Brioche Burger – WalthamstowHALAL STATUS Fully Halal (HMC certified)
The last time we visited them in Walthamstow, we were left gobsmacked by the introduction of a new menu conceived and executed by the Brioche Burger’s newly appointed Executive Head Chef.
With 10 years experience acquired under chefs no less than two Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett, he served us Halal burgers the likes of which we’d hadn’t had before and, frankly speaking, haven’t had since.
The only difference this time round, and a major one at that, is that the position of head chef has since changed hands. This, of course, raised the obvious question: would the skills required in matching the exacting standards needed to reproduce the magic we enjoyed back in early 2017 be replicated?
A good trio of drinks with the best one being the Mojito on account of its zesty citrusiness.
The Strawberry Lemonata with its syrupy slushiness came in a close second, and the relatively sweet, fairly creamy Pina Colada being decent.
As a reminder, apart from the wagyu selection, all of Brioche Burgers’ beef burgers are “made with 28 day aged Aberdeen Angus meat, the best of british”.
They also happen to be “the only restaurant in London to serve, HMC certified, grass fed Aberdeen Angus & Wagyu, perfectly aged for 21 days or more”.
Let’s start with one of our favourite burgers, The Super Saiyan; and remind ourselves of the inquiry: will the standards set by the genius who first introduced this (and the Roger Rabbit below) to London’s Halal culinary scene be maintained?
For one, the quantity of crispy cabbage and egg yolk curls was far greater than the previous version, making this appear less refined.
Secondly, while this was a very good burger in its own right, with plenty going on and a beautifully succulent wagyu patty, the flavours simply weren’t as harmonious nor did they take us on that symphonic journey of enjoyment we experienced the first time round.
In fact, that humongous crispy mound adversely impacted on the overall flavours of the burger to the extent that, we felt, it detracted from the natural umami taste of the beef patty.
A solid wagyu burger in its own right, but missing the sophisticated touch of the hands that created v1.0!
There hasn’t been a restaurant we haven’t re-reviewed that hasn’t induced some level of retrospective disappointment. Let’s face it, trying to recreate things to the same standards of the day before requires immense skill and precision, even for the best of them, let alone one who’s had a change of kitchen management.
Having said that, we cannot hide the fact that this Roger Rabbit caused the biggest disappointment. Despite allegedly using the same ingredients, this looked absolutely nothing like its older sibling. In fact, you’d think they were born of different civilisations, let alone mothers!
Not only was this more expensive by a whole quid (welcome to Brexit-limbo folks!), but it was far poorer in all possible ways.
While the first, described as “arguably the best veggie burger we’ve EVER had”, offered an extraordinary interplay of flavours and textures, with the spinach & mozzarella patty, falafel disc and sunny side egg all executed so well, this didn’t quite do it for us.
Here, the portobello mushroom had been fried in a panko-style breadcrumb coating which, when bitten into, just released a shed load of water, while also being spongy and wet in texture. Need we carry on?
Having said all that about the Roger Rabbit, this Don Vito, in spite of its humble appearance, was, for one reason and one reason alone, our stand out burger of the review.
And that one reason is also the main difference between this wagyu burger and The Super Saiyan: we could actually taste the meat for all it’s worth!
When you have such good quality meat that’s been perfectly seasoned, unless you’re a master at juggling a plethora of ingredients in a way which allows the patty to remain the star of the show, what’s the point of risking losing it in translation? Let the meat sing for all its worth; and this is exactly what the Don Vito did, with its 6oz patty being subtly complimented by the four other condiments.
And if the Don Vito was our favourite, this Fresh Prince wasn’t too far behind. As their take on the famous Philly Cheese Steak, this was just as delicious as the first time we tried it some four years ago, if not more so.
Wonderfully executed, and containing strips of Prime Angus Rump, with just the right level of soft chewiness to have us masticating over and over in gleeful delight.
The piquancy of the American cheese worked really well against the sweet smokiness imparted by the thin slices of red peppers, caramelised onions, and plenty of ketchup and mustard.
It’s extraordinary to see the evolutionary journey of a restaurant, particularly from the point of its inception.
We hadn’t had the Lone Ranger since our very first visit to Brioche Burger’s first branch (subsequently closed) in Green Street’s East Shopping Centre way back in 2015.
The more literal interpretation of crispy fried onions has now been replaced by the dried crumbly kind, and plenty of it too.
What impressed us so much with the previous version was not just the quality of the beef, but also the “homemade spicy BBQ sauce” used therein.
And we’re happy to say that although the sauce in this version didn’t quite elicit the same reaction, this was, nonetheless, a deliciously good burger, albeit a quid more dearer.
The Cojack was, indeed, a huge mouthful. With 2 4oz patties topped with chicken bacon, which could have, in all honesty, been more crispier, be sure to have quite the appetite before attempting this.
The beef was beautifully soft and succulent, and was well complimented by the cheddar cheese and sweet sauce. A classic combination that works well.
The Macho Nachos are Brioche Burger’s most popular sides, and we can understand why.
When you have freshly fried tortillas offering that touch of crumbly airiness; and you couple that with a tangy-cum-spicy homemade salsa, along with the trio of strategically-layered cheeses marrying nicely with the heat of the jalapenos, this is always going to be a dish you’ll be wanting to come back for.
Although we recall the predecessor having more of firmness to them, these were far more generously smothered in their “special” chilli sauce.
However, this could be where the fault lay, since we found these to be a little too soggy for our liking.
What we would prefer in so-called dirty chips, is a combination of the fries retaining some firmness while at the same time being nicely doused in a given sauce. A difficult thing to do we know, but therein lies the challenge.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- FREE WI-FI
In this case, you couldn't get more drastic than the changing of hands of the head chef of Brioche Burger. The challenge for them was to replace a chef, who'd plied his trade at high end, fine dining kitchens under Michelin-starred teachers, and who'd introduced some incredible new additions to their menu. In fact, so good were these additions, that we've held Brioche Burger as the pinnacle of all Halal burger restaurants.
And the first indication of a failure in maintaining those standards, either by way of design or culinary limitations, was with the move in stripping back and simplifying said menu. Hence, no longer will you find that divinely good 'Oh My COD' burger, whose panko cod, black olives tapenade, parsley salad, red pepper mayo and confit tomatoes had us enjoying it by the seaside. Nor will you have the pleasure of trying that super food vegan curried quinoa tabouleh, or their fancy-dressed rendition of the classic chicken ceasar salad, the Chicken Like a Ceasar.
Another noticeable absence, also introduced at around the same time, were the wagyu steaks. In this case, however, this could have been down to their evident poor quality more than anything else.
In any case, the Halal burgers that set the bar for all others to emulate, are, we're sad to say, not as high. Hardly surprising really when one has the rare luxury of the services of a chef of such calibre.
Having said all that though, the burgers at Brioche Burger certainly aren't bad. Quite the contrary; these still remain some of the best Halal burgers you're going to find in London and beyond.
Things change; people move on; restaurants adapt over time - but, that's just part of the journey of a restaurateur's life! The important thing is, we've secured for you a 30% discount running into the blessed month of Ramadan.
PARKING PERMITS: These are available for paying customers at request from the restaurant for limited parking spaces across the road.
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