Friday, December 28, 2007

Gourmet Burger Kitchen - pricey patties

The eating options in Canary Wharf are (surprisingly) pretty limited, so I was perhaps unduly excited by the opening of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. (Though judging by the length of the lunchtime queues in the week before Christmas, I wasn't the only one.) It occupies a cave-like, window-less space under Wagamama's in Jubilee Place, the posher of the two shopping malls. The dark-wood tables and black-cad waiters help keep out any notion of daylight, while giving the venue a brisk, canteen-style aura. You order at the bar, which I guess is handy for bill-splitting. The A3-sized laminated menu focuses heavily on burgers of every possible incarnation (though whether a portabello mushroom or a piece of chorizo really counts as a burger is debatable), but there are also some salads if you are feeling healthy. I went for the bog-standard cheese burger (£6.75). The Aberdeen angus patty was juicy and flavoursome and the default "medium" cooking left it with a pleasant pink hue in the middle. The bun also featured ketchup, lettuce, tomato and raw onions. I am not sure what kind of cheese it was, but it was nice and definitely not of the luminous orange American variety. Chips, however, were a whopping £2.55 extra, plus another £1.45 for a small pot of sauce such as garlic mayo or sour cream. They were thick-cut, and not sufficiently crispy for my liking. The GBK chain was founded by a couple of kiwis, so New Zealand beers feature on the menu (I had a bottle of the rather pleasant Macs Gold ale for £3.05) and the more wacky section of the burgers menu includes a "kiwi". This concoction combines the humble beef patty with a fried egg, pineapple and..... wait for it.... beetroot. To my utter amazement, my colleague wolfed down the whole lot, shovelling away with a knife and fork as the "kiwi" was too tall to bite into. He did admit though that the beetroot may have been unnecessary... The service was very quick (especially given that most tables were occupied) and pretty cheerful. And despite the beetroot, they also do pretty decent offerings catering to those of who stick to the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" philosophy on burgers. They also do takeaway, though at these prices I'd say it's far too steep for a regular lunchtime jaunt. If I had the choice, I'd prefer a nice pub which does good burgers but also a wider repertoire of other dishes, and feels less canteen-like. But as I happen to work in the area and have yet to find such a venue, I dare say I'll be back.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Unit 24 Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5NY; Tel. 0207 719 6408; Tube: Canary Wharf;

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