Patty & Bun. Burger me.
I am 50 and I am queuing. Something is very wrong. I was thinking that, as I stood outside Patty & Bun today with work room-mate D. I’d been thinking burger since about 10am, as a reward for the late night in the office the night before, getting my Inbox down to zero. Even as I am dispatching emails left right and centre, I know that my priorities are utterly wrong, but there is something fantastically satisfying to a control freak in seeing that empty screen.
And no matter that I know, even as I celebrate the emptiness, that it will all come back at me like a tsunami the very next day, for that moment, for those few minutes, I can pretend that I am totally and utterly IN CONTROL.
So when I ask my room-mate D, drowning under a sea of paper whether she fancies, I expect she will say that she is far too busy for a burger escapade and shame me into restraint. But she surprises me, with her unforced burger enthusiasm and we brave Oxford Street and join the queue.
I ignore the fact :
- that I am the oldest person in that queue by a country mile;
- that everyone must think I’m out with my daughter;
- that my work-y clothes mark me out as an interloper in the world of burger and
- that I am having to stand on a street, in pursuit of food.
20 minutes later and we’re in. I also ignore the fact that as soon as I sit down, my hold-ups get snagged on the splintered bench. This is the price you pay for piggery.
I know what I’m going to order because I have memorised the menu on the outside wall, whilst waiting in the queue. Which I have barely mentioned.
The Ari Gold burger, the chicken wings and the rosemary-salted chips. That’s it. D has the Smokey Robinson, without lettuce and tomato, so I won’t show you that one. It looks wrong. Undressed.
There are already 49 blogposts about Patty & Bun on Urbanspoon. That tells you how popular it is. I will be number 50, which is apt.
I can’t really tell you what made this a great burger, as opposed to one merely good. I just know that it was . Good Aberdeen Angus beef, medium-rare. Decent cheese. A good brioche bun. It had bacon as an extra, smoky mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. All your usual suspects. It’s messy, but not so that you ruin your work clothes. I loved it. I ate half with my hands then gave up and went for the old bag knife-and-fork option. Shoot me, for I have sinned in the world of cool.
The chicken wings were the revelation. Deep fried, with sweet and sour barbecue sauce, they were unctuous, sticky, crispy and gooey. The meat fell off the bone. Spring onions scattered over. Delicious.
Rosemary chips were thinly cut, crispy and good. Don’t even think about not ordering them.
And then, because we really needed, choc-ices. I don’t think I’ve had one since about 1969 and they didn’t have salted caramel or peanut butter ice cream back then.
Remember the 1970’s? You could have what passed for vanilla, or, if you were really lucky, chocolate. Or one of those wafers in the shape of shells with some synthetic marshmallow in them. I thought they were the business. But they were really messy and always melted before you finished them even if you ate as quickly as I did, the mouth acting simply as a funnel. Which must have been a delight to behold.
These were simply rectangular blocks of chocolate-coated ice cream; a lovely and yet entirely unnecessary end to the carb and fat overload we’d just had.
It’s pretty utilitarian here. And of course there’s music. There are about thirty covers. If you go there at normal mealtimes, expect to queue. And if you’ve worked really hard the night before, this will make you feel better. I’ve been trying to break the food as reward thing but I have failed. Food is the best reward and junk food, elevated to this level, the best reward of all.