Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Hare and Hounds, Old Warden, Bedfordshire

£10.95 for the Burger of the Day (which was lamb) and hand cut chips. There was a lot of garlic mayo, but there was also a lot of promise...

Today we took a 10 mile drive to Old Warden, a typical chocolate box village surrounded by fields and immaculate gardens - write burger detectives @gubgub08 & @hayleymudge, aka Diagnosis Burger, reporting for Midsomer Burgers' debut review. Nice as it was, our trip wasn't about the scenery. We'd come specifically to check out The Hare and Hounds pub on account of it's reputation: it was named Best Dining Pub in Bedfordshire 2010 in the Good Pub Guide, and appears as a "recommended restaurant" in the Good Food Guide.

Once inside we ordered our drinks whilst perusing the menu, fully intending to order and enjoy a  ‘beef’ burger each. However, 'twas not to be as the burger of the day (the only one available) was lamb. This was devastating as Hayley doesn't like lamb! So I was left with the sole responsibility of reviewing our first burger for the Midsomer Burgers blog.

We placed our order,  asking if my Lamb Burger could be served pink (a note was made accordingly on our order), Hayley plumping for the Lemon Sole Goujons served with thin cut chips and homemade tartar sauce.

The burger arrived and it looked really good. It was clearly handmade as the patty was not a uniformly circular shape which, in our opinion, is nice to see. It was stacked well in a very good looking toasted sesame seed bun (which we reckon is baked in house) with hand cut chips on the side (that could be described as sliced roast potatoes), plus a ramekin of tomato salsa.

The burger felt good in the hand and the bun held together despite being overloaded with juices from the patty and rather a lot of mayonnaise. I took the decision to cut the burger in half, although in hindsight this probably didn't benefit the burger experience as it sabotaged the ensemble's previously impressive structural integrity.

Along with the lamb patty were homemade pickles, tomato, sliced lettuce, garlic mayonnaise and a thin slice of Neal’s Yard Montgomery Cheddar cheese. Unfortunately the lamb patty became lost in the heavy garlic mayo and it is actually quite difficult to see the patty in the pictures.

The meat itself was overly spiced with cumin and turmeric which became the most prominent flavours. Yes these spices can work really well with lamb but seemed odd / surprising in a burger that was not described as spiced or Moroccan on the menu. Moving on, the patty also contained a mixture of breadcrumbs, onion and tomato ketchup to bind it together. The Montgomery cheddar (one of our favourite cheese) struggled to assert itself over the burger’s overpowering spices, which was disappointing. It was extremely char grilled on the outside and could almost be described as verging on burnt but no burnt taste came through which was a relief! I'm a big fan of pickles and these were good pickles but the sliced lettuce garnish did not stand a chance with the mixture of juices and garlic mayo providing a slippery surface for the bun to slide around on. That said, the bun stood up to the challenge extremely well and really, along with the chips, the bun was the star of the show.

In conclusion it was not a bad first 'rural burger' experience, although it did seem a little pricey at £10.95. However, the pub itself has a charming character, some good ales and wonderfully friendly staff. Would love to go back and hope for a beef day!

Presentation: 4/5
Structure/Bite: 4/5 great bun that held together well despite being loaded with moisture
Component parts: 3/5 a great selection but the patty let them down
Taste/Texture: 3/5 spices were too strong and detracted from the lamb flavour
Experience: 3/5 it was good but not brilliant

Total Score: 17/25 = THREE STARS


The Hare and Hounds
The Village
Old Warden
SG18 9HQ

Tel: 01767 627225


  1. It looked like it had so much promise! A few tweaks though and they could be onto a cracking burger.

  2. BRAVO! Great post! I take it the meat came out overdone?

  3. Iggy - The meat wasn't overdone surprisingly just very charred on the outside.