It’s not often that I’ll start a review of a meal with the desserts, but this place warrants it. To be honest, all of the food was amazing, but if you take one look at their desserts and don’t want to devour them then I’m not sure what planet you’re from 😉 A gooey half baked chocolate chip cookie stuffed with milk and white chocolate chips and a salted caramel brownie, both served warm with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.. Ultimate food heaven!
Don’t tell me you didn’t stare at that for a good few minutes 😉
Anyway.. back to the start of the meal, before we even knew such wonderful desserts existed! Bun & Bar in Highbury is a newbie to the huge number of incredible food spots opening up away from central London. It’s only been open for three months but it’s so well established that you’d never notice. It’s in between Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park – about a 15 minute walk from both, but the Highbury & Islington route is much nicer as it’s though a beautiful park and along quieter residential streets. Like many little gems, it pops up out of nowhere, surrounded by cheap takeaways and bargain stores but don’t be fooled because it’s nothing like that inside.
It’s a lovely little space – with wooden tables, a random mix of chairs and stools and even some couches. There are vintage canvases scattered around on the whitewashed walls, quirky bare lightbulbs provide just enough light and there’s an old fireplace stacked with beer bottles which gives it a rustic feel. The bar is open and there are spirits and mixers lined up as well as a metal wine rack and a random assortment of vintage décor – a burger joint with a more refined feel.
As soon as we walked in we were greeted with a huge smile by Sirin herself – the woman who’d got in touch with me and asked if I’d like to come down to try their food. She was absolutely lovely – friendly, passionate and so clearly invested in ensuring that every single customer left happy. From the moment we sat down she couldn’t do enough for us and when I couldn’t decide on a cocktail (I actually rarely drink and when I do I usually stick to what I know!), she was more than happy to let me try a few and she suggest a couple based on what flavours I said I preferred.
To start with I got an Amaretto Sour and Marcus chose a Caipirinha. I was a little dubious about mine at first.. apparently it included egg whites to give it it’s smooth finish, but it was amazing – I don’t drink cocktails often but with all of the free meals I’m lucky enough to be getting offered I’m definitely getting used to them 😉 It was both sweet and sour with a beautiful cherry taste and a hint of citrus. Marcus’ was a little more bitter but it had sugar crystals inside to make it less strong.
Their cocktails are obviously popular – they’re well made, I saw a lot of them being ordered and the guys working behind the bar clearly take great pride in what they do. Sirin mentioned that their original branch, in Haringey, is more focused on their bar (despite also serving food) and it’s clear that they’ve brought their passion for good cocktails and drinks to their other smaller London venue, whilst making it more about the food. And the food is bloody good. As with most burger places, the menu is simple but it has everything you could want – good burgers, veggie options and plenty of add ons, sides and dips. I went for the B&B Fire burger (a Cajun blackened beef patty, apple wood smoked cheddar, baon, jalapeño pesto, red chard baby leaf, fried onions and a Bloody Mary sauce) and Marcus chose the Bun Buster (beef patty, red onion chorizo spread, cheddar cheese, rocket, tomato and garlic mayo). All of their burgers are served on brioche buns. I personally love brioche burger buns. I feel like people have split views and some (old fashioned 😉 ) people still prefer the more traditional soft white bun, sometimes dusted with flour or sprinkled with sesame seeds but I absolutely love a brioche bun – they’re often so much softer than their white bread counterparts and the shiny glaze on top is just so appealing.
They come with rosemary fries as standard but Marcus swapped his for sweet potato fries, then we got extra BBQ dip and mac and cheese on the side. We ended up swapping a few fries as always, and they were both amazing but I personally preferred the rosemary fries as they were slightly crispier. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw them on the menu, as I’ve only had rosemary fries once before (that I can remember), and whilst I love rosemary as a herb (and with sea salt on roast potatoes!), I am really not a fan of the rosemary fries I’ve had at Patty & Bun, but I loved these!
The portions were very generous – we got mountains of fries, and they were tasty too – well seasoned, crispy and thin – just how burger fries should be. There’s nothing worse than running out of fries but there’s definitely no danger of that happening here! My burger was absolutely packed full of flavour. The jalapeño mayo had a kick to it without being too spicy, the chard was a lovely, unique addition which had wilted under the heat of the burger and the smoked cheddar was perfect. The patty itself was well cooked, the bun was incredibly soft and fluffy (but still held its shape – no one likes a soggy burger bun!) and when the whole thing was dipped in BBQ sauce it’s tough to find anything bad to say about it! Marcus certainly wasn’t complaining either.. I think it was quite a while before we realised that we hadn’t spoken for so long because we had our faces in our food!
They have plenty of add ons too which I love – amongst other things you can choose from bacon, chorizo, egg, avocado, guacamole and no fewer than five types of cheese! I was even tempted by the veggie burger as Portobello mushroom, roasted peppers and goats cheese would probably be up there with my top choices of veggie items to put in a burger!
Of course no burger and fries meal is complete without the carb heaven that is mac and cheese. And Bun & Bar do it incredibly well! It’s packed into a deep, almost never ending bowl and finished with more cheese which was bubbling and brown from the grill. The sauce was thick, creamy and indulgent – just how it should be – and the way it was packed into the dish kept it warm throughout our whole meal. Obviously there was not a scrap left when we were finished..
The desserts were ridiculous. If you hadn’t already guessed by the start of my post and my raving about them on social media, I was a huge fan! They’re new to the menu – homemade and made locally – and they’re soon to be rolled out to their other branch closeby. On the day we went they had apple pie, salted caramel brownie and a giant chocolate chip cookie stuffed with white and milk chocolate chips. They’re all served warm with chocolate sauce and ice cream, which is locally sourced from a place called Marine Ices in Camden. We were stuffed after our mains (we’d possibly had a few too many treats that afternoon too – including Crosstown donuts!) but missing out on desserts that sounded that good was out of the question, and for us it was a no brainer – we had to get the brownie and the giant chocolate chip cookie!
They were even better than they sounded, if that’s even possible. I honestly think they were up there with the best desserts I’ve ever had. The kind of dessert that makes you honestly feel like you couldn’t give a crap how bad they are for you. They were both soft and gooey inside, packed full of chocolate chips and the brownie had big chunks of soft, melted caramel inside too – with just the hint of salt to take the sweetness off. Weekend indulgence at it’s finest 🙂
It’s safe to say that we both left very happy and very, very full! Not only was the food amazing, the cocktails were lovely and the service was good too. If you’re ever in the area make sure you pay them a visit – you won’t regret it! – but make sure you get there early to ensure you get dessert before it runs out!!
Link to their website: www.bunandbar.com/