Hans texted me one Friday to say that he was too busy for lunch, to which I replied that I was glad as I was meeting Kate that evening for an indulgent French dinner. He then Whatsapped me a link to the Le Bun menu saying that this was the only French food he would like. I replied that Le Bun at Le Zetter was less than 10 minutes from my work. This was enough to change his mind about his workload, and so off we went to Le Zetter just a day after we tried ExMa’s Dirty Burger much to the chagrin of our cholesterol.
We did not have a reservation, but they said they could let us have a table for an hour. I’m not too sure how long people usually have for their lunch hour (in Hans’ case, anywhere up to 1.5 hours) but usually an hour in a restaurant is more than sufficient.
The seat we were given was a table for two by the window, a seat that we would also be given on our third trip, but not our second. I would call it the best seat in the restaurant. It was an unusually sunny day for November and, while too cold for dining al fresco, gave enough of a feeling of dining outside.
The restaurant at The Zetter has, to date, my favourite ambience for lunchtime dining. The tables are well spaced, but not too well spaced so you can still peer at others as they do odd things such as eat a burger with a knife and fork. The decor is electic, and there is a semi-open kitchen. Plus there are the aforementioned big windows.
The waitresses had rather jaunty vests.
Hans wanted the boeuf bourguignon bun and, knowing that I would be having boeuf bourguignon later that evening, went for the confit canard burger.
The food came very quickly. The first bite was okay. The second bite was splendid, and every subsequent bite become moreso.
The bourguignon was good – far better than most burgers – but Hans conceded that I had ordered better, as he took another large bite from my burger. The thin frites in the confit duck burger gave it an extra textural dimension that, it turns out, most burgers are lacking.
This is the best burger in London.
We also ordered a side of duck fat chips, which came with truffle mayo. Hans doesn’t like truffle. I asked for ketchup, though he said that they wouldn’t have ketchup. Of course they had ketchup.
“I don’t want to be that guy, but can you please dip your chip the other way.” Ketchup -> truffle; it’s just good manners.
We paid and wandered.
And returned the following Monday.
Hans had cravings over the weekend and was hungover on Monday.
A little hair of the dog never hurt nobody, especially when the hair of the dog is as impressive as this:
A Bloody Mary topped with a mini truffle burger. How delightfully indulgent.
The Bloody Mary was overspiced. It was too much for Hans, but I quite liked it, though it got me a bit more buzzed than I initially had thought. The burger was tasty.
Hans had considered ordering a single truffle burger as a starter but I suggested that he tried the duck poutine frites to match his duck confit burger main. This was a poor decision as for £8 he got the grand total of three poutine ‘frites’, that is coated and deep fried pieces of duck with a few measly curds dotted around the plate. The confit burger itself is also £8 so I have no idea how or why the poutine (“poutine”) was the same price.
The burger was sloppier this time, but still delicious.
The Grain Store: A Short and Uneventful Story
The waitress, shown blurrily in the background of the picture above, got talking to us as we were paying. I asked if she thought it would be busy this lunch (we went quite early) as I am the queen of small talk, and she said that she doesn’t even work there, rather she works at Grain Store, another link in the Zetter Group chain, and was moved here for the shift as it was so busy.
Earlier that day, people at my work had decided that Grain Store would be the place that we would have a Christmas meal of sorts. So I probed.
“Tell us about Grain Store. Is it good?”
“Yeah it’s really good! It specialises in vegetables, but it has meat too. And is good for vegetarians. Are you a vegetarian?”
Please refer to our bill.
“Well there’s plenty for you to have then!”
“What would you recommend?”
“The ravioli. It’s amazing. And the lamb.”
Two weeks later I went to Grain Store and had the ravioli. I thought about having the lamb, but having not liked lamb for 10 years and had it recently once and for the first time not minding it, wasn’t quite ready to commit to a sole lamb main course. Plus I had a large lunch that day. The ravioli was quite nice, though not traditionally Italian at all. One of the girls I was with said that the ravioli wasn’t actually pasta and was instead made from butternut squash. I fancied pasta so asked the waitress if the ravioli was pasta and she looked at me like I was mental: of course it’s bloody pasta. At £14.50, and for the portion size, it was fine at best. Give me a dirty burger (or a Dirty Burger) any day. I recommended someone else have the lamb and they enjoyed it. Recommendations ahoy!
The third time we went was the third to last day of Le Bun’s Zetter residency – it is now housed at Winter Wonderland and then nomadically across the capital. We even booked, using my website du semaine: Opentable.
We were late.
We were seated at table #1.
Hans brought his camera, an early Christmas present to himself. It is very good, and makes me wonder whether I should upgrade my micro 4/3 to a APS-C. Hell, I like Lumix. I’m happy for now.
Service was slow.
Hans went for a double truffle burger, I again went for the canard. I asked if they had any specials. The waitress said no. The menu was the menu. “It is all special.” [On instagram they had previously advertised a 12 days of Christmas specials range which I guess didn’t work out too well for them.]
The food took an age to come.
It was very tasty, though the first time remains the best. The duck still wins out, though the double truffle was very good considering that Hans, a truffle naysayer, very much enjoyed it.
The service was slow to pay. We did not tip. I was late back to work.
9/10 – zut alors! Le best burger à Londres.