Patty & Bun

“Don’t believe the hype.”

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People seem to have this inherent obsession with queuing, it is not something I regard as an enjoyable pastime. So what leads the ignorant public to willingly jump in a line longer than the Great Wall, for an experience they often know nothing about? Hype, that’s what.

Right now in London there are two things which are causing a particular stir in the modern day social eating scene. One of them is a host of new walk-in restaurants where booking is deemed some sort of relic of past ages and queuing is the new “in”, don’t you know darling… The second is this huge craze for burger joints, one popping up on every conceivable corner, each claiming by reputation to be the “BESTEST” ever. I must say that as a food writer I do buy in to some of this hype, I mean there’s no better way to find out about a great new place than word of mouth. However I absolutely hate queuing, the only exception to justifying a ridiculous wait is if the experience following your ordeal is mind-blowingly amazing. Let me tell you, Patty & Bun is not.

This tiny burger joint has had a lot of buzz surrounding it for quite some time since it opened last year. It gets rave reviews and ranks in the top 5 of almost every burger review article online, so I went to investigate with a few friends. We arrived at 5.50pm to beat the queue, and in a way we did. The line was quite short so we stood out in the street, they don’t have a waiting area or bar so patrons are banished to the cold and lonely pavement (I’m being a little theatrical, it is summer after all). It took a ridiculous 45 minutes to reach the table, no matter how short the queue is, the miniscule capacity holds up the flow of diners massively. This ‘no booking’ system is great for drumming up initial popularity for the business but not for the diner, and it works detrimentally in the long run as it discourages repeat customers.

So we’re in, yes! Ready for the ‘bestest’ burger ever? Actually it was pretty decent, quite tasty and well put together; nice brioche bun, fresh salad, tasty homemade sauce. If I’m nitpicking, which I am definitely allowed to do when it comes to something as simple as a burger, then I would say that they were slightly too salty, the patty was a little firm and also ‘medium’ when they said it would be ‘medium rare’. By no means the perfect burger, but not a bad attempt. The side dishes were were substandard, semi-crispy fries with rosemary salt that tastes nothing of rosemary, and dodgy smoked confit wings, covered in a black, gungy, bitter glaze, truly disgusting. Is this what I wanted to wait almost an hour for? Would you?

I’ll tell you what, I would come back here again for one of their burgers, IF there was no queue. As the line had grown to 4 times the size of before at this point, we can safely write off my return. I would much rather just go to a chain like ‘Byron‘ and have an average but decent burger without the wait, than put my self through the gauntlet again and arrive at the other end with not much to show for it other than a mouthful of broken teeth.

It’s officially a fact, the British are delusional when it comes to burgers and we just can’t touch the USA. The best we have to offer sits somewhere in the middle to lower end of the scale in their standings. I’m not entirely sure why we can’t compete with something as simple as a burger, it’s embarrassing but I guess it is what it is. If you ever find yourself in California, you’ll start to see what perfect burgers should be like, let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction. Oh and just a reminder, don’t believe the hype.

D.

Patty & Bun
54 James Street
London W1U 1HE

+4420 7487 3188
www.pattyandbun.co.uk

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