When I first wrote about Byron Proper Hamburgers back in 2014, they already had 30 London locations and handful of outer-UK locations to boot. As of this writing in early 2016, Byron Hamburgers has a whopping 37 London locations to choose from and an additional 22, yes twenty-two, restaurants across England and Scotland. Next stop, Welsh domination?
Founded in 2007 by Tom Byng, Byron is one of the earliest burger joints to leap head-first into the now congested UK burger scene. Tom returned to Britain after spending four years in the US to be completely disappointed with the state of hamburger affairs in London. After tasting great burgers in the US, he made it his mission to bring simple, delicious, top-quality burgers to the British capital. I’ll stop short of giving him the total burger-revolution credit, but Bryon Proper Hamburgers certainly had something to do with the vast change that occured. As they head into their ninth year, Byron shows no signs of slowing down.
It would be unfair to dock them points for being such a big chain now. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any lapses/fluctuations in their quality. I can’t say the same for Gourmet Burger Kitchen, to which Byron may be ambiently associated to, simply for also having a lot of locations.
I do like Byron’s mandates: fresh cuts, always cooked medium, and squishy buns. The “Byron” is their take on the ultimate bacon cheeseburger – they’ve skipped over plain burgers and cheeseburgers to give their namesake to the bacon cheeseburger, which shows confidence! And I must add, give me crispy bacon or give me death. Quote me on that.
Byron uses four cuts of beef sourced from around Britain to compose their 6oz. standard patties. Their buns are a house recipe that results in a fresh, white bun without any additional messing about. You could call it brioche-style, but it is somewhat unique. Cooked medium as a default, the meat is juicy but holds together well in the bun. The Byron burger will set you back £9.50.
That’s a bit pricey for a 6oz. bacon cheeseburger, but it comes topped with dry cure bacon, mature Cheddar, shredded iceberg, tomato, red onion and Byron sauce. For me, it competes with all the other chains in London on the high side, but the restaurant environments that are unique to Byron make up the ground. A classic hamburger will only cost you £6.75 and their take on the cheeseburger is £7.95.
If you want to step your game up a notch, Byron has several non-standard burgers that are residents on the menu. The biggest and baddest of which is the double bacon cheeseburger for £12.50: Two 6oz hamburgers, dry cure bacon, Freddar (TM) cheese, pickles, ketchup and American mustard.
They also have selections like The Smoky with BBQ sauce, bacon and fried onions (£9.95) or the B-Rex topped with an onion ring, streaky bacon, American cheese, jalapeños, pickles, onion, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise (£10.50).
Seasonal burgers come through from time-to-time to celebrate the holidays or special partnerships that Byron participates in. Sides will run you anywhere between £3-4.50 and include some rather unique choices lik the courgette fries of the iceberg wedge salad. But really, who’s ordering a salad here? Oh…your girlfriend? Alright then…
It’s hard to wander the streets of central London without passing a Byron. But don’t hold that against them. Go in and give them a try if you haven’t before. And don’t skimp on the bacon and courgette fries!