BY RYAN WILKINSON
It is no secret that Brixton Village is something of a yuppy foodie hotspot, where hungry hipsters looking for champagne cuisine on a cider budget gorge in eateries that proudly offer excellently executed grub, served with individuality and informality in equal measure.
Enter the new kid on the strip, Bukowski Grill: the burger-orientated second coming of chef Robin Freeman and restauranteur Alberto Figueroa’s Boxpark establishment in Shoreditch.
Glancing around, there is no hiding the fact the place was spawned in Shoreditch.
Unpainted walls, bare brick, plywood, neon etc. It shrugs: “Yeah we threw some furniture in and hung some lights, but we’re all about the food.” Not the wine though.
On arriving we turned our attention first to the wine list, or lack thereof. In an odd move for a restaurant which worships meat, there is only a thin Italian red available.
For the main event I chose the Reuben burger, while my opposite number went for half a kilo of grilled short beef ribs. Starters do not feature, so we opted for side dishes of Waldorf Coleslaw, cajun crayfish and prawn popcorn with sherry sauce and beef dripping triple-cooked chips.
Chefs in the open kitchen dance around the “Josper”; a ‘locally sourced’ charcoal-fired inferno through which the majority of dishes must pass as a right of passage, to be cooked and smoked simultaneously.
Our food arrived promptly, the burger leaning with so much pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and smoked gherkins that the dressing dribbled off and pooled beneath.
My partner took receipt of his pile of short ribs, still moo-ing as per his request, and with a mild twinge of envy I took my first swipe at the burger.
One bite indicated that eating with one’s hands meant that I would go home with a shirt resembling a Pollock. No bad thing – it was testament to the juiciness of the patty and the ambition with which the ingredients had been stacked upon one another.
The burger was brilliant, the Waldorfness (sultanas, apple) added a nice dimension to the otherwise traditional coleslaw, and the crayfish and prawn popcorn with peculiar yet enjoyable zingy sherry sauce provided a tasty accompaniment. The relishes on the table were compelling too, but take caution before slathering all over your food – the red pickle is hotter than the sun.
As chips go they were in the top-flight, but the real stars of the show were the short ribs, which diner two was good enough to let me sample. They stole the show, hands down. You will struggle to find meat as delicious, cooked so perfectly, in such abundance and at such a good price anywhere in London. Fact.
While ruminating over a post-feed Green Daemon cleansing ale I thought to myself: ‘Why is Bukowski Grill doing burgers? Honest Burger do burgers. Franco Manca do pizzas. Don’t hide your light under a bushel for the sake of fitting in with the cool crowd. Bukowski Grill: ditch the burgers and let those ribs do the talking!’.
The Reuben Burger: £9.95
500g Grilled Beef Short Ribs £9.95
Large Organic Tripe Cooked Beef Dripping Chips: £2.50
Waldorf Coleslaw £2.50
Cajun Crayfish & Prawn Popcorn w/ Sherry Sauce £4.50
Ottavio Rube Rosso £15
2 x Green Daemon @ £4.25 each
Total: £ 52.90
Disabled access yes
Disabled toilet no