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The MO Burger, Byron, Spitalfields

1 Nov

LOCATION: Byron, 3-6 Stewart Street, E1 6FQ [map] (but available at all branches of Byron)

PRICE: £8.75 (or, FREE between 7-20th November, 3-6pm for those who can show they’ve raised £25 or more for Movember).

BREAD: Sesame seeded glazed bun.

FILLING: Hamburger patty, cheddar cheese, pickled red onion rings, salted cucumber slices, iceberg lettuce, mustard dill dressing.

PROS: This is one TASTY BOIGER! I’ve always thought Byron burgers are remarkably good considering they’re a chain; to keep the quality when you’re shifting such quantity must be very tricky indeed. I’m rarely a fan of cheddar in a burger but the richness of it works here, and it’s all down to those glorious pickled onions. I adore pickles of any kind. My mother once told me I used to eat so many pickles as a child that my lips would turn white, which I’d argue raises questions about her parenting but still, it makes my point here rather nicely. Cheers mum. The salted cucumber slices are very crisp, uniform and plentiful. I want them in all my burgers and most of my sandwiches. These, together with the dill dressing (brushed on to the top half of the bun), remind me a lot of the Elliot’s burger I tried (and loved) a while back.

The best thing about this burger is obviously that it’s been created for charidee; 50p from every MO burger sold will go to support Movember, adding to the £60,000 that Bryon has raised for the cause over the last two years. That’s pretty damn impressive. Also, if you’re taking part and have managed to raise £25 or more and can prove it, you can scarf one of these burgers for free between 3-6pm from 7-20th November, every day.

CONS: Nah, it’s a fantastic burger for a really worthy cause. You can hit the road if you think I’m criticising that.

SCORE: 10/10

Salt Beef Bagel at Beigel Bake, Brick Lane

25 May

LOCATION: Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB [map]

PRICE: £3. 70 (possibly)

BREAD: White bagel

FILLING: Salt beef, mustard, PICKLES (we’ll get to those shortly)

PROS: Ahhh Beigel Bake, you nostalgia arousing, late night vending, hangover soothing old friend, you…KISSES. Me and BB, we got history, see? I can’t begin to count the amount of times I’ve staggered over that threshold, drunk as a skunk. I’m in and out in a matter of minutes, clutching my beefy booze sponge. Efficient. I want to love it and hug it and squeeze it but mostly, I want to get it in my face. It’s best not to look directly at me while I’m doing that by the way, a bit like the way one shouldn’t look directly at the sun. That shit can get a little explicit. Beigel Bake is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for all your drunken needs. This of course means it’s also there for you when you’re hungover, which is how I found myself queuing up on Sunday afternoon, shuffling along, semi-catatonic, pawing at the wall for stability. I never order anything but the salt beef, which they cut into soft slabs of obscenely pink meat, gilded with glistening wibbly fat. Melty. There’s mustard of course and it’s proper gnarly – the kind that shoots up your nose and gives you a head rush; a bit like an Embassy Number One at 6am. In fact the mustard is one of my favourite things about Beigel Bake, largely because when you say that you would like some, they shout, “ONE WIV!” at the bagel assembly person down the front. He doesn’t respond; he just gets on with the spreading, the slicing, the wrapping, the twenty four seven churning…I’ve met only one person who lives in London and doesn’t like Beigel Bake. He’s American. Go figure. Over and out.

CONS: I always seem to forget (nothing to do with the fact I’m always inebriated when I visit) that pickles do not come as standard and need to be requested as an extra (for 50p). This means I ended up, yet again, with no pickles in my bagel. I was on the verge of calling Amnesty International. Why not offer them at least? Point. Lost.

SCORE: Nostalgia + booze = 7/10