There’s been a lot of buzz about Bleecker St.’s burgers in my small, tightly knit burger circles lately. One of my favourite Instagram food blogs, New York-based Devour Power, even added a Bleecker St. double cheeseburger to its must-do list of tasty London treats. And as I happened to find myself in Southbank the day I saw the mouthwatering post, I figured the stars had aligned.
The Bleecker St. container setup has grown since the last time I was under Hungerford Bridge. A wide food court and opposing bar container (with WAY overpriced beers) have been added, setting the joint up as more of an informal restaurant than a simple caravan burger by the Thames.
The line is intense and the crew is working hard to manage customers’ expectations. It looks like a neat operation, just way more of a mass production line than I’d imagined. I order a bacon cheeseburger and some fries and hang onto my vibrating pager for what feels like forever. When it finally lights up I head over to the counter and collect my burger and fries.
Instantly I’m shocked by how small it is. I see lettuce on some of the other burgers and ask if I can get a leaf. “We don’t put lettuce on cheeseburgers,” is the reply. But she takes the burger back and a slice of green is added anyway – anything to bulk it up a bit.
The burger doesn’t last long and my opinion’s made up just as quickly. The meat’s cooked perfectly and bursting with flavour. But the burger’s tiny; the “craft” burger equivalent of McDonald’s 99p cheeseburger. I mean, the bacon’s cooked just right, the onions taste great, but overall it’s just plain and instantly forgettable. Nothing special. Not made with any love or devotion.
And to top it off, the roll tastes cheap and inconsequential. Like a dry toasted sesame bun you’d buy in a plastic bag from Sainsbury’s. Really, whoever voted Bleecker St. London’s best burger for Time Out magazine in 2015 needs to get out more.