I was torn by Lucky Chip. To admit that it was the best I have eaten this year would be to strike at the heart of my favourite burger occurrence of 2011, the Meateasy pop up in New Cross. London food-bloggers have been making comparisons between the two for the better part of a year for good reason. Both stand proudly top of the heap in anything you will find in our lovely capital.
Technically Lucky Chip are slightly behind the ‘start-with-a-van-do-a-pop-up-make-enough-money-to-buy-a-centrally-based-restaurant’ formula (they have the pub pop up and a van at Netil Market on the weekends). The Sebright Arms had a pleasing hum but was tame compared to the highly entertaining hysteria that was Meateasy (though we did go on a Wednesday night). What it lacked in party atmosphere however, it more than made up with in chairs (how nice to be able to pig out in a leisurely, sat down type manner). And we didn’t even have to queue for the loo, let alone our table or the bar.
I loved the pub, which was slightly dodgy looking on the outside but (with wood panelling, dark red booths and proper stained glass windows) a gem once through its doors. I also liked the menu - with enough choice to show careful thought, but not so much as to panic you into never making a decision. I was particularly excited when I spotted the Tom Selleck which included my personal favourite guilty pleasure in a bun, pineapple (cheese, bacon, barbeque sauce and, rather blissfully, a beetroot onion ring). My companions tried the Kevin Bacon (cheese and bacon) and one burger of which the name escapes me, but definitely involved blue cheese and jalapenos.
Chilli cheese fries were fine. I prefer Meat Liquor’s which are slightly filthier tasting. That being said, chuck some spicy meat and cheese on greasy potato, and I’m not going to complain too loudly.
My ‘Tom Selleck’ arrived looking pretty damn sexy; a towering mass of juicy meat, oozing cheese, pink bacon, green lettuce and a cheerful slab of charred yellow pineapple, all encased in a shiny golden bun. There was a slight problem fitting it in my mouth, then another trying to keep the whole thing together, but once I’d got my technique down (close eyes, ignore burger juice leakage and pretend no one is looking), I could fully immerse myself in the experience. I’ll leave the technique talk and just say that this kind of sauce running down your chin eating is exactly up my street. Plus it just tasted really bloody good.
Like Meat Liquor, Lucky Chip has an excellent central product - patties that are moist, tasty and clearly made from high quality beef. Like Meat Liquor, they are joyfully messy to eat and both play with different topping combos, taking the product to heady gastronomic heights. I could sit here deliberating the equality of their virtues all day (anything to avoid picking sides). However, as the Lucky Chip pop up will continue to exist until (earliest) beginning of April, I’m taking it as an excellent excuse to not only prolong the debate, but to spend the next four weeks eating a lot of burgers. And, of course, reaching a convincing and well researched conclusion.
Lucky Chip @ The Sebright Arms
31-35 Coate Street