Japan has an amazing culinary scene, a lot of it a long way from sushi. Here's the best patties I picked up in my time out East...
A curiosity about Tokyo I wasn’t previously aware of was their love of a good burger. It’s not hugely surprising – Japan and the US probably have the most genuine post-war friendship and forgiveness of any two opposing nations, and shared a pretty phenomenal boom afterwards. And so Americana in post-war Japanese society is everywhere; the English used, the school system, even the popularity of baseball. And of course the food.I would say the best burger I had was at Glorious Chain Café towards Jingumae, Shibuya. We were massively hungover after 4 hours of all you can drink karaoke (tequila and tonic is delicious, who knew!) and managed to haul ourselves into here.
The bacon cheeseburger (about £12) was a hangover dream. Gloopy melted cheese, proper bacon and plenty of it, and a charred, pink patty, full of flavour. The ultimate dirty burger and exactly what I needed. Here’s the money shot:
Golden Brown was an understated yet cool place in Omotesando Hills. It’s small, cosy and takes its burgers seriously.
It wasn’t quite as good though. It came out automatically medium-well (whereas Glorious had asked how I wanted it) and the patty was a little slim. Good brioche bun, but anaemic, overly salted fries. Also about £12.
The burger here was juicy, oily and perfectly satisfying, but was not as flavoursome as I had hoped, or indeed as it looks. The bun was a tad dry, and the fries were quite disappointing too. All for about £10. This Yokohama brewed US-style pale ale was about £7.
You find Hawaiian restaurants everywhere too, which is notable considering Pearl Harbor (sic). Kua Aina burgers which we have in London, have a couple of branches too. These groovy Hawaiian micro-brews I found everywhere were particularly delicious!
We saw loads more burger joints, especially in the youth-centric areas of Shibuya and Harajuku, but eating more probably would have been a bit excessive considering where we were. Metropolis magazine (a quality, upmarket TNT) had a burger special while we were there, which highlighted many more places serious about their burgers.I’m glad to have experienced a few solid burgers and some Japanese Americana. I was impressed with the thought given to the cheese, bacon and especially buns, but the fries were lagging and McDonalds-y. Not a triple cooked chip in sight…