What times we live in! The coronavirus outbreak has taken hold of the world, with 2020 now shaping up to be one of the most disruptive and challenging periods of the modern age. Many countries have entered state mandated lockdowns with no certainty over when normal day-to-day life will resume. And in these unprecedented times, many are experiencing extensive periods in self-isolation or living with significant disruption to their lives.
Food - 8.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Service - 8/10
Value for Money - 7.3/10
An Honest Burger always hits the spot – it is one of the more consistent burger chains in London.
Price range: ££
Telephone: 020 3302 3452
Address: 251 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9NG
Nearest Station: Kings Cross
The UK is currently approaching week three of lockdown and many have started craving their creature comforts again – whether it’s their daily dose of Starbucks, a cheeky Nandos, avocado-toast at their favourite coffee shop or a trip to the local cinema. There is respite in the form of Netflix and in the fact that many restaurants are still running delivery services, but it’s not quite the same. I’ve fared reasonably well in isolation so far, but avid followers of @Planandeat will know of my main weakness: burgers. My coronavirus preparations were not so great, so I haven’t been able to enjoy a proper burger at a proper burger joint for well over a month now.
I can, however, cast my mind back to my January visit of Honest Burgers – one of my favourite spots in London. Yes, I’ll be hitting up my nearest as soon as this is over. Where are you headed post-lockdown?
My standard order at Honest is a cheese burger (medium) with rosemary salted chips and a side of onion rings. It comes to about £14.50 (excluding service) which I think follows a re-pricing from Honest; if I remember correctly, eight or nine months ago, it would have been closer to £12. The food remains worth it though despite the price hike.
Now I’ve tried and tested a few different patty and cheese combinations, and Red Leicester is my all time favourite because of its nuttier taste. Stilton just doesn’t work for me, but cheddar is acceptable in lieu of Red Leicester. The bun is more important than the cheese, though, and Honest gets it right here with an egg-based brioche that is as soft as a cotton ball. In between the bread, you’ll find a simple combination of lettuce, red onion lettuce and your patty. It works really well, and the burger goes down like a treat.
The cheese burger is an icon of Honest, but their chips are the icing on the cake. These might be my favourite chips on the London burger circuit, which when dipped into a dollop of mayo, are extremely satisfying. A great combination of outer crispiness, inner fluffiness, and a great flavour to match with the sprinkle of rosemary salt flakes.
Your choice of side is actually limited Honest. There are onion rings and buffalo wings, as standard, and that’s it really. The other two options to choose from – salad or slaw – while tasty, are a little on the light side. If I can highlight MeatLiquor for a second (check out my recent review here), they lead on sides: mac n’ cheese, their signature ‘hot mess’, or even fried pickles (yum). Even Five Guys (future review pending :)) – famed from their simple and no nonsense menu offer sandwiches or hot dogs to top off your burger meal. You might even find nachos at some joints, which are always welcome!
You receive a decent sized meal and a good number of chunky onion rings for your money. I find that it can run out quite quickly – but that might be because I am a quick eater! The service at Honest is reasonably quick too. My usual spot in Kings Cross is always good for service and timing. And to be fair all Honest branches have been pretty consistent for me in my dozen or so visits over the years. I have always had a pleasant experience. I’ve been to a fair few different spots and the interior, feel and design of each branch is recognisable with any other: lots of wooden fixtures, tables and benches, with quirky light fixtures. I find that their tables are a little compact though, and often at busier times there is a bit of a sardine-can situation going on. The best time to visit is early evening around 5pm-6pm, just before the crowds hit but when there is still an atmosphere, otherwise it can get fairly quiet in-store!
Speak to you next time – hopefully out of lockdown and with normal service resumed! Stay well everyone.