Tuesday 27 November 2012

The 'Stack', Malmaison, Clerkenwell

"Would you like to try our Stack burger?" they said, "Hells yes!" was my reply, especially as i've had Malmaison on my burgers-to-try list for some time. 
Located on Charterhouse Square in Clerkenwell, Malmaison is a grand looking hotel with a fancy lobby and an inviting looking brasserie downstairs. Spacious and peaceful, the dining room is a nice place to be. We get settled in leather chairs near an open fire. 

The Burger Stack is their classic Mal Burger topped with a foie gras slider and onion rings, and its all pinned to a board by a metal spear. It comes with very decent fries and will set you back £19.95 (but you probably can't keep the spear).
Lets start with the real treat of this towering burger. Sitting right on the top and perched on a stack of delicious deep fried onion rings is a few mouthfuls of wicked indulgence. A foie gras slider with caramelised onions. Now this isn't your standard slice of fois gras pâté, this is a dirty great slice of warm foie gras and it tastes superb with the caramelised onions in the little brioche bun. 
The copper pan contains some sticky homemade ketchup with a hint of barbecueyness. Tasty.

Once you've eaten your way through the slider and onion rings (Jenga skills are useful), you get to the main event. To make the patty, they use a half pound of 28 day hung Aberdeen Angus beef from well known local London butcher Donald Russell. The patty comes covered in a layer of Gruyère and there's a tasty slice of grilled back bacon nicely sunk into that melted cheese. I'm not a huge bacon-in-a-burger fan but this worked very well, it didn't overpower anything and it broke apart easily during each bite which is not easy to do with back bacon, so top marks there.
Under the patty is a crunchy, creamy & mustardy white cabbage slaw. This sits on top of a slice of green lettuce which acts as a protective layer to keep the abundant slaw juices from soggying the lower bun, a 'slaw-guard' if you will. Its clever burger design and i like it.
The bun is excellent, a perfect brioche burger bun, its light, not too squidgy and not too sweet tasting. 

So to the patty. I ordered medium rare, only to be told by an apologetic waitress that they could only serve it cooked medium or well [i later found out its due to their adherence of the pesky FSA's silly guidelines]. I asked for the minimum amount of cooking possible and was surprised to see that it arrived a bit red in the centre. But even though it was fairly juicy for the amount of cooking, it was a little dry at the edges and to be honest, i'm a medium rare guy because of the juiciness and softer texture - i want no dryness. There was still plenty of flavour, the mince wasn't overly mixed and it was well seasoned, but dammit i'd be happy to sign a waiver for a medium rare patty at this place, because everything else was awesome. 

So if you order your burgers well done, you are in for a real treat with this one. But if like me you prefer a medium rare patty, then its a bit frustrating. It left me thinking that if you could order a medium rare patty, the Mal Stack could be one of the best burgers in London. 
7/10 (patty 5/10, everything else 9/10)
18-21 Charterhouse Square, EC1M 6AH
Brasserie de Malmaison on Urbanspoon

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