If I want to go out to eat in London but I’m not sure what I fancy, I always head to Byron. A high-end burger joint that gives you a diner experience married with the best quality ingredients. Think freshly ground beef delivered daily from small Scottish farms, ingredients made on site every day and pure, unadulterated taste. You may think it’s odd for me to be writing this review as a vegetarian, but whilst I don’t eat meat myself I’m extremely passionate about the quality of meat for those that do indulge. I hate the commercial meat industry, not meat eaters, and I grew up in a family that chose to eat meat but also chose to support local farm shops and places that didn’t pump their meat full of hormones, forsaking welfare to turn a higher profit. Byron Burger appeals to the food purist in me whilst giving me a very naughty meal and I love it.
The menu is relatively small, but it doesn’t need to be any bigger. Tom Byng, founder of Byron travelled far and wide in the States tasting burgers all over until he found the perfect recipe, and he loves the fact that a good burger needs no glitzy costume or abundance of fancy sauces. There are options to enhance your burger a little but for the most part Byron is deliciously simple. The restaurants, whilst all sharing a unifying theme, are all slightly different. Familiarity and trust without that straight off the production line chain feel. They have a great selection of craft beer (although I’m a sucker for their fresh lemonade) and if you’re looking for a starter, the tortilla chips come with a salsa to die for.
The veggie burger is a delicious tower of portobello mushroom, grilled peppers, goats cheese, alioli, baby spinach and tomato. My only criticism of this kind of burger over the traditional veggie patty, is that every once in a while I fancy dressing it up, maybe some BBQ sauce, some sliced avocado, but any extras don’t really sit well with the heavy goats cheese flavour, so my burger remains uncustomisable. I’d love one extra option for veggies to give us a tiny taste of the freedom of meat-lovers, but I can’t complain much because Byron do veggie really really well. My meat-eating friends swear by Byron too, and we all agree that it’s food that makes you feel naughty and indulgent, but not guilty. For those of you that tend to feel guilt more than others however, there’s always the Skinny burger, that eschews the traditional bun in favour of a cocoon of iceberg lettuce.
Sides, however, are where Byron really come into their own. I dream, yes, dream, about their courgette fries, something so delicious and indulgent I prefer them to any kind of potato they try to tempt me with. Trust me, they are amazing. Price-wise, a meal here won’t break the bank and there is no pretence in the simple but slick restaurants, but you do pay a little more for the quality of ingredients. Great for pre-cinema/theatre trips or just because. I had a Byron on the first day of this year after a four mile walk to justify it telling myself it’s all about balance. Starting 2013 as I mean to go on…
Find a list of Byron restaurants and peruse the menu here.