On Monday was the third round of quarter finals for the Burger Monday Championships hosted by Young and Foodish. The contestants were the current champions Bleeker Burger VS D’n’Flip, both bringing out strong contenders!
When I arrived at the venue, there were already small lines forming for both burger stands. Bleeker had bought their own van and the smell of meat and cheese was in the air. I decided to start things off by joining the Bleeker queue. I’m a big fan of BleekerBurger, and have had their burgers on several occasions on the southbank where they are normally based. For the competition they had “A Rare Breed” which was made up of two medium/rare beef patties and two slices of american cheese along with bbq sauce and and mayo. A simple sounding burger, especially when compared to the kind of burgers the chefs normally bring out for these contests, the Bleeker Burger did not disappoint.
One of the best things about Bleeker Burger, and the reason why they’re high up on my “best burgers of London” is because they are consistently amazing. They have a high standard, and every time I’ve had one of their burgers that standard has always been met. This burger was no exception. As always, the patty was juicy and moist, the beef full of flavour. The cheese melted perfectly and everything sandwiched together in a soft white bun. My friend who came along had never had one of their burgers before, and his experience mirrored mine the first time I had one. It’s like discovering something so beautiful and amazing, you can’t quite believe it’s just a burger, and then you wonder what all those other things you’ve eaten before were because this is a burger. The flavours are simple, but strong. They go together well, and I think it says a lot for Bleeker that they don’t feel the need to add anything to their burger, that they came to the competition with just their double cheese burger. They have every right to be proud of it. It’s very hard to fault their burger in anyway, because it really is better than most burgers I get anywhere. However, in the arena of the Burger Monday Championship I was left feeling that something was missing.
I’ve been to two other of the quarter finals, eaten four burgers that were in the running. Bleeker, although they were amazing, just felt like they were in the wrong place. Even when you have an amazing burger such as theirs, it feels like you’re under dressing for the event. Whilst other chefs have gone out of their way to create something new and exciting, I felt that the Bleeker burger perhaps needed to show they had more creativity and flexibility. Really up their game, show us that their burger has even more potential. Perhaps it’s greedy of me to ask this, because truly, they are amazing. But something small inside of me was disappointed that Bleeker didn’t add some zing, or crunch. Some new texture to assault our sense or some new flavour to take us off our guard.
D’n’Flip on the other hand were a completely new burger company to me. I had never heard of them before, not around town or amongst my friends. They are very proud of their gravy, which comes with the burger and makes up the “dip” part of their name. Their burger was very big when it came out, on a tray with a bowl of gravy. A bowl of gravy! The burger itself consisted of a beef patty which is “smashed” on the griddle, white cabbage slaw and pickles, american cheese and tomato ketchup. It’s tall, especially compared to the Bleeker Burger. The two burgers are very different, which makes for an interesting competition.
When I bite into the brioche bun (which are all the rage at the moment) I realise it’s a great choice because the Dip’n’Flip burger is really really juicy. Plus, it’s meant to be dipped in the gravy, so the bun really has to be firm and hold everything together. The gravy is an amazing accompaniment. It makes the entire dish that little bit more meaty, and I’ve always been a fan of extra moisture. I think I read somewhere that asian people produce less saliva when eating that caucasians so I normally have to have a drink when I eat. Not with this burger though! The meaty flavour is contrasted by the pickles which are sour and nice. The soft texture of the patty and bun are met with the crunchy slaw, and overall the burger isn’t as hard to eat as I thought perhaps it would be. I really enjoy it.
I voted for the Dip’n’Flip burger because it had everything I wanted in a burger, and also because it surprised me. It had contrasted flavours and textures but non of them fought each other. Instead it created something very nice. The Bleeker burger won this round though, and I’m not surprised by that either, because as I have said so much, they really do an absolutely amazing burger. And when it comes down to it, people don’t need the frills, you can have something very simple and just know it’s the best.
photo by Chris Coulson