Sometimes all you want is a good juicy burger. Unfortunately that's not something we get readily in Ireland. Order a burger in any generic bar and odds are it will arrive dry and overcooked with all the flavour profile of sawdust. You end up wondering if the chef has ever tasted one of his creations, because there really isn't any other explanation for the existence of these bricks.
Then there are several "gourmet" burger joints which do a great job of making creative burgers with loads of flavours. But in the case of most, when you peel away the toppings and chipotle sauce, the patty itself isn't often great. Believe it or not, Eddie Rocket's often gets my vote as a venue with a great burger as they don't mess too much with their burgers, and produce a pretty decent end result.
New joint Bunsen Burger believes that it's time to take burgers back to basics. Owner Tom Gleeson missed the great burgers he'd enjoyed in New York, and wanted to recreate the simple, perfect hamburger here in Dublin. The menu at Bunsen literally fits on a business card-sized menu, with just two options: hamburger or cheeseburger. The patties are made from Black Aberdeen Angus which is ground fresh daily and served on a custom variation of an Amish bread roll.
|The Bunsen menu|
First impressions are suitably cool - the Bunsen logo, a nicely stylised letter B, is branded on the fries holder, the burger wrapper and the paper liner which covers our lightweight aluminum trays. The fries are thin cut and crispy, while the burger looks tall in its wrapper.
Unwrapping the burger reveals the soft Amish roll, which looks light and fluffy. The crumb nature of the patty shows that it is clearly made with ground mince, which hasn't been over processed or handled. Melted cheese, mustard and ketchup ooze from the edges. When I pick it up, the juices immediately start to run over my hands, onto the paper, while the roll compresses nicely in my grip.
The burger is juicy, juicy, juicy, cooked to light pink in the middle. Every bite has pickle or onion, mustard or ketchup to complement the meat. The patties aren't actually very big, so the burger disappears in a few mouthfuls. I like this as it means that you don't fall into a meat coma after eating.
|The burger, unwrapped|
There's no doubting that this is a damn fine burger. Somehow it reminds me of eating chip van burgers as a child huddled against the rain at summer agricultural shows (Ireland, eh?), or crowding around in the gang after a teenage disco. It reminds me of how good and simple a burger can be.
One negative. We eat at lunchtime and the total for two cheeseburgers (€7.45), one fries (€2.95), one coke (€1.95) and one sparkling water (€2.50) comes to a total of €22.30. It just felt a tad too dear, especially with the small portion size of fries.
But I must admit that I did enjoy the burger. I enjoyed it so much that while eating, I wished it would turn into a never-ending burger, along the lines of Willy Wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper. Sadly that didn't happen, which means that another visit to Bunsen is required.
Bunsen Burger, 36 Wexford Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 552 5408