Gem Hunter Review: Loaded Burgers, London I am the man, behind The Diary Of A Fatman (but when I say man, really, I mean woMAN, you just need to read between the lines). I’d like to think that I’ve cornered the market in being that girl who always orders big when eating out, rather than sticking to a tiny salad that just makes me question existence in itself. Fine dining isn’t my forte, fast food is. I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in the last five years, and by a lot, I mean a toe-curling amount of grease, meat laden burgers, a number so large that my parents will wonder how did they ever raise such a heathen beast. Yet what I’ve come to realise during the quest for the “perfect burger” is that the “bigger the better” isn’t and shouldn’t be a common phrase when it comes to burgers. Sure, copious amounts of drool will naturally and unconsciously escape your mouth when you see a picture that depicts a 10 tiered burger weighed down with everything you can think of, from halal pepper pig portions to onion rings, nacho pieces, all expertly placed between layers of meet and lettuce and tomatoes. Its instinct and it is aesthetic to want it. But having tried one of these overweight burgers myself, I can safely say again, that bigger the better doesn’t apply here. So. What truly makes a great burger if it isn’t a case of loading every item you can think of between two soft brioche buns, I hear you ask? It’s actually carefully choosing what flavours complement each other, and finding a balance between them. Everything matters, from the tenderness and done-ness of the meat, to the type of salad cushioned between them, the sauces smeared across it all, to the accompanying extras both inside the burger and as a side. I know you’re all going to take a collective, exasperated sigh here when I say “quality, not quantity” but when it comes to burgers, it’s undoubtedly true. Especially in the current times where halal fast food and burger venues are popping up on every corner, claiming to be the new best halal burger experience to rival the likes of non-halal but ever so scrumptious looking Shake Shack and Five Guys. Yes, yes, it all comes down to quality. In a throng of burger chains that offer the same aesthetic; the same milkshakes in a mason jar with a straw, brioche burger buns with double meat patties, sweet potato fries in a metal bucket – you and your belly will surely remember the one place that served THE best milkshake, THE most succulent but well done burger, THE best accompanying side of crunchy but tender fries. Trust me, oh stranger, you will. Where can you find such a place? (I know that’s the question on the tip of your tongue – the very point of my ramblings right now). You can find it at the likes of The Meating Room, Meat & Shake and my personal Holy Grail – Loaded Burgers. As always, opinions differ on all three of these places that I have named, but from personal experience, of all the places I’ve eaten at, these stand out to me most. Of those, today I will talk about one that has been thoroughly tried and tested – Loaded Burgers. I’ve been to Loaded Burgers more than three times, and each and every single time, I have left feeling fully satisfied with their service, and most importantly, their food. Their meat is always succulently well done and tender, the buns are warm and soft and though I wasn’t a fan of brioche buns are first, they have since grown on me like cute fungi. The fillings are complimentary to your tastes and the sides are a joy of their own. Here are some snapshots to get you going. Try not to lick the screen. Drink: Bubblegum mojito Side 1: Mash Taters (Creamy mash potato with cheese & onions) Side 2: Cheesy Fries (home cut potato fries with melted cheddar cheese topping). Burger: Machete Burns Burger (cheese, caramelised onions, lettuce, tomato, grilled peppers, jalapenos, sliced chillies, red peppers, salsa & onions. Dressed in chipotle mayo & kick hot sauce). As you can see, that is one mighty patty in the burger – but there were no faults to be found – cooked all the way through, but without being overly hard or chewy – still moist and retaining its juices. The accompanying fillings were perfect – I even added a cheeky fried egg as an extra and it just made the burger all the more filling and wholesome. The mojito was amazing – seriously refreshing and cool and perfectly sweet – the little sugar crystals as decorations around the lip of the mason jar was a cute touch. Loaded Burgers was actually one of the first places to start the whole drinks-in-a-mason-jar trend which everyone else has now cottoned on to – so well done on that count. The cheesy fries and mash taters were just as wonderful – warm and gooey goodness to perfectly compliment the burger overall. The fries were crunchy and soft and retained their shape even after 20 minutes instead of wilting (it takes me time to eat okay). It almost goes against everything I mentioned earlier on, about quality not quantity, given how much is packed into this burger – almost. But all the features of the burger were subtly done to complement each other, to act as friends that hold hands and skip down the street – rather than be full to the brim with as many things as you can layer on. Some of the more classic and basic burgers, taste just as amazing and I’ve tried three different kinds to this date, one being a make your own style one. On all occasions, top notch, with wonderful service alongside. Since my last visit I know they have expanded their menu to include hotdogs, ribs and steaks to further entice their customers and they continue to not serve alcohol on the premises, something which I truly appreciate. In terms of price, I believe them to be reasonable and within the range that most burger joints are offering. Here’s the pricing for what I ordered in the pictures above – the total for my meal came up to a respectable £19.30 for a main, two sides and a drink. Burger – £8.45 plus £1 for egg. Cheesy fries – £2.95 Mash Taters – £2.95 Drink – £3.95 It may be a bold claim, but at this point it’s a very honest one – but Loaded Burgers comes under one of my favourite burger places to pop up in recent times and will always be a recommendation for when fellow fat food lovers ask. So if you take anything away from this article (amongst my ramblings) then take away the fact that Loaded Burgers, really will Load. You. Up. Every pun intended. About Gem Hunter Sahina With a degree in criminology but a passion for books, photography and food, Sahina is on the quest to find the best halal burger, ever. Born and raised in London, she spends her time trawling fast food places, dangling out of windows for sunset pictures, and has a penchant for adding a fried egg and cheese to everything. When she’s not acting like a human burrito, that is. Follow Sahina on Instagram, check out her book blog and follow her #DiaryofAFatman series.