Sunday, 4 July 2010

Wannaburger and the Best Burger Quest

I like Heston Blumenthal for a number of reasons. He does unexpected and interesting things with food and kinda looks like a mad scientist. His series In Search of Perfection appealed to me hugely and it was fascinating seeing him dissect every single ingredient in a recipe to make up the most perfect dish possible. This appeals to me as I love searching out new recipes, where to go for the best dishes and trying and comparing new variations of old favourites. It was when my boyfriend & I were in Wannaburger on Queensferry Street, a place which proclaims itself to be Edinburgh's best burger restaurant, that I thought about the best burger I'd ever had, and what actually makes up the perfect burger. So I have decided to search Edinburgh for the best burger I can find. A simple and tasty journey to seek out a hamburger I can love, order again and again, and rave to friends about.

My requirements are not as complicated as Heston's. His hamburger ended up consisting of: burger meat made of a mix of three different cuts of meat, aged for a month; plain white bun with sesame seeds; cheese slices made with sodium citrate; onion rings blanched for 20 seconds in boiling water; crisp lettuce, gherkins and beef tomatoes; and some tomato concentrate. I'm a bit more flexible with my burger needs but I do like: a non-floury white bun, decent sized chunk of burger (none of the McDonalds pancakey stuff); red onions preferred, crispy lettuce, tomato ketchup and mayonnaise. If I have bacon (depending on how gutsy I am feeling), it should be crispy and not a chewy challenge. There are sometimes additional extra options such as pineapple, beetroot, roasted peppers or avocado to name a few but I'm more of a traditionalist. I may just go wild one day and have a fried egg on a burger or something. Imagine!

On with the quest! Wannaburger is a pretty large space with leather booths and windowed walls. Burgers are all 100% Scotch beef, and are priced from £4.50-£5.95 with extra topping available, and the £7.50 Double Cheese option which is a double cheese-double beef heart attack. I decided to go a bit nuts (see above) and have MOS burger (£5.50), which is fried mushrooms and onions, Swiss cheese, slice of juicy tomato and fresh green lettuce.

The burger was juicy and tasty, the cheese melty, and the fried onions and mushrooms add great flavour however the mushrooms were leaking juice a little bit which is visible on the plate. This in turn made the salad a little bit mushy and the bun soggy as well so even though it was flavoursome, it was a little bit moist.

My boyfriend chose the chicke burger (£5.95). The chicken burger gets a good review - the chicken is moist and doesn't suffer from the stringy dryness you can sometimes get.

The veggie options are a beanburger, halloumi burger and a portabello mushroom burger (at a vaguely outrageous (£7.50). There's also the 'diet' carb-free version - on a bed of lettuce instead of a bun for an extra £1.50. Fries with a burger are obviously obligatory were crinkle cut and freshly cooked, but a bit pale and not exactly golden crunchiness.

Wannaburger have a few drinks option - red and white wine and a few beers, but I wanted to pretend to be an American teenager for a bit and had the peanut butter and banana milkshake (£3.50). It was easily the best part of the meal for me, with fresh banana and a hint of salty peanut butter.

If you visit Wannaburger at lunch, there is usually someone outside handing out vouchers nearby for an offer of a burger with one topping, fries and a drink for £6.95 or with a shake for £7.95 which is a pretty good offer. Is it Edinburgh's best burger though? For the price, it's a great option but there are a few minor touches which keep it from being the best. The service is super quick and efficient. Wannaburger is vaguely reminiscent of chains such as GBK or Hamburger Union but is not quite as slick - not a bad thing as it retains it's home grown charm. Wannaburger are also doing a full breakfast menu and I would love to go along and try their short stack pancakes with bacon. Their location and excellent service make them a West End must visit for a quick burger fix.