Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Burgers in the rain

With the Government 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme about to come to an end, I wanted to make sure I availed myself of the discount at least once, having been let down in this department by the Real Jerk last week.

So a trip to Bleecker Burger Victoria was very much in order as Bleecker had been marketing themselves on the back of the scheme fairly aggressively on Social Media, and I'd wanted to try their burgers for some time anyway.

So here's a quick-fire review of a pretty decent no-frills burger joint. We haven't done one of them for a while...


There's the beef! 

It's a slightly strange 'new normal' setup at Bleecker, with a few outdoor tables only, only a tiny waiting space inside and ordering and pre-payment via a touchscreen upon entry.
So, beef al fresco it is then.

Cooked to perfection
This wouldn't be an issue, only it started absolutelyfuckingpissingit down just as we were tucking in, but we were allowed to lurk inside and finish our meals in the waiting area before everything became too soggy.

The menu is limited, which is a good sign for a small burger joint and an indicator that they will live or die by the quality of their beef and fries with no hiding places.

Your options are basically a single or double burger, with or without bacon and a choice of cheese. Which is fine. They also get brownie points - indeed they get pinkie points - for allowing you to choose a medium burger rather than one that is 'well done'. 

The burger patties are maybe a little on the thin side, but they're beefy and juicy and do that thing that all good burgers do where they sort of meld in with the bun and the cheese to form a gooey but delicious mess. 

Bleecker Burger interior
It's Bleecker inside

For me the Bacon Double Cheeseburger is the one that works best in terms of flavour and texture balance. I have my reservations about 'American Cheese' as a product, but if you're going to put it anywhere, a burger would be the place to do so!

The Blue Cheese is pungent and salty, but maybe overwhelms the beef just a little, and at a place where eating from a plate with cutlery is not an option, it all gets just a little bit too gooey and messy, leaving something resembling a beef dripping, blue cheese and rainwater soup at the bottom of your polystyrene box! 

So, I never thought I'd say this, but I'd pick 'American' over 'Blue'. Just this one time.

The fries are OK - crispy and skin-on - but nothing spectacularly special compared to some of the alternatives around (Hawksmoor, Honest, Meatliquor). The 'angry' version includes (not particularly) Hot Sauce and Blue cheese, while the 'house fries' come with a sort of unobtrusive and generic burger sauce that also, not unpredictably, appears in the burger options.

Burgers and fries
I do like the slightly sordid messiness of the burgers here, but I found myself longing for some other flavours to go with the beefiness - specifically the combination of mustard, ketchup and gherkin - which wasn't on offer.

Their chocolate and vanilla shake is creamy and tasty, without being overpoweringly sweet, but it is the Coffee version that I'd really recommend in lieu of dessert and coffee. Again it's nicely balanced and reminds me of an Italian Affogato.

You can have a beer (Brooklyn lager on draught) and of course I did, but there's very little encouragement to linger over either beer or food. This is very much an 'eat and go' place, which is fine, though slightly more so than I was expecting. 

That being the case, it's really not very welcoming in the rain, but that's hardly their fault. They have a handful of other branches across Central London - I'm guessing the formula and the food will be pretty much the same. 

Polystyrene boxes piled up
Your order, sir
With the government discount scheme, one can get a burger, fries and soft drink for about a tenner, otherwise you're looking at £20-25 a head.

I'll almost certainly return for further burgers here when I'm in the area and feeling beef-hungry because it hits the spot and does what it does very well.

Perhaps best avoided when it's raining though.



Where to find it...

Bleecker Victoria

205 Victoria Street,



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