in a bun then covering it in varying toppings making it a Mexicana, or a New Yorker is so simple. And it tastes good.
Stick a glass of Champagne in someone’s hand and it feels glamourous. Make them queue in the street and it feels exclusive. Execute the service well and the customers will relish the experience (excuse the bun, er pun).
A few years ago I ate at one of the originals, MeatLiquor, pointed out to me by someone with their hipster finger on the pulse. (Just to point out the same friend now has a really long beard, but I still love him).
Again MeatLiquor executed their no plates, finger muching, rough and ready occasion with class.
But there are only so many burgers you can eat in one life time and so picking up on the good fad restaurants is very important. Don’t waste your weekly carbs and meat allowance on one of the sh*t ones.
Unfortunately, this week I did. And I hope it wasn’t the moment that the fad reached saturation point.
I have heard so many good things about Byron Burger. In fact they must have been doing fairly well because they can boast 36 diners across London with a 37th soon to be opening in Holborn.
Popping out for a spot of lunch I used the website’s “nearest Byron” locater which lead me to Kensington High Street.
With the sniffery infused West London clientele to satisfy, I figured that this was probably going to be one of the better of the chain’s locations. It didn’t have the lights and whistles of the Hammersmith branch just up the road, but I wasn’t going to walk the extra mile for what should surely be the same offering.
It didn’t start well. Craft beers are all the rage, and places like Bubbledogs have tapped into that market, offering beers that are hard to track down anywhere else. So I chose the in-house Byron Lager.
“We don’t have the Byron Lager”, she says. I didn’t want to go all Larry David and so held back from asking where else I could possibly get a Bloody Byron Beer if not from Bloody Byron Burger.
I took on a small Peroni instead. Out comes a large one. Normally I wouldn’t quibble, but I was working and had to drive later.
They took it back.
The second attempt featured a small Peroni with a glass tumbler. The tumbler was battered and scratched to within an inch of its life. I actually don’t mind that, it shows use and character.
However, I don’t particularly like my tumblers with a side order of mayonnaise, despite its beautiful nouvelle cuisine-style smear down the side. Well at least I hope it was mayonnaise.
The home of the “proper burger”. A great sound byte. I am not sure if you can sue under the trade descriptions act, but there was nothing “proper” about it, unless by “proper” you mean proper similar to Wimpy.
To be fair, the actual meat patty was cooked well. But the refrigerator tinged bun, stalk end of a lettuce leaf and token tomato and onion slices were pretty pathetic. Oh and there’s the mayonnaise again.
Are they trying to fob hipsters and fad chasers into thinking that it’s just really trendy to be crap?
“Oh you will love it Gilligan, they serve it up on an already greasy piece of grease proof paper and there is open plan kitchen where you can watch the chefs carry a dirty table outside before picking up your plate and handing it to you. It’s just sooooo Shoreditch!”
From the picture you can also see a lonely gherkin, quartered length ways, (I guess that is arty), stuck on the side of the plate looking very sorry for itself. I was just grateful it didn’t have mayonnaise down the side of it as well.
I left there genuinely wishing I had got a Burger King. It would have been half the price and at least there, you already know that once you’ve ordered and eaten there will be feeling of melancholy and regret.
As I unchained my penny farthing, tied back my hair and put on my Morrissey record I couldn’t help but ponder – “Oh well, only 253 burgers left to eat then.”
Food + drink: 4
Very good service, food and dependability. Everything is possible, everything is fresh and most importantly everything tastes great. If only some more expensive restaurants in London could achieve this level of service. Well done!
If you can stand the noise from the screaming kids and the head-thumping volume of music, then it's a great place to grab a burger… I have decided that a pair of ear plugs for my next visit will alleviate most of my problem. The chocolate milkshake is really good, perfectly thick and really creamy and delicious and I always have to have one before my meal. I go for the classic burger with bacon which is the perfect size for a hungry gal like me. My only gripe about the burger is that I hate buns that are dusted with flour! They give me the shivvers as I bite into them… That's obviously personal taste, but luckily peeling the flour-crusted top off the bun is very easy, so everyones happy! The Byron burger is another alternative and comes with a cheese and a thousand island sauce, kind of like a big mac, I guess. I would recommend sharing a portion of fries as it can become too much.
I have never, to date, managed to make it to dessert, so I couldn't comment… But overall Byron is the best burger on the high street, beating the likes of Gourmet Burger Kitchen and all the other contenders hands down.
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