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Monday 7 September 2009

Mission: Find The Best Burgers in London - Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

I love burgers. They are up there amongst my top three comfort foods. Recently I felt I should venture out in search of burger heaven. Following the footsteps of my London bible “Time Out”, I decided to go on my own personal quest to find the BEST burger in London, or at least have a pretty good go at it…

I have been one of GBK’s most loyal customers over the years since the opening of their first restaurant in Clapham’s Northcote Road. Hundreds of reviews have been written about this new London institution, and I am positive they are in no need of further publicity.  However, I would like to include GBK in my list of burger joints I will be reviewing in the coming year, as I feel no list would be complete without it.

Some might argue that GBK’s burgers are not as outstanding as they used to be - I am not sure whether their fast expansion has had a detrimental effect on the quality of their burgers or whether it is just a novelty that is now wearing off. Either way, I personally feel that GBK has been consistently good over the years. I still go back there frequently, and I still love their burgers.

 GBK has also been resourceful getting its punters through the door in more recent/difficult times. It teamed up with Voucher Codes (www.vouchercodes.co.uk) and frequently offers generous discounts via this website. Offers vary from £5.95 for most burgers & chips to BOGOFs on burgers and main courses. All you need to do is to print these vouchers and bring them to the restaurant, highly recommended if you would like to save a few pounds.

Following our disappointing visit to Haché in the previous week, Mr G and I headed to the new GBK branch in the trendy Spitalfields Market. The place was buzzing; the décor and lighting are slightly more upmarket than other branches. Our allocated waitress was young and quite friendly, and at my request, accommodated us at a larger table as I needed one with good natural light for the pictures below.

I ordered my old time favourite “Avocado and Bacon”, while Mr G had a “Pesterella” with two chunky portions of chips.  As usual, the burgers did not disappoint – my burger was delicious and perfectly cooked. The bacon had been beautifully charred and added a smokey flavour to the sandwich that married well with the meaty burger. I love the addition of avocado as it makes the sandwich creamy and rich and counterbalances the other flavours perfectly. 

Mr G’s Pesterella was also good and well presented – I had tried this burger before but felt that the Pesto tasted as if it had come out of a jar. If you know Pesto, you will know that the jar variety is a very poor imitation of the real thing. The mozzarella was fresh and delicious but as expected, the Pesto was disappointing. Overall, however, the sandwich was good and Mr G munched through his quite happily.

The chunky chips were good, but not exceptional, as they were a tad dry. I think there is definitely room for improvement there.  The table next to ours sent theirs back and they were quickly replaced by fresher ones. Our choice of Chilean Merlot wine was not available, so we ordered a bottle of the Argentinian Malbec (Norton) which was very good and only £4 dearer, at £16.75 it was still good value.

Verdict – GBK’s burgers have been consistently good over the years and have never ceased to impress me. Burgers are meaty and perfectly cooked, and the combination of flavours, which sometimes may seems odd, is well balanced and works well. Their wine choices are good and well priced. Still one of my favourite burger joints in the capital, which I would have no hesitation in recommending.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. I think its a fair, if not outstanding safe choice. Garlic mayo burger and beer would be my option. Hold the wooden chips.

  2. Hi Rosie, thanks for your commentary. Indeed I agree with you - it is a safe choice but one that has never failed to satisfy. I love their garlic mayo, and also the blue cheese burger. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. Intrigued by this evening's burger post I have checked out all your others in the series as I was interested to see what you thought about GBK. I totally agree with you that their expansion has been at the expense of quality. The vouchers they do are the main thing that keep me going in there, that and the fact that they are on of the only chains where the BOGOF vouchers are valid on Saturdays that we tend to prioritise going in there - but there are things that really bug me about them. They're not consistent either on quality or what's on the menu. Part of the point of going to a chain restaurant is that you actually want them to have the same stuff you get somewhere else. Do they or do they not do a kids menu? Some places have proper kids menus and other branches totally deny the existence of one. Even the ones that do serve the kids menu NEVER have the fab lollies (I was once palmed off with some polo mints instead) so it really annoys me that you pay for a kids menu and then part of it is missing. (At 5.95 it's a very expensive kids menu if there's no pudding included).

    Some branches I've repeatedly had great burgers and service from - Lakeside and St Pauls stand out. On the other hand, I've had some shockers, the brown guacamole in Cambridge, staff at Canary Wharf who barely speak English, staff at Westfield who plain ignore you.

    I noticed on my last trip to Canary Wharf that they're opening a Byron there soon so I will look forward to checking them out.

  4. Hi Sarah, I can't agree with you more on all the points you mentioned. GB

  5. Ooops, pressed the publish button by mistake without finishing my sentence. As I was saying, I cannot agree with you more - the only thing that keeps me going back to GBK is that they are part of the TasteLondon so I get 50% off the food bill. The burgers are good but not nearly as good as they used to be. Pls not this review is nearly a year old.

  6. Mate, if you haven't already, check out lucky 7s on westbourne park road. Top burgers, try the chili cheese, and cracking guacamole served with fries. Milkshakes are good too. It's not somewhere you'll stay all night but you'll go back. Staff aren't gonna be your best mates, but it's never that bad. Cheers, Sean


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