The best burger in London?

I admit, lunching on a burger when one is attempting to reduce the amount of processed food in one’s diet does not really seem to be in keeping with the spirit of said attempt. But this burger was different. Really.

It was a late lunch – 2PM – and, despite having cottage cheese and fruit (pineapple, grapes, and strawberries) for breakfast, I was quite hungry. It had just started to rain, and the closest option for a reliably tasty meal in a comfortable atmosphere was the new Smollensky’s Metro (Warning: It’s a Flash monstrosity of a site) on Charing Cross Road. I’d been in there once before with colleagues, and we were all very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the burgers. Apparently they are made from prime selected cattle which have lived a life of traditional grass grazing, then been hung on the bone – all of which is supposed to make for the best flavour.

My lunch partner was blogging guru Adriana Cronin-Lukas, who had just completed a day and a half of consultancy for one of the clients of the search engine marketing company for which I work. Adriana is quite health-conscious, too, so I wasn’t sure how she’d feel about a burger. As soon as she saw that they are served on sourdough buns, though, she was in. Another bonus: Smollensky’s is one of the few restaurants in London which will still serve burgers cooked medium rare, which is how both of us ordered ours. They come with salad only on the side; chips – served ‘wet’ (with gravy) or dry (without) – cost extra, which Adriana and I agree is a good thing.

The combination of the delicious meat and the excellent sourdough bread makes for one of the best burgers I have had in London; Adriana judged it to be the best she has had in this city, and she’s lived here a good few years longer than I have. They are far better than at places like Joe Allen’s in Covent Garden, where so many people claim the burgers are superb. Those are average; the Smollensky’s burger was legendary. You can turn your nose up at the idea of eating at a chain – and an American-inspired one at that – but then you’ll be stuck eating a mediocre patty of beef from frozen, not me.