I was in London a few weeks ago, attending a sociology work group. One of the things I realised whilst at the group is that I am not a sociologist. I always find it odd when you meet people at conferences and academic study days and they tell you ‘I’m a sociologist’ or ‘I’m an anthropologist’. I’m always at a loss as to what to say here – firstly because I’ve never found self-defining through a discipline was my thing and secondly because I’ve never had just one discipline. It’s difficult when your subject of research (in my case food) is what defines you, and not the discipline in which you work. I’m a big fan of interdisciplinary work and thus don’t define as being particularly attached to one discipline or the other. So the day with sociologists was interesting.
To recover I met the Princess for dinner. We were planning to eat at Shake Shack but I was disappointed to find that most of the seating in their Covent Garden site is outside – not something you desire when it’s cold and miserable and there are pigeons eyeing you up so they can steal half your meal when you look away. I also had every desire for table service and a large glass of red wine and not having to carry my own food to a table. So we went instead to Byron Burger, just around the corner in Covent Garden, opposite Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. (A perfect place to eat if, by chance, you’re going to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) I love Byron. It’s cosy and the staff are friendly and the burgers are epic.
I have a confession about my burger eating habits though. I always order bacon and cheeseburgers. I sometimes deviate into bacon and blue cheese but almost without fail it’s bacon and cheese for me. (A homage, I like to think, to Supernatural.) Even at Annie’s (which I am going to visit this weekend and will thus write about soon), which has the most insane collection of burger combinations, I find myself drawn back to this classic. It never disappoints. But I broke the mould at Byron and ordered Le Smokey. The truth is, it was a bacon and cheeseburger with additions and it was fantastic. The perfect cure to a long day of head-spinning sociology. Bacon, smoked cheddar, fried onions and chilli barbeque sauce. I had fries and coleslaw to go with it – both of which were good too. And I may be converted to the idea that bacon and cheeseburgers can be improved. Just maybe.
To finish, and because we had time to kill before my train, we wandered back over to Shake Shack for dessert. It was quieter and we found a table inside. I had the Concrete Jungle concrete and the Princess had the Union Shack one. Mine was the perfect blend of peanut butter, fresh banana and insanely smooth and creamy ice cream. It was heavenly. Hers was like chocolate overkill which she loved but I didn’t. (I really don’t like chocolate desserts.)
So if you find yourself in London, with a burger craving and some time, head on over to Covent Garden because there’s more than enough choice and delight to be had.