Today's AHT reader recommendation comes from Rome-based food and travel writer Katie Parla of Parla Food. In her recent roundup of the best burgers in London, she gave the number one spot to the Big D at local burger chain Byron (whose regular burger has previously been reviewed on AHT). Unfortunately, the Big D is only available until the end of February, so if you live in London and are craving a burger, get thee to Bryon ASAP. Thanks for the tip, Katie! If anyone else wants to share some burger intel, here's how to do it. —The Mgmt.
Multiple locations listed at byronhamburgers.com
O'Shea's of Knightsbridge, 11 Montpelier St, London SW7 1EX, UK (map); 020 7581 7771; osheasbutchers.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Price: The Big D, £10.50
Notes:The Big D is available at Byron only through February 28
Byron is London's fastest growing burger joint with 14 locations and counting. Their traditional burger is a six-ounce patty of Scotch beef served on a rather bland roll. In spite of the poor bread choice, Byron's standard patties are decent enough and are a good value at £6.50. But each February, Byron teams up with a historic butcher shop to create a truly remarkable burger, the Big D.
The eight-ounce Angus burger is the work of Darragh O'Shea, an eighth generation butcher whose shop, O'Shea's of Knightsbridge, has roots in Tipperary, Ireland where his father Diarmuid still runs the family business. The Big D is named for Darragh and his business partner Dino Joannides, whose persistent appeal to Byron CEO Tom Byng over Twitter sparked the O'Shea's-Byron collaboration. Joannides argued the Byron burgers weren't big enough and needed the special intervention of O'Shea's and its superior quality beef. The Big D is now in its second year and is available exclusively at Byron during February and at O'Shea's of Knightsbridge year round.
Each morning, Darragh and his team grind the meat for the Big D, a mixture of chuck and rib cap, the proportions of which vary depending on the relative fat content of their components. The resulting burger comes in at around 20 percent fat. The burgers are weighed and hand pressed to a four-inch diameter.
At Byron the patties are grilled on Garland grills and served with lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a toasted bun. Though Byron servers recommend all of their burgers medium, the Big D reaches its fullest expression when cooked to medium rare. Out of my five visits to Byron this month, my burger was cooked to the requested medium rare three times and was overcooked twice, but when cooked properly, the patty was juicy, pink, appropriately compact, well seasoned, and so flavorful that I came very close to overlooking how incredibly uninspired the airy, insipid bun is. (The bun does nothing to enhance the burger, aesthetically or otherwise.) While the Big D is the best burger in London right now, speaking strictly from a meat standpoint, it could certainly improve with a purpose-engineered bun.