Band of Burgers – Camden, LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal
It’s always desirable when reviewing something that one go in with an open heart and mind, and without any preconceived notions or expectations.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when the reputation of a place proceeds it, as was the case with Band of Burgers (BoB), whom we’d heard good things of ever since they opened in August of last year.
So, when we finally got round to reviewing this small establishment on Camden High Street, we were pleasantly taken aback by the bold and colourful ’70s retro design of the shopfront, as well as the vintage casino-type light bulb sign from the same era.
We weren’t left disappointed by the interior either since the same theme was carried on therein.
Whether it be the overhead vinyl records decorating the ceiling, the psychedelic art-inspired wall paintings, which includes a patriotic rendition of the front cover of The Beatles’ classic Abbey Road, or the rock ‘n’ roll oriented “Dudes” and “Chicks” toilets, this place is a visual feast that epitomises the meaning of the word “cool”, and makes you wanna pull out your flares to strut your stuff Travolta-style.
The only fear we had was whether this too would be a case of style over substance.
In spite of these milkshake jars aesthetically pleasing look, perhaps a drinking utensil that would better fit the ’70s theme might be one of those vintage tumbler glasses with geometric patterns. In any case, these shakes were pretty good, but nothing outstanding.
The best of the three was the Cookies and Creame – sweet and luscious with tiny doughy bits of cookie adding texture to this thick and milky beverage. Quite delicious!
The second best for us was the Strawberry Blonde. Though more watery in consistency, we all enjoyed the milky-strawberry taste . . . until we came upon the strawberry syrup settled at the bottom which resulted in an ending that was far too sweet for our liking. The moral of the story being: DON’T FORGET TO GIVE THIS A STIR!
And the same was true of the Caramel Caramel. Despite it again not being particularly thick, it delivered well on the taste of caramel following the mandatory grouse stir. If you have a sweet tooth, then this delivers on all the sweetness you want, and some.
Visually speaking, these mocktails were a sight.
The Mojo had that classic strong lime flavour, and though there was difference of opinion over whether the lime dominated over the mint or vice-versa, the drink was refreshingly soothing albeit fairly watered down.
The same was true of the Raspberry Beret in that the actual raspberry flavour of the drink would have come through far more subtly if it wasn’t for the addition of the raspberry fruits on top. Take a bite of these before taking a sip to properly appreciate this drink.
The Passionfruit Mojito was, however, the best of the lot with a strong, heady flavour of passionfruit going really well with and dominating over the mint and lime combo.
We couldn’t quite decide what was better, the in-house made sweet chilli sauce with its intense flavours, or the freshly made and succulently soft calamari rings coated in thick, crispy batter.
We’ll leave the decision to you!
Blessed be those chickens who died so that we might have the privilege of devouring such generously sized wings because, quite frankly, these were to die for!
Easily 180-200g each, these were certainly some of the biggest we’ve had the pleasure of tasting with marinades that were quite something to behold.
The BBQ sauce was neither too thick nor too sticky, but just right, with a deep depth of flavour that kept us licking those fingers right down to the last.
While the Sweet Chilli had a more glazed and viscous texture than its counterpart, it was the combination of intense chilli flavour tempered by the sweet honey that really made these wings soar to the heavens.
Easily some of the best we’ve ever had, which were scarfed down in a hurry!
BoB’s burgers are all charcoal grilled, and cooked medium by default unless otherwise stated.
Note also that the patties are a very generous 7oz as opposed to the more standard 6oz served up elsewhere.
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For one, we asked for this particular burger to be cooked medium and that’s precisely what we got.
The earthy mushroom taste delivered by the creamy mushroom sauce was just what you’d expect and hope for from a burger that’s supposed to be magically mushroomy.
Add to that the gobs of soft, oozy cheese, mildly sweet mayo sauce, and a hint of background pepper, and what you have here is a wonderfully juicy and well lubricated burger that deserves all the praise it gets.
The sweet potato fries were deliciously crunchy and rustic in appearance with a soft, fluffy interior, while the garlic sauce was deep and rich with a tangy undertone.
But, while the latter delivered on bags of flavour, the B.B. King, despite being a solid burger in its own right, was slightly underwhelming in comparison.
Although simpler in terms of taste, the sweetness of the onion marmalade married quite nicely with the meatiness of the thick patty to provide a very juicy and satisfying munch.
Sadly, the onion rings were slightly on the oily side. And while still retaining a crunchy exterior, were very airy and, thus, a little disappointing.
The sweet BBQ sauce, however, was very tasty.
We’ve had a few Mexican inspired burgers in our time (see, for example, Handmade Burger Co. and Smoky Boys), but few compare let alone come close to rivaling this imaginatively conceived and well constructed one.
Ordered this well done, and the chef didn’t disappoint. In hindsight though, we’d recommend medium or, at the very least, medium well since the patty did turn out to be slightly on the dry side.
But this certainly didn’t detract from the intensity of flavours. How perfectly was the heat generated by the large, juicy chunks of jalapenos dampened by the coolness of the guacamole sauce? Top all that with the sweetness of the tomato relish along with a sharp kick delivered by the chilli cheese, and what you have here are challenging flavours that kept us cooing and deliberating right to the end.
The Thyme after Thyme fries were crunchy, but not as salty as we like ’em, while the sour cream was what it was.
Though we didn’t quite workout the taste of the marinade – in the end describing it as somewhere between Peri-Peri and hot West Indian sauce – what we were certainly unanimous upon was the slow build of chilli heat that eventually had us reaching for the water glass.
The whole thing was well lubricated by the addition of a thick slice of tomato, and given the sweetness of charred red peppers and crunchy red onions, this burger was ace.
And believe you us, this visually stunning piece of art tasted as bad as it looks.
With fresh, beautifully chargrilled vegetables, and two thick pieces of salty halloumi, the contrast of tastes and textures here – from the sweet and soft red peppers to the relative wetness of the aubergine – presented a burger with clean flavours.
We never knew the day would come where a non-meat burger would actually challenge its cousins, but this certainly did, with one Lion resoundingly declaring it his “favourite” on the day!
For a place that specialises in burgers, these guys certainly know how to make a dessert.
This Cheesecake of the Week comprised of a layer of delightfully creamy blueberry cheese, a base that was fresh and biscuity, and a tart raspberry jam topping that provided the necessary balance.
Awesome end to an awesome day!
- NO/ NO
- BABY SEATS
- DELIVEROO, JINN
The place is small and cosy, but beautifully decked out and a menu to match.
Of course, it helps when you have a chef in the kitchen who's worked as a senior sous chef with one of the country's top chefs, two Michelin Star Marcus Wareing.
If you haven't been, then what are you waiting for? Pull out your 70s gear and boogey on over for some tubular wings and burgers.
Oh, and apologies for the attempted (ab)use of 70s slang through out this review; just don't have a cow, man!
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Band of Burgers
23 Camden High Street, Camden Town, London NW1 7JE
T: +44 (0)20 7387 3898 | W: www.bandofburgers.co.uk
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 11:30-23:00 | Thur-Sat 11:30-23:00 | Sun 11:30-22:00