When Burger Club picked Lucky Chip’s Rudolph Burger for Christmas dinner, I have to admit, I came down with a bad case of FoMO. And top of my Burger Buyer’s Remorse list was BIRD’s mighty Crimbo Burger. But, as you’ll remember, the trip to Lucky Chip worked out pretty well for me, and there’s no reason I can’t try another Christmas burger – or all of them – this festive period. After all, ’tis the season to stuff your face, relatively guilt free.
I leave it late, but finally, when the leftovers have run dry, I grab two buddies and head down to BIRD’s Holloway Road joint for another Christmas dinner. The first thing we say to our waitress is, “Please tell us you have Crimbo Burgers.” She looks at us, blankly, giving nothing away. “Just let me check with the kitchen,” she replies. Then she disappears. We sit in anxious silence, nervously hoping for the breast. Needless to say, it’s a long minute.
“We’re all good guys,” she says. “We’ve got a few left. But I think today’s the last day.” Hallelujah, it’s a Christmas miracle. We order three, with Cheesy Korean Fries and pints of London Pale Ale all round.
When the burgers arrive they’re breathtaking. There’s no other way to describe them. We literally stare at them, without breathing, our faces frozen with a mixture of disbelief and excitement. In photos, the Crimbo Burger looks almost unreal. Photoshopped, even. Yet here’s an identical trio of them, looking just as beautiful, delicious and vertical as BIRD’s Instagram account would have you believe.
First, I pick off my bacon-wrapped jalapeño popper starter. And the well-dressed mini sausages pop in my mouth, exploding with cheese, pork, bacon and tangy jalapeño. Impressively, the burger has two wooden skewers through it; one for the poppers and another larger one to support the rest of the burger. Someone knows what they’re doing.
I squash my burger so there’s a small chance it might fit in my mouth. And wow. Panko-coated fried brie erupts in my mouth, squirting everywhere as I sink my teeth in. It’s backed up by a sweet cranberry glaze and BIRD’s trademark crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside free range fried chicken. And it’s all held together by the burger’s crunchy, hash brown-like sage and onion stuffing patty. The combination of flavours and textures, of sweet, sour, crunchy, hot and saucy, is mesmerising. I just can’t get it back in my mouth quick enough.
I do hit a wall, though. I think it’s the stuffing. But it all tastes so good, I keep going. In hindsight, I rush it. All that anticipation and it’s over in minutes. Still, every bite was so full of flavour and personality, maybe that’s all I needed. All I could take.
I pick at my neglected fries and parsnip crisps, sip on my full beer and try to wrap my head around what I’ve just eaten. Decadent. Heavenly. And way too dangerous to add to the regular BIRD menu. Once a year will do. Or not. What a burger…