I’m now in a routine where I get back to London too late to attend the Sport & Leisure History seminar at the IHR but too early to go to post-seminar cocktails and thus have to scour Russell Square for stimulation and grub in the witching hour of 6 o’clock. Stimulation is taken care of by a riffle through Skoob Books, (my favourite bookshop), although this week they were out of fresh Innes (Michael, not Hammond, in case you were wondering) and I had to make do with some other green Penguin that I haven’t managed to crack open yet due to book overload.
For food I turned to Burger and Shack, halfway up Marchmont Street. I had good memories of visiting during the Burger Boom of 2013 and I’m glad to see that it’s still going strong. Fela Kuti started on the stereo just as I entered, an unlikely but welcome choice of walk-on music. The room is compact but wasn’t too busy early evening so I had my pick of the tables. A warm welcome by the waitress and I was into the menu.
Burgers, obviously, feature heavily but there’s enough else going on that non-carnivores and waistline watchers wouldn’t be disgruntled. I went for a jalapeño burger (rather rashly, since I’d had the Hottest Burrito in History in Oxford for lunch*) with coleslaw on the side. And a beer!**
The burger was perfect – really flavoursome and soft on the inside with a good crunchy char on the exterior of the cooked rare patty. The jalapeños gave a good sting of heat. The coleslaw was a bit overpriced for what is essentially chopped veg but the sauce was tasty. The eclectic music continued in the background and I was in burger happiness. At a shade over fifteen quid the price is comparable to GBK around the corner in the Brunswick Centre but B&S offers the charm and quirk that you only get from an independent operation.
*At Mission Burritos, it was yum.
**Thinking that it was strange that I’d managed to eat two American classics in one day while on the two occasions I’ve been to America I’ve not eaten anything typically American. Apart from in Berkeley where I once made the mistake of having a pizza topped with potato. Which is the dumbest topping ever. No! I had a biltong pizza in Stellenbosch just to see what it was like. It was foul. In a ‘let’s take the driest, chewest ingredient in culinary history and make it even MORE dry and chewy’ way.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).