With great burgers as with great buildings, the blueprint comes first and the construction comes second. The reverse seems to be true at the new Bistro du Vin on St John Street in Clerkenwell.
Delivered on a wood chopping board with a groove for a cone of golden frites, the BdV burger is a chargrilled sensation bearing the mark, literally, of the best burger application of a Josper grill in London. A medium-rare arrives charred and crumbly on the surface yet juicy and deep pink throughout the interior. There is none of that inside-out shading from pink to brown, rare to well done. This is beef you want cooked one way all the way through: as ordered. The bacon rashers surrender easily to the chew and the mild chilli dressing, collected for dipping in a copper mini-casserole, is a keeper.
The brioche bun, spritzed with olive oil and toasted on the griddle, holds up remarkably well. It keeps the drippings off your hands from above and below if not from the left, right, front and back.
That’s where the planning issue comes in. Architecturally this burger doesn’t sit all that well on its layered salad cushion of tomato, red onion and round lettuce hanging way out the sides. It needs a hedge trimmer. The expert panelists on Gardeners’ Question Time would not approve.
Even so, the Bistro du Vin already qualifies as the 8th best burger in London. With revisions to the blueprint to improve landscaping and prevent toppling the BdV burger v2.0 is certain to move up the charts and better justify its aggressive price of £14.50.
As you might expect there are tables at Bistro du Vin. These are of little interest to me. From adult highchairs at the bar you can see all the action in the open kitchen. When the chef opens the door to the blazing Josper Grill to load more burgers and steaks you can practically feel the heat.
38-42 St John Street, EC1, 020 7490 9230