Nick Andrews, the burger loving chap that writes London burger blog Burger Me! tells of a delightfully sunny burger experience shared with friends at The Red Lion in Horsell, Surrey...
Catching the summer's last shot across the bows before giving in to the inevitable onset of the autumn months, I struck out from home on a cross-country walk that took me to the heady heights of Horsell, a village close to Littlewick Common, where H.G.Wells set his book War of the Worlds. In Horsell village sits The Red Lion, one of the area's celebrated pubs and the location of a burger I have been wanting to try for some time.
Together with a group of three other keen diners we ordered our drinks and perused the menu, settling on two Gourmet Burgers, a steak and mustard pie, and the chicken roast. The pub's policy was to cook the burgers medium, but I tried to push the boundaries and requested it PAP (Pink As Possible). All we knew was it comprised Scotch Beef, grilled bacon, and emmental cheese.
The burgers arrived as above, speared with a wooden spike with a great pile of hand cut chunky chips, and a ramekin of burger relish / coleslaw.
Lifting the lid revealed a pile of mixed leaf salad, tomato, onion, and a lonely sliver of gherkin riding atop a couple of rashers of well-grilled streaky bacon, and a mass of melted cheese that was still oozing its way around a patty which was clearly hand-formed and rested directly on the bottom bun.
The cut-through shows a slightly pinker than medium cooking, which I was pretty happy with, though the other burger ordered on our table came out slightly more cooked than I would have been happy with. The soft white, flour-dusted bap was toasted on the inside and wrapped around the whole patty and topping package nicely, and was in good proportion. Nothing remarkable but a solid session bun.
Texture of the patty was excellent, the course ground beef had a high fat content keeping it moist, and the salad pieces were small enough to bite through without sections being pulled out. The bacon was crisp, almost too crisp, but meaty and salty, and the well melted emmental had a soft savoury taste. The patty itself tasted good, but somewhat lacked seasoning.
In terms of the accompaniments, the lightly salted hand cut chunky chips were both crisp and fluffy, and didn't need anything else. They were all polished off with much smacking of lips. The coleslaw deserves a special mention too: red cabbage, cabbage and carrot in a moreish dijon mustard mayonnaise, perfectly executed. The only let down was the onion and tomato burger relish which was too sweet, and tasted somehow artificial.
We polished off the last morsels of our food in the garden with the sun beaming down on us on the hottest October day on record, beer or cider in hand. The overall impression of this burger was good, but with a few tweaks, it could be five-star awesome!
Structure/Bite 4/5 Whilst the bun was nothing special, it was well proportioned and stayed the duration of the eating
Component parts 4/5 classic bacon cheeseburger with excellent sides but poor relish
Taste/Texture 3/5 bacon slightly overdone, beef slightly under-seasoned
Experience 5/5 great experience in a lovely little pub with a thoughtfully planned outside dining area
Total score 20/25 = FOUR STARS
The Red Lion
Tel: 01483 768 497