Grace Dent: my queen, my liege, my lady, Game of Thrones references, etc.
To me she is the face and heroine of the London food scene, and I would bend the knee to her any day of the week. Her connection to Bleecker is due to the savage review she made in February 2017, where she described the well-known burger joint to be “Like a depressed Five Guys, if three of them ran away.” I did say it was hilarious ̶ I mean savage.
It’s amazing though how one man’s meat is another man’s poison; it’s bad business for Bleecker yet oddly enough they gained a new customer from this article: me! Of course I’m going to visit the place where my food writing idol had graced her presence before sending them to the slaughterhouse, I had to see it for myself.
So I arrive in Victoria, the scene of the crime, and enter the signature black shopfront, placed neatly in the corner, where my buddy is plonked in the corner before greeting me, and we order.
Now it’s not exactly Disneyland inside, some simple brown benches, grey walls, big, basic menu looming over the basic counter, the only vibrant colours being the red, white and yellow bottles that are condiments. You could say this would be heaven for the minimalist hipster who’s also a part time eco warrior – too bad this is a burger joint.
Speaking of burger, I order a standard cheeseburger, Bleecker’s house fries and a coffee milkshake, totalling £15. While my food companion ordered a bacon cheeseburger, sweet potato fries and a vanilla milkshake, totalling £16.
£15 + £16 =… £31!!
And you know what the saddest part is?? This is the norm price for burger and fries for two in London these days! And they don’t even give you a big burger! At least Five Guys compensate their stupid prices with portion!
It’s not looking good for Bleecker.
But hang on, I haven’t put the food in my mouth yet, perhaps I should do that before I continue. And then BAM! The succulent beef sweat of the medium rare patty coats your tongue with unctuous American goodness, followed by the cheese which boosts that signature flavour, cushioned by the softness of the sesame seed bun. It’s small yes, but big things come in small packages and the flavour in these burgers are BIG. The fries are also the crispy, thin cut, oil glazed quality you would expect for this kind of cooking – extremely moreish – especially with the ‘burger-sauceish’ house sauce on the house fries. The shakes were great too, except my coffee shake tasted like someone who had made a great cup of coffee but forgot to grind and melt the granules properly, basically mixing mud-like residue with the creamy goodness I craved alone.
So not bad for a restaurant that started as a food truck. Perhaps Grace was a bit too vicious in her writing. Bleecker’s burgers look just as great in the flesh as they do on Instagram (though size disappoints), and they taste fantastic. But is it revolutionary? No. Does it beat Five Guys or Burger King? No. Would I return? I don’t see why not, I mean in the end we basically have here a reliable burger joint that won’t disappoint if you find yourself hungry at lunch time (and your wallet allows it). I wouldn’t take a date here but I would pop in again for a casual burger.