Hot Pink opened on the Wimbledon broadway a little over a year ago and I’ve only just gotten around to checking it out, despite having lived here for the entire Hot Pink life span. It bills itself as a ‘healthy grill’ and I had such high hopes for their burgers from what I had smelled and seen during countless walk-bys. When I finally sat down to try their burgers, I was pleased with everything except the burgers themselves. I left disappointed, yet hopeful they can redeem themselves.
They have tasty starters, good sides, refreshing drinks, but the burgers taste as if you’ve ordered them from a food truck outside a football ground. And for the life of me I don’t know why! Hot Pink’s website says their beef is British “Red Tractor” approved, but the taste and texture just don’t demonstrate that. It was as if the patty was formed by a machine – packed too densely – before being frozen solid.
The burger just lacked the flavor and juiciness of a fresh patty and was like biting through cardboard despite looking great to the eye. The toppings were fresh and crisp, the cheese was melty, and the bun was a soft, fluffy brioche like I love. The way they receive or make their patties is a small thing to fix, and I’m confident that they could resolve this problem quite easily.
Hot Pink scores well in every other category though! The halloumi cubes were a delicious starter and my slushy margarita was excellent – literally the only bad things I have to say center around the beef. Their starter of chicken wings that my housemate ordered were meaty and delicious; we shared two dipping sauces which went perfectly with the sides and the fries – the one called “spicy pink” is a type of chipotle mayo that I can highly recommend.
Located about a three minute walk from the Wimbledon train station, they have a perfect location with an upbeat vibe. The open kitchen lets you see the chefs preparing all the food and the menu is graphical in the mould of a Shake-Shack-like concept.
Some of their other selections include a salmon steak and chicken skewers which looked delicious. Despite being a devote meat eater, their halloumi and 7 veg stacker looked almost good enough to eat without meat! It contains Grilled courgette, red and yellow peppers, honey-roasted carrots, red onion and halloumi with avocado, tomatoes and topped with pesto.
They offer a peanut butter & jelly milkshake which is right up this American’s street. They also have some harder selections like the espresso martini or Old Fashioned shakes. They also make hard slushies, like the one I had or the strawberry daiquiri.
The joint is clean, bright and airy overall. It feels quite spacious which is a high compliment when compared with some of the other burger places I’ve visited. The booths are setup like a rustic American diner, red vinyl lined, but with book cases along the wall. It feels as if this concept would be comfortable if replicated into multiple locations.
The three friends who started this place have done extremely well with Hot Pink and I really want to like it but for the burger quality. Have a look at the way the patties are prepared and I’ll be back without a second thought.
Hot Pink – 27/50
Beef (3): Just a total let-down in every way for me.
Bun (6): Passable brioche, nothing special
Toppings (7): Fresh and crispy but can’t fight the poor patty.
Value (4): Let down by the beef!!
Ambiance (7): Clean and bright.