Proper Burgers 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 4/5
Note: Alcohol is not served on the premises. All meat is halal.
It’s that time of year isn’t it? Don’t you hate it when the clocks go back and it’s the start of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Wake up in the dark, go to work, come home in the dark and hibernate…repeat for 6 months. There is one advantage to this gloomy weather though, you feel less guilty about indulging in some comfort food as you can depend on your t-shirt underneath your wooly jumper under your parker jacket to conceal your sins!
It’s around 8.30pm on Saturday and Mrs Halal Plug and I are in intense negotiations about dinner destinations. I’m in a race against the clock before her hangry side surfaces so I know we need to agree on something quickly, preferably local. Her requirements are simple, ‘something meaty’.. which is fine by me! We jump in the car without knowing where we are going – this forces us to agree quickly on Proper Burgers as it ticks the requirements, is local and it’s on the hitlist.
20 minutes later we are parked up and in the restaurant. The decor is retro and quirky, with mix tapes plastered over the wall, nicely spaced tables (I hate it when people try to squeeze past me whilst Im trying to eat my dinner) and an open style kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work. As Danny Dyer would say, it’s a ‘proper gaff’ within his very own East London manor. It’s not too busy, but I notice one guy wearing an upside down tennis visor cap to match his roadman starter pack of gilet and one glove – couldn’t work out if he was placed there as part of the ‘quirky’ decor or whether he’s just come back from filming ‘baiting out sidechicks’ outside Stratford Westfield station – Whatever, it’s Leyton, So I guess I have to deal with it.
Quick look at the menu and within seconds we know what we want. We ordered buffalo wings as they were out of sweet and spicy ones. What started out as annoying was really a blessing in disguise. About 10 minutes later when the wings arrived, they were stacked on top of each other covered in sauce. One bite and we were hooked. Great flavour, tangy, spicy and didn’t have a huge amount of skin on the chicken (always puts me off). Expected 5 in a portion but got a cheeky bonus one which always ends up tasting the best. On another day, I could probably go through 2 portions, but on this occasion I opted to be sensible knowing a burger was on the way.
For mains I ordered a Cheesy burger which consisted of a 4oz beef patty, turkey bacon and Monteray Jack cheese which came with the usual lettuce, tomato (instantly picked out) onions and relish in a cream brioche bun. Was pretty impressed with this burger to be fair. It was on the small side but since I opted for the 4oz (again trying to be sensible – stupid idea) I could only blame myself. Cooked to a medium well, the burger was not chewy and had good flavour, whilst the bun was extremely soft and rounded it off nicely. The Mrs opted for the ‘Tony Montana’ which was the same as mine but was cooked to medium and additionally had jalepenos, grilled peppers, mushrooms and chipotle mayo. I can usually tell from the look on her face if there was regret at her order, but she seemed pretty content with her choice. Having sneakily taken a swab of the mayo – it was me who had the regret as it tasted like I should have asked for it in my burger.
The mistake we made was a rookie one. We both ordered our own sides, thus realising too late that one would be sufficient given these places generally give a generous portion. With a 4oz burger around the £6 mark, charging close to £4 for a various types of fries should have also acted as a warning sign. However, I guess on this occasion we were caught napping, and luckily they were able to pack the portion we couldn’t finish. I ordered Truffle fries which were skinny fries topped with parmesan cheese and truffle oil. When they arrived they looked like they had rosemary in them too – which meant there was further regret of ordering 2 sides as the Mrs ordered…yep..you’ve guessed it…Rosemary Fries. In any case, sides are sides so not the end of the world – and they complimented the burger well so no complaints from me.
Overall, with a couple of drinks, the bill came to a reasonable £35 for 2 – I was happy with the service as they did the basics well (i.e. knowing theres a strong chance you want chilli/mayo with your fries etc). It was a nice clean restaurant with a good atmosphere and good tasty food. Would I go again though? Yes I would. Like the title says, Proper Burgers in a Proper Gaff ..only next time I hope I’ll be dining amongst customers who have been briefed on more appropriate dinner attire.