Weirdly, after writing that post yesterday, I feel like a weight has been lifted. I have written a list of pre-break posts that I am going to write in the next few weeks and now I am quite looking forward to it. Things that I simply must tell you about / share with you. The first is the wonder of the Fred Smith burgers from the Admiral Codrington in South Kensington.
Now there are two things to mention about this. I am not a Chelsea kind of girl and it is not my part of town, so I had never been here before. A chef friend of mine persuaded me that I was being an idiot and had to go. The food there was that good. So we booked it in.
The second thing is that the recent obsession with burgers has started to melt my brain slightly. I like a good burger, I even love it, but it is dominating the food airwaves in London way too much and sometimes I feel like screaming: CAN’T WE PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT BLOODY BURGERS?!
But back to Fred Smith’s burgers. Because these are absolutely amazing.
Fred is impressive. Chatting to him about food is so much fun. He does lots of clever things and takes so much joy in it. The cheese on the burgers was amazing. What cheese is it? Well, Fred makes his own. Of course he does. He infuses milk with Ventrèche bacon from Alsace (isn’t Alsace the best place ever? Great punchy bacon and all that lovely wine). He then reduces that down, takes the bacon out (but there is so much of that bacon in this milk now), adds 3 cheeses, then lets that set, and that is the cheese he uses for his burgers.
He uses O’Shea’s beef. For the uninitiated, O’Shea’s is a fantastic Irish butchers in Knightsbridge that sources brilliant meat. It is expensive, but you pay for the superb quality and their knowledge. Fred makes no compromises.
Now, the burgers. We had three. One is not on the menu yet and is in development, the chuckwagon. The chuckwagon is a beef burger that is cooked like it is fried chicken. My brain hurt a little but but I loved the idea, and this was the first one we tried. Crisp crumb, yielding pink beef, almost like a tartare, and a layer of that cheese in the middle of the burger. I loved it. My chef friend wanted more acidity but I was so distracted by the wonderful flavour of the beef, and the contrasting texture and that cheese, I didn’t even notice.
Next up the Big Mac. Yup – a Big Mac. Only this one is made with O’Shea’s beef. Two 2oz patties, that cheese, gherkins, moist maker, this was so like a big mac, but the best big mac ever.
I was getting really full now, even though we were sharing them.
The last one was the cheeseburger. Filthy but so incredibly delicious. That amazing texture, deep pink, lovely char, lots of cheese, great bun. But I was finished. I could only have a bite. But it was delicious.
Other things to note: brilliant shredded pork crackling and apple sauce to dip it in, lovely deep fried squid and ceviche, great mac and cheese (with tiny bits of that punch Alsace bacon in). The beef is aged in house and the restaurant roof rolls back in summer. Pricing is spot on for a burger of this quality: £15, on a par with Hawksmoor and other contemporaries.
Fred is definitely one to watch and one to visit. Do yourself a favour and get down there. These burgers aren’t on the regular menu, he did them specially for us to try, but the cheeseburger is, and it is mighty fine too.
PS. Another great reason to visit the area is Racine, if you haven’t been there yet either.