Holy Mother Flipper: Look at That Burger!


As soon as I set eyes on the Double Candy Bacon Flipper I was determined to set my claws and teeth on it, too. Only the laws of the jungle held me back. Like a animal dragging his prey to a secure place I whisked my Double Candy away from the onlookers, put some distance between myself and the food stall parasols and found a weedy patch of car park partly shaded by a brick enclosure. It was here, safe and alone, that I unwrapped this devilish stack of desires, took a first bite, enlarged it with a second and then paused to snap this photo, holding the burger in one hand (bad idea) and my camera in the other.

The Double Candy Bacon Flipper is the creation of Mother Flipper, a new street burger stall now operating on Saturdays at Brockley Market in south east London (see map). Split patties sweating grease from every pore are articulated with the sweet, pleasantly chewy crunch of the smokey streaky bacon Manuel Leal-Andrades (yes, Mother Flipper is a man) candies himself with brown sugar. The coarsely minced patties are housed with the basics – shredded lettuce, dill pickle, squirts of mustard, squiggles of ketchup – on a beautifully toasted and gently squashed brioche bun. Sensational.

To be clear, Mother Flipper isn’t at the top of the street burger tables just yet. Much as the two grillmen manage the preparation of each burger with care they can’t consistently pull off the liftoff to juicy medium rare. Taking burgers off the sizzling flat-top griddle after the cheese has melted to goop but before the comparatively thin patties have lost their interior lipstick pink colour is a game of seconds.

Over-salting is another worry. The two burgers I devoured at Mother Flipper (the second was the cheeseburger at right) were encrusted with twice the necessary quantity of Maldon sea salt flakes. My hope is that this is a temporary blip and not a reflection of London’s increasing tolerance and even preference for ferociously salty burgers. My fear is that indiscriminate salting by MEATliquor, Lucky Chip and now Mother Flipper are making more moderately seasoned burgers seem bland by comparison.

When salting a patty you must factor in the relative saltiness of the burger’s other elements. If you put anchovies in a salad or pasta you’d naturally use less salt. The same should be true if you outfit a burger with aggressively salty bacon, ketchup, processed cheese, dill pickles or all of the above.

Beyond any discussion of its burger components, Mother Flipper has a DIY sensibility I find appealing and promising. From the burger-steaming domes Leal-Andrades made from stainless steel mixing bowls and Champagne corks to the chapati skillet he heats over a Jamie Oliver mobile gas cooker to firm up and toast the split buns the vibe is analog and acoustic, much like The Meatwagon, a direct influence, in its early days.

When you reach the front of the queue and order at Mother Flipper they give you a number. Had I drawn 118, rather than 78, the countdown or, rather, the count up to my Double Candy Bacon Flipper could have been measuring my pulse rate, such was the anticipation. This is the street food experience, made to order. By the time my burger was ready I didn’t just want the Double Candy Bacon Flipper. I wanted the 78 Double Candy Bacon Flipper. In less than ten minutes Mother Flipper already had my number.

About Daniel

Food critic and events leader Daniel Young is the "Young" behind young&foodish

Comments

  1. Tom Nixon says:

    The burger sounds great, I’ll be heading over soon…! I agree with the too much salt issue!

  2. Nicola Powell says:

    That burger looks mighty fine. I’ll definitely be heading down to Brockley Market very soon. Hopefully by then they’ll have the “salt issue” under control.

    Happy days!

  3. Pau Hastings says:

    I went on Saturday to try the burger out. I think that the Salt Issue may have been resolved, it really wasn’t noticeable to me. The Candied Bacon is a new one for my taste buds, rather unique I think, I will definitely be heading back to this great little market to try it out again. The Scotch Eggs people were tugging into were really something special too!!

    Great site by the way!!

  4. Daniel Young says:

    Thanks, Paul, for the first-hand report as well as the kind words.

  5. @Gastro1 says:

    Dan

    I read a lot of “analysis” of the various components that make up a good burger in the ever increasing number of burger focused blogs.

    The one component that seems to receive the least attention is the patty in terms of meat quality and how it has been ground.

    Like you I take a holistic view of what constitutes a perfect burger but cannot get my head around this lack of rigour,

    Over salting in my view is often, not necessarily in this case an attempt to disguise the really poor meat being used in a respective burger.

    For me there has been some progress in London/UK more so at the top end but sadly a really top notch “joint” burger is as rare over here as finding a half decent Greek restaurant.

  6. tom says:

    so how do you describe the taste of the burger? is it sweet & salty? is the candied bacon crunchy?

  7. Mike says:

    On the subject of using Maldon salt in burgers, why bother? A bit on tomatoes goes a long way. However purely using it for seasoning is a bad idea as it creates salt pockets as the flakes dissolve. As was my experience at lucky chip although the waiter seemed convinced by it. Grind salt down to the same size and no one will taste the difference. If anything it’s an expensive fashionable waste.

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