Monday, March 06, 2017

Restaurant review: BYRON (Covent Garden)

I’ve had mixed fortunes when it comes to burger joints in London. Places like Tommi’s Burger Joint and Prime Burger were so awful I wouldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy, and other venues which don’t specialise in burgers, seem to treat them as an afterthought (Maxwell’s Bar and Grill, be ashamed. Be very ashamed). Still, due to the sheer majesty of the burgers I’ve had such as Bird, I still haven’t up hope in the capital’s ability to produce delicious burgers just yet.

Byron definitely delivered on the burger front. I had the Smoky burger, with the meat cooked medium rare, and that, along with all the ingredients (mature cheddar, streaky bacon, crispy onions, shredded iceberg, pickles and smoked chilli) rendered this a verifiable feast for the taste buds. You know it was tasty because normally I would object to paying £10 for a burger and no sides, but in this case, I feel the money was well spent. The way all the ingredients complemented each other and bought out the succulence of the steak… heaven.

Less satisfying, sadly, were the sides. The macaroni and cheese, whilst looking very promising with an enticing coating of cheese at the top, turned out to be a watery mess, with the pieces of macaroni very flimsy pieces of pasta that shredded in half the second you moved them with a fork.

Whatever gunk they’d used for the cheese had been copiously and carelessly applied on top of the cheese chips. As a result, the chips were soggy and unsalvageable with tomato ketchup. Daylight robbery at £3.95. Furthermore, the beer did not taste good; you got the distinct impression that you were being served the bastard leftovers of the barrels, because the drink had a flavourless yet metallic-tinge to it. Ew.

The staff were extremely on the ball and attentive, but I feel the tables were too small. We had a burger each, two sides to share, a beer each and a jug of tap water with glasses, and there wasn’t enough room for the glasses on our tables, a serious design flaw and an accident just waiting to happen.

Overall, I found Byron a welcoming, unintimidating restaurant, well-run and spacious. The burgers were definitely worth writing home about, but lamentably, the rest of the menu did not match the main attraction’s (admittedly high) standards.

Grade: B-


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