On a lovely August summer’s day we found ourselves in London, dodging through the crowds of Manchester United and Leicester fans making their way up to Wembley for that afternoon’s Charity Shield match, before making our way along the backstreets to a small, inconspicuous-looking pub located just behind Euston Station.
We’d been invited to sample the new Burger Craft menu at The Exmouth Arms. Unfortunately, we hadn’t been able to attend the launch event, so we were kindly asked if we would like to come along on a separate occasion to try them. We weren’t going to say no!
The pub seems to be a hidden gem – close to great transport links yet in a quiet spot off the beaten track – it makes it a good haunt for those lucky enough to be “in the know” about the amazing food and beer on offer here.
After a journey of a couple of hours and with the sun beating down, drinks were definitely the first thing on our agenda. With the Exmouth Arms also part of the PubLove project, a gigantic range of beers (and gins) lined the walls behind the bar – many of which I had never seen before.
However, before you get carried away with all the tempting looking booze, if you visit one of the Burger Craft venues you’ll notice that they have, very cleverly, matched each burger to a type of beer that complements it perfectly. So this obviously has a big influence on the drink you order – something to keep in mind.
Feeling especially hungry, I decided to go for “The Juicy Bastard”, with two beef patties, cheese, tomato, lettuce and BBQ sauce. Hannah went for “The Cheesy One”, though added both accompaniments of bacon and red onion jam.
So with me primed to get an IPA based on my selection, and Hannah being advised to get a lager, we took a look at the drinks menu.
As we were in London I wanted to try a beer from the city. The 8 Ball Rye IPA from Beavertown Brewery based in Tottenham instantly caught my eye, and although it was an unfiltered ale, this didn’t put me off (despite having a previous bad experience with an unfiltered beer before).
I also didn’t expect it to come in a can, but I think this allowed them make full use of the space for the eye-catching artwork.
Luckily I wasn’t disappointed this time – in fact, this was one of the most distinctive ales I’ve ever had, with a hoppy and spicy taste, and at 6.2%, it was definitely strong. As for the colour – well just look for yourself – beautiful!
Perhaps wanting something a bit more interesting than a lager, Hannah went for an equally cool choice that I must admit, did make me a little bit jealous. She opted for a taster selection of Meantime Brewery beers – with a third pint of their lager, pale ale and red ale all served in a wooden tray.
I loved the range of colours here, all looking as appealing as each other. I know if it was me drinking this I’d start at the light end and get darker as I drank. I guess this is why they’ve labelled them 1, 2, 3 in that order!
It wasn’t long before our burgers arrived at our table. And despite our waiter initially getting them the wrong way around, we soon swapped our rather fetching traditional plates, and marvelled at the hugeness of our meals.
First up, the Juicy Bastard was a real beefy beast. Yet despite having two chunky patties, it was still completely possible to eat this with hands without it disintegrating into a soggy mess. It definitely helped that it was served in a solid baked brioche bun, which easily rose to the challenge of holding everything together.
I love a burger that focuses on its main component – the beef – so for me this was probably the best choice on the menu that I could have gone for.
Not only were there two patties, but the meat was some of the best I’ve had in a burger. The Burger Craft menu describes it as “28-day dry-aged beef from Walter Rose’s famous farm in Wiltshire.” They must be doing something right over there.
It was also great to see the way the meat was cooked. I always prefer a medium burger, so was happy to see a streak of red through the top patty (although not so much on the bottom one).
Hannah had a (slightly) smaller burger than mine; The Cheesy One only had one patty, but with the addition of bacon and red onion jam, it still made this a bit of a jaw dislocating tower.
Hannah was equally happy with her choice, with the red onion jam in particular providing a highly distinctive yet complementary taste to the quality beef.
Overall, our experience at The Exmouth Arms was great, and we think the burgers it offers are absolutely top-notch. I hope Burger Craft are able to promote what they are doing a bit more, because in my opinion, they are right up there with some of the best burgers we’ve tried.
If you’re interested in trying what Burger Craft has to offer for yourself, they are based in a number of pubs across London. You can find the full list of locations here.
The Exmouth Arms can be found at 1 Starcross Street, London, NW1 2HR. The review took place on August 7th 2016, with the cost being covered by Burger Craft and the invite provided by Leisure PR.