10 November 2006
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
121 Lordship Lane
London, SE22 8HU
0208 693 9307
Bang on burgers
OPENING NIGHTS can often be a glitzy fanfare or a complete flop, but for restaurant number fifteen of this burger 'chain' it appeared to be business as usual.
Walking into the new East Dulwich Gourmet Burger Kitchen (aka GBK) just a couple of hours after its launch, I sensed the workings of a well-oiled machine. That's the plus side to chain restaurants - borrowing on an experienced pool of talent. The down side can be mass-produced ideas and generic décor. Although all GBKs share the same menu, this SE22 bistro feels independent.
The GBK concept falls somewhere between restaurant and upmarket canteen that is thankfully no smoking throughout. After being seated by wait staff, orders are taken at the counter - much like the gastro pub routine - then meals and drinks are table delivered.
It's no surprise that at GBK, burgers are the only option apart from several common sides. However, what we once knew to be a burger has changed and the 'gourmet' label should not be taken lightly. Traditionalists can grab their favourite classics or cheeseburgers while connoisseurs can indulge in gastro options like blue cheese (£6.95), chorizo (£6.85) or chicken camembert and cranberry (£7.40).
The beef burgers are just that: 100 per cent grass-reared Aberdeen Angus Scotch beef, but the vegetarians have not been forgotten. For those with a beef against meat, there are a few options including the Portabella mushroom burger (£7.25), Falafel (£6.20) or aubergine and goat's cheese (£7.20).
My friend and I decided to cover both culinary bases with the latter veggie choice and a meat-loving Jamaican burger (£6.95). The aubergine was well done holding no resemblance to the cork-like substance that often adorns vegetarian dishes but the gem in this burger was the warm goat's cheese nugget coated in crisp breadcrumbs.
What set the Jamaican apart was the summery addition of mango and ginger sauce. Keeping in line with the restaurant's modernised and natural approach to an old favourite, the Mac's Gold house beer (£2.95 a bottle) is naturally brewed with nothing artificial added and claims it's place as a national treasure in New Zealand, the home of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen concept. The seed of the GBK idea was first sewn in the land of the long white cloud but the first restaurant was planted here in the UK and is quickly blossoming.
This Lordship Lane addition is the first GBK for Southwark, but one of many for the burgeoning brand. Unlike other household name food chains, GBK offers no 'meal deals' or upsizing, just gastro burgers with or without the bun. But for the full burger effect you may as well take the fries with that.
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