Patty Meltdown | Byron Burger Club Night #3
The Patty Meltdown may well have been the third Byron Burger Club night but more importantly it was a night of firsts for my 12-year-old son, Oliver. Not only was it his first Byron Burger Club but his very first Byron burger ever, what a brilliant introduction to the brand! This was the last day of our two-week family break, one week in Wales and the other spending time (and far too much money) on day trips. Oliver was so excited, he said that this was one of the things that he had looking forward to most. Partly because he got to spend some quality time with his dad (Saff and his sister dined upstairs, which explains the slightly poor photos) but mainly because he loves his food!
The Patty Meltdown event, like the Juicy Lucy Byron Burger Club night, was held on the lower floor of the Spitalfields branch and again any theme or styling was kept to a minimum. The soundtrack was the only nod to the era from which the ‘burger’ came from. I put burger in inverted commas because this is more of a pimped up toasted sandwich. But what a toasted sandwich!
As head chef Fred Smith put it ‘The Patty Melt is a classic U.S. diner dish from the 1940’s – the mutant offspring of a cheese toastie and a hamburger rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic.’ These Byron Burger Club nights are usually spread over two or three evenings but Patty Meltdown was held on one night only. Plus the table time slots were lowered to just 45 minutes per sitting, maybe it was an experiment to see how many diners they could squeeze into one evening? Whatever the reason I knew that it would sell out fast so I booked two of £20 tickets as soon as they became available.
Here’s what our £20 ticket got us…
1) A can of Byron lager or pale ale. (Oliver had a milkshake)
2) A bowl of Spiced Popped Pork to share. These were a lighter version of pork scratchings similar to those that Heston’s people serves up in The Crown Pub in Bray. Oliver wasn’t too keen, that’s OK it meant more for me.
3) The Patty Melt: Fred’s take on the U.S. diner classic: 100% coarsely ground chuck steak, sweet slow-stewed red onions and Swiss cheese crammed between two thick slices of rye bread with caraway seeds and cooked in a heavy griddle. Served deliciously pink in the middle with a side of freshly fried seasoned crisps and a little pot of Russian dressing.
4) Peanut Butter and white chocolate Blondie. Easily the best dessert of all of the Byron Burger Clubs so far. Moist and moreish, I think Oliver felt that he’d died and gone to tray bake heaven.
This was possibly one of the best not-quite-a-burger burgers that I’ve ever had! Not as wet and messy like the Juicy Lucy and nowhere near as dry as the poor excuse of a burger I cremated on my BBQ the other weekend (any chance of a burger masterclass Fred?) Some of the seasoned crisps were a little soggy, but that’s all, everything else was near perfection.
What worried me the most was the service, the staff were as friendly as always but they were rushed off their feet. As soon as a table was vacated the staff rushed over to prep it for the next wave of diners. This was done at the expense of the customers still enjoying their meal. We had to remind our server that we hadn’t had our Blondie and my request to have my £20 broken down into £5 notes for a tip was forgotten. So I didn’t get my fivers and our waiter didn’t get his tip – a lose lose situation.
But I’m not going to end this on a negative note. I have a lot of respect for Fred and the magic he weaves at Byron, both with his specials and the club nights, I simply think that the sittings could do with being extended.
That said, the meal was fantastic and, with a beer, is excellent value. It was worth the money alone just to see the excitement on my son’s face. He looked and felt so grown up, maybe it’s time to start a Teen Byron Burger Club? For the rest of us, sign up to the Byron Burger Club to be invited to new openings, tastings, street food parties and other events. Plus you’ll be amongst the first to hear about any future one-off club nights. Roll on the next one…