London’s gastronomic obsessions are constantly in flux as London’s hungry intelligentsia is indefatigable in their search for novelty. However no matter what trends rise and fall, the burger never falls too far from the throne. This has been the case for so long that it’s hard to imagine a pre-burger Britain but they are a relatively recent immigrant to our fair isles. When the first Hard Rock Cafe opened in 1971 they were one of the first restaurants in the UK to focus on burgers and they were thought to be hopelessly naive to imagine that the English would be interested. A lot of record labels turned down the Beatles too.
Flash forwards to the present and Hard Rock Cafe are re-imaging their burgers so we felt that as seasoned connoisseurs we owed ourselves a trip to Britain’s burger ground zero to see what the future has in store. To begin with we grazed on some Spicy Rocking Shrimp, which was fairly self explanatory, but the contrast between the creamy coleslaw and the spicy aftertaste deserves special mention as we circulated through the Hard Rock’s intimidating memorabilia selection. Whilst we realised early on that trying to save room for the mains was going to be a doomed campaign once the new boozy milkshakes entered the equation, it became clear that there was a significant danger we wouldn’t be able to fit through the door on exit. The Cookies and Cream Milkshake and it’s Strawberry Cheesecake twin are both mixed with a generous spike of Absolut vodka but the sheer creamy onslaught of it means the booze is disguised until it’s far too late. Added to the fact they were served in intimidatingly Instagram ready milk bottles and you get the feeling Park Lane will be littered with the unconscious bodies of fallen influencers in the near future.
Heading into our main course with a slight stagger, we tried mini versions of all four of the revamped burgers on the menu: The BBQ Bacon Burger hid a juicy onion ring like a thief lurking in an alleyway, the Double Decker Cheese Burger offers truly intimidating 454 grams of meat and saw my guest reach the carnivore equivalent of a runner’s high, the Moving Mountain’s Burger broke the habit of a life as I found myself praising a vegan burger and the Original Legendary Burger still had the kick to it that converted an entire nation to a new culinary religion. If that wasn’t enough we then tucked into one of the most flavourful cheesecake I’ve ever had the privilege of assailing. By the time we crawled back to the tube we were well and truly stuffed. Rock and Roll.