Honest Burgers @ Portobello Road
Our favourites, Honest Burgers have opened up a new location in the rather fancypants area of Portobello Road. From its humble beginnings in Brixton only 2 years ago, Honest Burgers has quickly climbed the ranks of the various burger joints in London and is now always ranked in the top 10. Its growth is remarkable given the fierce competition from homegrown burger chefs and imported foreign talents.
Some people might confuse the name “Honest Burgers” with the current trend for responsibly sourced, GM free, organic produce. What Honest Burgers is about, honestly, is just damned fine burgers which are beautifully British and independently made. Quite frankly, if you are a burger fan you will already have eaten at Honest Burgers. If you haven’t, you should stop reading now and go straight there. Their burgers are almost beyond comparison, and for us, really are the best London has to offer (and we should know!). We have actually taken a number of Americans to Honest Burgers given that they are self proclaimed burger experts (they’re also fat), and they’ve all come away in awe.
If we had to pick our absolutely favourite burger from Honest Burgers menu, we’d have to go for the cheese burger. Their patties are well textured and sized, incredibly juicy, and the cheese (preferably red leicster), onion relish and salad only add to the flavours rather than detract or just provide some texture. In addition to this are their legendary rosemary fries. They aren’t thick cut, but neither are they particularly thin like traditional fries, occupying an odd middle ground where they’ve been tossed about with rosemary and served up incredibly hot. The variety of beer served up in Honest Burgers is also rather nice, because as everyone knows, you have to have a beer with a burger, although perhaps a range of local microbrews would be more appropriate. The most frustrating thing, other than waiting for a space to sit, is the fact that when you are seated, you have to wait for food – and that means seeing and smelling everyone elses. Good problems I guess.
Honest Burgers restaurants, having now visited them all, are not large places. Hell, even using the word ‘restaurant’ makes me think we could get sued under the trade descriptions act. These are cubby holes with a few seats which spill out on to the road. The focus is on the food, not on how much space you have to park your arse. They don’t take bookings either, so large parties might now want to chance showing up at regular serving hours. Fortunately, Honest Burgers operating a waiting list, so you can leave your details, head off somewhere nearby to work up an appetite, then rock back on over when there is space available.
Interestingly, Honest Burgers in Portobello is a bit of a departure from this style, with its clean design, white walls and bright lights. There doesn’t look like a lot of space, but then there is also a downstairs with additional seating, so if it looks too busy at first glance, don’t just walk off, you’ll be missing out. Both floors have their open kitchens, where you can watch your burgers being flipped. We must admit, Honest Burgers on Portobello Road is probably our favourite of them all now. Although, given its location, it is likely to attract an interesting crowd. A lot of people are put off by the hipster crowds that seem to circle Honest Burgers, but don’t be, you can force your way through to gloriously good food.
Honest Burgers are also into their philanthropy, and this week they are running the very best kind of charity event at the Portobello Road restaurant. On Sunday 13th October, there is an ‘honest pay’ evening – you pay what you think your meal was worth, with all revenues going to The Prince’s Trust. If this is a success (and how can it not be?), then there will be more of them at their other London venues. So get on down, eat several burgers, enjoy their rosemary fries, and pay what you genuinely believe the food is worth with all the money going to The Prince’s Trust.