I’m not sure I’ve been quite as excited about many foodie experiences as I was about Burgergeddon. I’m also not sure how it’s taken me this long to hear about it and go. Burgergeddon is part of Birmingham’s popular UK Burger Battle events – a stand-off between two top-notch burgers to work out which one is best. The principle is simple. There are two burgers, you have a four-hour window to try both, and the one that gets the most votes wins. Oh, and this is all against the backdrop of drinks, music, entertainment and dessert if you can face it.
Established in December, there had already been two sell-out battles, with Burgergeddon making the third. The £20 ticket gets you both burgers, entertainment, various offers etc, and entry to an after party (if you can manage it – needless to say, we couldn’t).
So on a sunny Sunday, Mr M and I headed down to Spotlight in Birmingham, home to Digbeth Dining Club. You’ve heard me rave about this venue before (here) when I visited DDC, so it’s no wonder it’s equally well suited to an event like a burger battle. As well as the usual indoor bar, they’d brought in the Drinks Bus, an open-topped Bristol Bus serving booze downstairs with a seating area upstairs, and DJs providing the music.
After we’d picked up our wrist bands and a cheeky Ginger Grouse (alcoholic ginger beer, my new fave), we took our place in the queue for our first burger. Burgergeddon had been dubbed North vs South, or London vs Newcastle, due to the fact it was pitting French/American Le Bun from London against Newcastle’s Fat Hippo. The burgers both sounded fabulous, so we hit Le Bun first with their Le Holy Fire. A seared scotch beef patty, with slow cooked pulled Pinot ox cheek, American cheese, beef jus onions, pickled chilli, onion rings, truffle mayo, bacon salt, dill pickles, gem lettuce, all on a brioche bun.
The patty was thick and meaty, and still pink and oozing in the middle, just how we like it. It might have been too underdone for some people, but they do make it clear that that’s how it’s served. The beef jus onions were rich, the truffle mayo noticeable but not too overpowering, while the pickles cut through the richness and the bacon salt to ensure you didn’t drown in a cheesy, meaty, mess. Neither of us actually tasted the pulled Pinot ox cheek, but wondered if it had accidentally been omitted from our burgers. Either way, the whole thing was a tasty, substantial party of flavours. I could maybe have done without the onion ring as there was so much else going on, but it certainly didn’t ruin the experience at all.
Next up was Fat Hippo’s Born Slippy. A double patty this time, of Northumbrian beef, piled with slow braised baby back pork rib meat, Monterey Jack cheese, shredded lettuce and jalapeños. Again packed into a brioche bun, it came served with homemade Hippo smokey BBQ sauce and chilli jam.
These burgers looked amazing – oozing cheese dribbling out of the sides, piles of pulled pork, all towering so high they needed to be skewered together. But on tasting, my humble palate didn’t enjoy the actual patties as much as Le Bun’s, and the pork seemed to be quite wet, making the whole burger a bit soggy. And while I love barbecue and chilli sauces, the addition of both on top of the pulled pork made the whole thing a bit sweet. Still great, but I’m afraid Born Slippy’s rival was my favourite and Le Bun got my vote as the winner.
As well as us normal peeps, organisers had enlisted the help of three professional judges – Luke Tipping, executive chef at Michelin-starred Simpsons in Edgbaston; fellow Michelin star holder Adam Stokes, of Adam’s; and Aktar Islam, the man behind the Lasan family of restaurants. Their vote went to our favourite Le Bun, but Fat Hippo took the people’s vote. So hey, everyone’s a winner.
Now, we all know that Mr M and I can pack away some food, but two monster burgers is our maximum, so we didn’t get a chance to sample the wares from Victoria Creperie, but if I’d had even a teeny tiny bit of space, I would definitely have tried to squeeze in some of the gorgeous-looking cheesecakes (including oreo or salted caramel), brownies or baklava. So after a few more drinks, and a general fun time, we made our way back to Casa Manning to have a rest after our hardcore afternoon of eating.
It goes without saying that UK Burger Battle, Burgergeddon, whatever name they give this great event, gets the thumbs up from me. The idea’s simple, but brilliant, the food is great, the venue is ideal, and the whole event is well organised. It’s a fun, foodie afternoon out, and it’s no wonder it won an award for best event in Birmingham. I have no doubt UK Burger Battle will be on the scene for a good time to come, and so it should be.
To read more about our experience, check out my guest blog on the BrumHour blog here.
We paid for our tickets to Burgergeddon.