Make no mistake, this decision was not entered into lightly. Burger Club’s end of year Christmas blowout called for a festive burger of immense proportions. Something special and exotic, the kind of Christmas-only decadence that makes your mouth dribble just reading about it. And finally, after digging around on Instagram for weeks and weighing up our options, we narrowed it down to three; MEATliquor’s XXXmas Burger, the Hawksmoor Christmas Burger and Lucky Chip’s Rudolph Burger. In the end we chose Rudolph to guide our burger sleigh tonight.
Some burger joints haven’t embraced the OTT festive period. While some have, but haven’t bothered to shoot their creations professionally. I was especially let down by two of my favourites, Patty & Bun and Stokey Bears (didn’t even play). Lucky Chip, on the other hand, went all out. Their expertly shot, creatively put-together “Santa’s Special,” the Rudolph Burger, ticks all the boxes; deer patty, stilton, applewood smoked bacon, aioli and an intriguing blueberry, blackberry and gin jam. My tongue does cartwheels now, just thinking about it.
Nestled in Ridley Food Market, Lucky Chip, Dalston is the ultimate gentrified hipster burger joint. It’s literally across the road from a group of local butcheries and your table view prominently features hung animal carcasses, heads and other bloody goodies. Inside, we’re worlds apart, and the music’s all classic soft hits like Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” and “Eye of the Tiger.”
The beer options are great but super expensive. The Cloudwater double IPAs are £8 a bottle and a can of Beavertown Gamma Ray sets you back a fiver. The staff are super attentive and polite, and their somewhat smug, knowing looks suggest we’re in for something special.
When the burgers arrive, all at once, we’re blown away by the presentation. Forget that scene in Falling Down, where Michael Douglas compares his flat, depressing-looking Whammyburger to the glorious, radiant photo of it on the menus behind the counter. Because the Rudolph Burger is every bit as beautiful in the flesh. It’s a work of art. And my picturesque spicy mayo cheese fries play a decadent supporting role. The table goes quiet as we all nibble at chips and onion rings and size up our first bites.
The perfectly cooked deer patty is juicy, tender and stuffed with flavour, and the applewood bacon is glorious. I still can’t believe it. On its own, I’m not a massive fan of stilton, but paired with the sweet blackberry, blueberry and gin jam the cheese gains unholy gooey superpowers. Throw in a dash of aioli and a bed of rocket and you’ve got something really special.
I try to hold back and make it last but I can’t get the burger back in my mouth quick enough. In a sea of delicious, dynamic, new-age burgers, the Rudolph really is a standout. One of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten, in fact. And I honestly can’t believe how well the flavours compliment each other. Santa knows what he’s doing back there, behind the grill.