Oh, I just can't stop myself. A little late to the party (I wasn't that bothered before) but I've caught the burger bug and seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about (and eating) burgers. This week, I've wolfed down burgers two nights in a row and could quite happily go for a run of three today. (But I won't, as it's cheese and wine night at home for J's birthday and I'm baking camemberts. That's enough carbs for one day).
Repeat offenders both, I revisited MeatMission (check out my first and second impressions) on Tuesday and ended up at BRGR last night. Whilst essentially offering the same food, they (and like many other burger joints) are wildly different. As you may remember, I wasn't the biggest fan of BRGR the first time because of the service, but after a failed attempt to get into Byron (empty tables but still a wait) and a two-and-a-half-hour wait time for Honest, we thought we'd give BRGR another go. But MeatMission just has the edge.
Menu wise, how much differentiation can there be? A lot. MeatMission's all trash-talk and nastily-named but it works, and the variety of what's on offer is great. I seem to be going for the Dead Hippie burger - because one patty just isn't enough, obviously - and the fried pickles (which they were devastatingly out of this week) but there's Monkey Fingers, pastrami dogs and currywurst on offer. Not to mention something called the Garbage Plate, the cocktail list and the beers in jugs and jars. BRGR's a little more civilised in name and offering - a lot less to choose from but you can make it your own with the selection of sides (great onion rings by the way).
Atmosphere? BRGR's in Central London so a real mix of friends, family and first dates. MeatMission just feels a little deliberately down and dirty with Jimi Hendrix or Phil Collins blaring out over the din, and everyone digging in to share.
The eating. MeatMission serves everything up on large silver trays, decked out with striped burger paper. Dive straight in, get messy and wipe yourself up with the rolls of kitchen paper dotted around the tables. BRGR's predictably more civilised with cutlery if you need it, the similar striped paper and the ability to put in or take out what you do and don't want between your buns.
And what about the price? BRGR starts at around £6.95 for a burger and increases depending on the quality of the cut. Cheese, bacon, onions etc are extra and do stack up a bit if you're feeling a little naughty. MeatMission's offerings start at around £6.50 all in with sides around the £3 mark, but there's a definite absence of macaroni cheese (another obsession), which should obviously be served unlimited and completely free, of course.
It's tricky. BRGR and MeatMission are doing different things in different ways. A burger's a burger's a burger - but when a burger's so good you go back three times willingly, I think you're onto a winner.