Greenwich Union, Greenwich

Thursday, 15 April 2010 | |

Another week, another burger review. This time, Greenwich Union, on the recommendation of one of the guys from The Ginger Pig in Borough Market (read his unbelievably good blog here). Butchers know about meat, right? And meat is an important component of a burger, yes? To say I had high expectations would be an understatement; I had hopes that this burger would be better than Disneyworld on Christmas Day.

As well as their evening menu, Greenwich Union offers up a lunch menu of one dish meals: risotto, lasagne, a burger and some good looking fish and chips.

Meantime Helles (£3.40). One of the biggest pulls of the pub is the beers on tap (not to mention the respectable selection of bottled beers, including Sierra Nevada). With a small, exclusive selection including this Helles and a chocolatey-tasting Stout, there's obvious care taken into maintaining the pipes. I won't claim to know much about beer, but this is a pretty good pint, which went well with the burger.

Homemade 28 day aged Angus burger, tarragon mayo and chips (£7.90).

Homemade 28 day aged Angus burger. On arrival, everything looked up. Literally. A seriously vertically blessed burger; the bun was as tell as the enormous patty of beef and I'd guess it would weigh in easily at ten ounces. Additionally, it looked like the very good burger from Goodman. I attempted to grab it and eat, but that was not going to happen. Even the squash and shove method (squash the bun, shove into gob) didn't prove successful. In the end I had to cut it across and work my way through it. The first bite - a long time coming - was a confusing one. The meat tasted good, but the burger was entirely dry and mealy. Ah, breadcrumbs, my old foe. I hate breadcrumbs. They don't belong in a burger at all. There's a reason the best hamburger patties contain just beef, salt and pepper. Another aspect of the patty was the mustard, cooked (grilled) into the beef, which was a nice touch but couldn't save a dry and tiresome burger. The bun did nothing to help either, being rather stale and overwhelming the meat inside; a real challenge to get through, despite it's sourcing from Rhodes Bakery. Steaming would soften this bun and make it more pleasurable to eat. The rabbit food (lettuce, onions, tomato) were fresh and supplied a crunch that was lacking due to the grilling, rather than flat-top griddling of the meat. This burger could easily be a lot better and it's an admirable effort, but too much has been done to it, too much messing around. Simple 80:20 chuck, salt and some pepper; steam the bun and you have yourself a good burger.

Autopsy shot. I requested it medium, which didn't matter as it came out well done and unfortunately seriously dry. If the burgers are going to be cooked to this temperature, then more fat is needed in the blend (75:25 or thereabouts) to allow more juice to run through.

The remains. A serious amount of crumbs from the burger, which tried it's hardest to make me lose at Jenga. The tarragon mayo, in the little bowl, is seriously good though.

Chips. Probably triple-cooked, from the texture, these proper Maris Piper, skin-on chips are a joy. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy and soft inside, they hid a taste and revealed a crunch that showcased a deft hand at frying.

Despite the disappointing burger, I like Greenwich Union. If this was my local pub I'd be in there as often as possible: amazing chips, great beers on tap and free wi-fi. With some adjustments they could also have a great burger on their hands, for a decent price, but as it stands there's too many mistakes holding the burger back. This visit also came a few days after my first Meatwagon burger, which has somewhat ruined other London burgers for me - it's that good.


Chris said...

Breadcrumbs have no place in any burger costing more than £6. They should be ashamed.

chaz said...

Heya, wicked blog! liking the union review, enjoy the marrow bone burger! check out my meat blog when you have a spare second.

Ibzo said...

Chris - Absolutely. Such a disappointment. The main component of a good burger is the good meat; Greenwich Union have sourced it, but then ruined with unnecessary extras.

chaz - Mate! Thanks for the kind words, but I just took a look (a half hour look, reading through all your posts) at your blog and I feel ashamed that I've even bothered pretending to know a thing about meat. Your blog is bloody brilliant. I've bookmarked it, so make sure you update it more often! Cheers for that burger earlier by the way, I cooked it up and it was bloody good. It has that distinctive aged Longhorn flavour that all Ginger Pig meat seems to have. Really good!

The Grubworm said...

What a shame - the beer here is really very good and the pub has a great atmosphere about it. But you should not mess with a burger because good meat should be allowed to shine through.

Vivi said...

Love your blog!!! Been added o my list to read....and i am sooo jealous you have been to meatwagon! I sitll need to make the trip there! Looks awesome!!!

The Ginger Gourmand said...

A real shame...

I've been to the Greenwich Union a few times but sadly the food seems to have gone downhill a bit the last couple of visits. I hope it picks up again though as it's perfect for pre-cinema beers and food. The beers are amazing!