From its humble food-truck beginnings, Bleecker Street Burger has now established two permanent locations and is a feature on many London top ten burger lists. My first encounter with the Bleecker burgers was at the Dalston Yard Street Feast in east London – and I loved the beef for its unapologetic richness.
I got to sample three different sliders in Dalston that day, and recently I finally tried the full-size burgers at Bleecker’s permanent Southbank truck location.
Started by American expat, Zan Kaufman in 2012, Bleecker Street is her interpretation of the New York city, east village burger. Using dry-aged beef from The Butchery in Bermondsey (minimum of 40-50 days aging) Bleecker has some of the richest, most intense beef flavors in London.
Their burgers run from £6 for a classic cheeseburger to £10 for the Bleecker Black: double beef, double American cheese, black pudding, onions and special sauce. The beef is loud, unapologetic, and amazing – the star of the show beyond a doubt: juicy, rich, delectable and perfectly cooked to a medium rare. Standard on a seeded bun, the toppings don’t get very diverse, nor do they need to be. Beef is the focal point.
Between the £6 and £10 selections, you’ll find the bacon cheeseburger for £7 and the double cheeseburger for £9. Myself, I recommend the double cheeseburger because the more of that Bleecker beef I can get in and around my face, the better. The 40+ days of dry aging does something that cannot be faked – it concentrates the flavors in ways that just make your eyes rolls back in your head.
Dry aging is mostly the territory of the big steak players. The Hawksmoors and Goodmans who don’t mess around with their steaks and therefore are well-equipped to deal in beef that has to wait for over a month before getting to the plate. Most burger joints don’t have that luxury – they do the best that they can to keep turnover going while serving good quality meat. Bleecker takes that extra time, respects the beef and waits for the perfect aging window to arrive.
Bleecker’s fries are awesome as well. You can choose from normal, sweet potato, or angry fries. The angry fries are tossed in buffalo hot sauce and drizzled with blue cheese dressing. I guess this is another page from the American playbook; buffalo wing sauce over fries – or over anything really if I’m honest – is a great decision. If you can handle the heat, I highly recommend these.
For £4, you get a burger box full of these bad boys. Bring some napkins and a cold beverage with you, because they are spicy! Not too hot – just enough to clear the old sinuses.
Bleecker Street Burger probably should (and could) have more locations – with storefronts around the West End and Shoreditch, but I have a feeling they simply choose not to. Putting their money into top quality beef and serving out of a market warehouse or truck seems to be their kinda thing. Perhaps Zan Kaufman doesn’t want to sell-out to the chain game. Maybe she prefers to keep her burgers coming out fast, serving them up festival-style. Or perhaps scalability just won’t work while maintaining their quality. No matter the reason, I like how Bleecker does business.
I’d highly recommend that you try out the Spitalfields market location first and foremost. Their original and figurative home-base has a slightly expanded menu from which to choose from. They also are the hub for ingredients going out to the other locales (who have a habit of running out of things towards the end of the night)
You can visit the Bleecker Street Burger website here and discover all of their locations and opening times.
Bleecker Street Burger – 42/50
Beef (10): Truly outstandingly flavorful meat. On par with the big boys in the steak business, but served out of a truck!
Bun (8): Toasted and seeded bun doesn’t do anything to get in the way – holds up under the assault of juiciness as you eat.
Toppings (7): Limited choice here at Bleecker, but they don’t skimp on the cheese and the bacon is nice and crispy.
Value (8): Good value starting from £6 for the single cheeseburger. And great value when you consider the quality of the dry-aged beef..
Ambiance (9): Southbank is just a cool place to have a bite. The fact that Bleecker secured a permanent truck location there is great news for tourists and locals alike.