Like other serious about burger joints that have opened during the year, the menu at Patty & Bun is a non nonsense straight to the burger affair, with a choice of three beef burgers, a chicken burger, a lamb burger and, to be said quietly, a mushroom burger for veggies. There's some side dishes too including 'winger winger chicken dinner' (wings), and of course, fries.
As lovers of the TV series Entourage, we're tickled that the 'basic' cheeseburger is named after Ari Gold, the politically incorrect, loud mouthed, short tempered Hollywood agent supremo. Toppings are listed as cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, ketchup, Smokey P&B mayo (bacon optional), already making it sound just a little busier than a regular cheeseburger. The other two burger options, Smokey Robinson and Jose Jose Chilli take things even further. When the burger arrives, the grease-proof paper is already soaked and looks like it might give up at any time (though it doesn't), and when you open it, the wrapping is already smothered with melted cheese. This will be messy eating for sure but already there's a thrill of excitement.
In some ways it's more than a burger, not necessarily in the 'greater' sense, but that the toppings are all so well done and in generous but appropriate portions, the lettuce crisp, the cheese meltingly present, that it combines to give a mouthful of flavour that is greater than the sum of the parts, it works together. It becomes hard to compare it with other burgers because (ironically perhaps) you're less aware of the patty and bun in their own right simply because of how cleverly unified all the ingredients have become. It is undoubtedly an Oscar winning performance.
The chicken burger too is smarter than average, interestingly, no breast meat here, rather, the more flavoursome leg meat that has been brined, confited and finished on the griddle. The difference is notable, and interesting, though our primal instinct is to prefer the deep fry of the Dirty Chicken Burger at you know where. That's just personal though and the 'Hot Chic' chicken burger here is again hard to fault.
Possibly perfect however are the chicken wings, which have also been brined and then confited for in excess of 24 hours. The wings are plumped up like mini rugby balls, nothing skinny about these, and coated in an opaque BBQ sauce, the darkness broken only by a scattering of green onion. The long cooking process sees the meat fall off the bone like it might with slow cooked ribs and the crispy crunch of the outside, the complex smokiness of the BBQ and juicy tender inside left us thinking these might be the best wings we've ever had.
As we came to the end of the meal, we inevitably asked the question: if we are in Marylebone and want a burger, would we now choose here over MEATliquor? P&B wins with the wings, ML wins on the chicken burger. But on the beef burger? It seems impossible to say. Who would have thought that two great cheeseburgers could be so different, but they are. I think we would decide on the fly, moments before, and fortunately, right now it's simply not necessary to have to say that this is better than that.
Patty & Bun is brilliant, we will certainly return, and we loved all of their offering including the food, the service and the environment which is right for what it is. It's hard to believe that burgers can really get much better than this, and London, and Londoners, are lucky that the quality threshold for new openings that want to cause a splash has been set so high, and Patty & Bun must surely be amongst the best of new openings.