Hush Brasseries started off in the upscale Mayfair area of London before expanding to the Holborn high street and St. Paul’s. Their locations imply that they are decidedly aimed at the business lunch crowd, and that’s exactly how I experienced the burger at Hush. Hush is a “relaxed brasserie” in their words – the interior is not unlike a poor man’s Hawksmoor… and I guess the prices match.
I get a weird mixed feeling though when walking into the Hush in Holborn. It’s on the high street and the entrance combined with the clean, neatly ordered chairs smack of a Pizza Express feel. The only things that pull it back out of chain restaurant purgatory are the leather booths and tastefully tiled backsplash to the bar and kitchen/prep areas.
Don’t get me wrong, the interior is clean, bright and well-designed, but I just felt like it could have been from the same design guru as Pizza Express, working with twice the budget. They offer weird little things on their menu like ‘slippers available upon request’ during their breakfast hours and an official Tea Time entry – both of which seem a bit at odds with their clientele.
The Hush Hamburger is what I went for – served with a baby gem and avocado salad, the burger is served with caramelised onions and club sauce on a brioche bun for £12.95. You can add cheese for a bit extra and pulled pork for £2.45 more. The burger was tasty and well cooked, but…
My number one pet peeve of burgers reared its ugly head once again: a burger that doesn’t properly fit the bun it’s been served on. The burger was fat, tall and stocky – given a little more flattening it would have filled the bun perfectly. What I’m trying to say is, I wasn’t shorted on beef, but it just wasn’t formed properly. I’m nitpicking, I know. But the thing is despite the burger being very good, there is nothing I’m super excited to extoll here.
There wasn’t anything I could take away from it either (other than the guy who was forming the patties had an off day), which makes this burger decidedly middle-of-the-road. It was good, I was satisfied, but nothing wowed me and nothing truly disappointed me about it either – it simply existed and then was eaten. £12.95 is a bit shy of the posh-top lunch burgers of Hawksmoor and Gaucho, but it’s still considerable, and for that reason I’m a bit down on my visit.
The things that were really quite good was my crispy squid starter (£8.50) and the Aspen Fries. Take their standard frites at £3.95 for a side, toss them in Parmesan and truffle oil until they are a cool £5.50 and you get the Aspen Fries. Worth the price if you’re hungry! Another thing worth noting is Hush’s Monday and Tuesday Steak and Lobster nights. For £15, one gets a hanger steak and 1/2 lobster with hand cut chips. Now that seems like a deal to me! Clearly aimed at the London Lobster craze of the past year or two – I guess they want to compete on price point with Burger & Lobster and the like.
Overall, Hush Brasserie was a good choice for a working lunch with clients. It’s not over the top, it’s tasty and good, but won’t ‘wow’ anyone – just like it didn’t wow me. It does the job, feeds the hungry mouths and then is unmemorable. I’m sure they will hang around, a maybe they will even step their game up in the future to compete with the £13-18 burger crowd. Time will tell!
Hush Brasseries are located in Holborn, St. Paul’s and Mayfair, and you can visit their website here.
Hush Burger – 32/50
Beef (7): Was good and well-cooked. Nothing special flavor-wise.
Bun (8): Best part of the burger, a nice brioche.
Toppings (4): You don’t really get any toppings for your £12.95 other than onions and sauce. Cheese and others are extra!
Value (5): For £12.95, I’d prefer to pay £2 more and get a Hawksmoor burger.
Ambiance (8): Pleasant and good for meetings.