Undeterred, the vibe at Uptown Burger is full on downtown Manhattan, from its exposed brick walls painted with logo in large white letters, a huge NYC-by-night mural, wooden crates in lieu of shelves home to miscellaneous glassware and, curiously, a collection of hats and lo-fi furniture. Then there are the chipboard tables and, in the only styling misstep, chairs that wouldn’t look out of place in a travel tavern (unless I’m missing something and they’re some super cool retro designer number). It’s East-London-hipster-hangout by numbers: nothing special in Shoreditch, but still feels fresh in E10.
On our dismally chilly visit, we went halvsies on a Classic American Burger, opting for the beef pattie (yup, there’s a choice of meat filling) which duly came in a white near-brioche bun with sautéed onion, dill pickle, mustard, cheese, relish and salad.
It also arrived on a wooden chopping board (nothing so ordinary as plates here), topped with a layer of greaseproof paper and stabbed through with a steak knife, Excalibur style.
We asked for it to be cooked medium rare; our main ‘beef’ being that it was closer to well done. But it was still juicy and certainly up there with the burgers at the fancier chains, but a little bit cheaper.
Our other choice? A “Mississippi” with halal chicken, for comparison’s sake, and with added jerk sauce, mango, coriander, lime juice, jalapenos, cheese, and yogurt dressing.
More used to chicken burgers that are pieces of breast, I’m actually now a convert to Uptown’s thick poultry patties, which are far juicier than the usual chargrilled-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life chicken breast. I’m not usually a lover of sweet and savoury mash up dishes, but the mango worked with all the other flavours that were going on. And there was a lot going on in this burger. One to file under probably shouldn’t work, but actually does. I would definitely order it again.
The sides were nothing special, however. The coleslaw didn’t really have the homemade feel that would have worked well with the Scooby Snack height burgers, and as we both confessed to preferring skinny fries to chunky chips, they were unlikely to win us over – and, ultimately, didn’t.If you want to pimp your burger (although with all the toppings already in place, I’m not sure why you would) the chipboard tables are home to multiple condiments from ketchup to mayo, mustard and pepper sauce.
On this occasion we were too full after our burgers to try one of the six shakes on offer but the fudge cake and peanut butter Uptown Shake sounds heavenly. (One to try on a future visit?)
Oh, and the service is swift and efficient. It’s not the kind of place you’d linger, more a pit stop for a quick bite on your way to or from somewhere else. The music? #ThrowbackThursday fabulous; you can’t knock somewhere that plays Toto’s Africa in my book.
Sadly, I’ve never seen the place packed out, which is shame because they’re knocking out good quality, competitively priced, creative-ish burgers.[review]