Bloomberg – The humble hamburger rarely has a place in traditional fine dining, but for many top chefs it’s one of the food world’s greatest guilty pleasures.
It’s a simple dish that’s found everywhere and loved all around the globe. But where can you get the best one and what’s the secret to turning a handful of minced beef (or something else) and some bread into a delicacy? We asked the culinary elite – chefs laden with Michelin stars and other accolades – for their favourite burgers when they are having a sneaky time out from gastronomy.
Here are their picks.
Burger Project, Sydney.
Neil Perry is the big-name chef behind Burger Project, which works with local suppliers. The patty is hand-made, 100 per cent grass-fed beef. Try the American, with Cape Grim beef, cheese, pickles, onions, mustard, secret sauce and rose mayo; or a simple cheeseburger. Chosen by Scott Collins of London.
Honbo, Hong Kong.
This homage to the classic American burger joint serves great food. The patties are made with Double Gold American beef from Wisconsin, served in a potato milk bun. The double cheeseburger is the signature option. Chosen by Shane Osborn of Arcane, Hong Kong.
Badia, Grand Hôtel Thalasso, Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
This grand old hotel overlooking the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is an idyllic spot to eat. And Le Burger is particularly good, featuring truffled bread, Charolais ground beef, Basque sheep’s cheese and Espelette pepper ketchup with fries. Chosen by Shane Osborn of Arcane, Hong Kong.
Swati Snacks, Mumbai.
Burgers don’t have to be about a chunk of meat. Try the Vada Pav at this popular vegetarian cafe. Fried potato dumplings are served in buttery soft buns and laced with sinus-clearing spicy chutneys and deep fried green chilies. Not for the fainthearted. Chosen by Ravinder Bhogal of Jikoni, London; Prateek Sadhu of Masque, Mumbai.
MOS Burger, Tokyo.
This Japanese chain has been serving burgers adapted to Japanese tastes since 1972. Try the Rice Burger served with grilled beef, sweet soy and BBQ sauce between patties of compacted rice. The Kinpira Burger is a great vegan option. Chosen by Hisato Hamada of Wagyumafia, Tokyo.
The Cutlet Sandwich from Wagyumafia at Nakameguro station is made with thick-sliced pure Kobe beef, breaded and deep fried, sandwiched between two slices of Japanese milk bread with a secret house-made sauce. It harkens back to the original burger at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, yet is distinctly Japanese, said three-Michelin star chef Kyle Connaughton. The prices are something else. The budget (Zabuton) version is JPY5,000 (USD45.50) rising to JPY50,000 for the Kobe Champion. Chosen by Kyle Connaughton of Singlethread, Healdsburg, California.
Dinings SW3, London.
Restaurateur Scott Collins is a hero among burger fans. But his pick is an unusual one: A native lobster slider with yuzu aioli and pickled shallot. “Expensive, small, perfectly formed and eats as good as it reads,” he said. Chosen by Scott Collins of London.
Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti is one of the most admired men in the burger business. So where does he go other than the Shack? “I love going to Hawksmoor for their burger,” he said. “So many good ones to choose from.” Chosen by Randy Garutti of Shake Shack, New York; José Pizarro of Pizarro, London.
Five Guys (various).
This American chain is expanding internationally and has caught the attention of some of London’s finest chefs. Claude Bosi, who holds two Michelin stars, said, “I like the choice of toppings and the meat has good flavour. But the chips are the best.” Chosen by Claude Bosi of Claude Bosi, London; Ashley Palmer-Watts, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London.
Chefs love this regional chain founded in California. Claude Bosi praises the great meat patty, light bread and brilliant shakes. “A trip to In-and-Out burger is always a must,” said New Zealand chef Josh Emett, who goes for the Double Double, made with two cheese-topped patties. It’s the same for Randy Garutti: “If I’m in Los Angeles, I’ll snag a Double Double.” Chosen by Claude Bosi of Claude Bosi, London; Josh Emett of Rātā, Queenstown, New Zealand; Josh Niland of Saint Peter, Sydney; Martha Ortiz of Filigrana, Mexico City; and Randy Garutti of Shake Shack, New York.