Big burger at the Bistro du Vin, Soho
36 Dean Street, W1D 4PS www.bistroduvinandbar.com
Gathering together a random sample of punters I’d ask them to open their mouths as wide as possible. My trained assistant would then measure the ‘gape’ from top teeth to bottom set. A simple calculation would give the average opening and the measurement would be passed on to the kitchen.
The fact is that any burger that requires the jaw dislocation skills of an anaconda is going to be a bit of a bugger to eat. You either push the top and bottom in with the spare hand that you don’t have, or accept that it’s going to get very messy. Using a knife and fork is, of course, just silly.
You can try compressing the burger before attempting eating, but then you have the problem of maintaining a constant hold. If you try and put the burger down, the whole thing springs apart like a broken watch.
The burgers at Bistro du Vin are very thick, a real handful. Thanks to a Josper grill the kitchen can sear the outside and still leave the centre as juicily rare as it should be when served to adults. Add Donald Russell meat and you have a burger that exceeds expectations for this kind of place.
New to Soho, and on the site of an old All Bar One, Bistro Du Vin still has something of the feel of the old incumbent but now classed- up. The furniture is of a quality that suggests it doesn’t expect Tracy from accounts to be sick over it later or for Trevor to spill his cooking lager behind the cushions.
We had the deep fried sweetbreads for starters as C and I both adore sweetbreads. ‘Posh scampi!’ said C holding one aloft on his fork. He was being facetious but he had a point. The same comforting batter and the melting soft interior that one used to like about scampi. Not that you can get battered scampi anymore, the trend police outlawed it.
All but a prelude to the burger, of course. Now people say I am a burger denier but it’s really not true, I just don’t make a fetish of them that’s all. Nothing wrong with a decent burger for lunch and it fills a hole just as it’s designed to.
Bistro du Vin’s burger could fill several holes; by my handy pocket theodolite it seems to stand six inches tall. Good to see it has the standards in it: bacon, tomato, cheese and a wally, plus a lettuce leaf for those watching their weight.
To forestall the inevitable moment I toy with the chips first, which are fine and crispy, then grasp the burger, squeeze hard and open wide. It’s no good, it’s not going in so I take the tomato out, which thins the burger a bit but there’s still no choice but to start cramming. The meat’s excellent; juicy, crusty and smoky from the Josper and properly rare inside.
The gherkin could be a bit more assertive and the bacon a bit crispier but the bun isn’t over sweet and the whole works better than many burgers I’ve tried. There’s not a lot more to say really as the first bite of a burger is always exactly the same as the one that follows, the real pleasure of a burger is surely visceral. Soon the wooden board is a mess and so am I, but I’m sated and sit back happily. Full marks for the Bistro du Vin burger from me, but you’ll have to ask a burger bore how it shapes up to the competition. Rather well, I would have thought.
Bistro du Vin has a remarkable selection of wines and we tried some by the glass from the nitrogen case that keeps the open bottles perfect. I seems wrong drinking decent wine with a burger, like drinking a Fanta with foie gras, but the Gruner Vetliner 2010, Loessterrassen from Stadt Krems with the sweetbreads was delicious and the 2006 Syrah from Martinborough grown by Dr Neil Maccallum served with the burger was quite superb and apparently a rare find. Even so I think I’d save it for something other than a burger; a cold beer or a Pepsi would have been the natural choice
I’d be interested in trying other dishes from Bistro du Vin’s menu, the burger was very good but I’d like to see what chef can really do. Anyone, just about, can grill things.
There’s no reason why BdV shouldn’t be a big hit in Soho where it fits a clear demographic gap perfectly. Now if they could just design a burger that would fit the mouth…