There’s a high bench in the window of Liverpool Street’s Patty & Bun. The bench is wide enough for two, but there’s three of us elbow to elbow on tall stools. We’re the only ones not in suits. Though we don’t know each other, and though we’ve never met, there is a feeling of mutual understanding thick in the airspace that we’re sharing. In front of each of us sits a bundle of white paper, on a military-style metal canteen tray, swaddling the most exquisitely greasy and moist burger any one of us has ever laid eyes upon.
Given the current circumstances — the black cabs screeching to a halt outside, the muscled, suited city workers shoulder-barging their way into the tiny restaurant to get their lunchtime burger fix, phones in hand and manners left back at the office — it’s easy to see why the meaty monstrosity in my hand is called the Ari Gold Cheeseburger. Blunt, bold, brilliant, to-the-point, this burger is everything the straight-talking powerhouse agent from HBO series Entourage is and more.
The Ari Gold comprises a beef patty; cheese; lettuce; tomato; pickled onions; ketchup; Patty & Bun’s own mayo; optional bacon. All in a Brioche bun, of course. The Metropolist respects that they request your cooking preference, and we asked for it cooked medium, on the understanding that these days a ‘medium’ burger is what a Brit would have called medium-rare five years ago. True to form, it came perfectly cooked — a touch charred on the outside and almost blushing within.
Were we to be as brutally outspoken as Mr Gold himself we’d say the restaurant’s titling is indicative of its parochiality. The rosemary salt chips are flaccid and a touch under seasoned and not half as good as competitor Honest Burger’s, and the selection of soft drinks on offer is under par for a burger joint of this caliber too. In making one of the best burgers in London, Patty & Bun have forgotten that the devil is in the detail. However, folding and refolding the various layers of the Ari Gold into our mouths, this is easy to overlook.