If I'm being honest (pun intended), my standards for dining out at a burger restaurant are pretty high. Not only do I look for gluten-free and allergen-awareness, my decision to dine out at such a restaurant is contingent on two important factors: do they have gluten-free buns (as assessed from others' reviews) and do they have a dedicated fryer?
After all, what fun is it to go out and eat burgers when all you can eat is a meat patty and assorted vegetables with no bun or fries (well, chips in this case)?
Meeting both standards, the London-based chain Honest Burgers definitely made my list of restaurants to visit, and luckily enough, my hotel was a short walk from their location on Tottenham Court Road in Bloomsbury.
Spurred by the combination of a jam-packed morning and sudden craving for hearty comfort food, I knew it was the perfect time to pay the restaurant a visit and see just how much the experience lived up to the hype.
When it comes to gluten-free options, the whole menu can be made sans gluten (including gluten-free buns). Do note however, that the kitchen is not entirely gluten-free, so you should still discuss your needs and sensitivity with the wait staff so they can communicate with the kitchen to keep your meal safe. As I ordered, I let the waitress know I was gluten and dairy-free and she added an allergy flag to my order to alert the kitchen.
If you have other dietary restrictions, check out their interactive online allergy menu, which can show tailored options based on which food groups you need to avoid. They also have vegetarian and vegan options on hand, which are noted on that page.
I ordered the chicken burger, which came with homemade rosemary salted chips. The burger itself was juicy and dressed with lettuce, tomato, and mustard. While on paper the burger doesn't really stand out as anything special, the top quality ingredients definitely elevate the burger above the rest. The bun was soft, yet study, and held together well from first bite to the last.
The real star here though was the generous portion of homemade chips, which are thick cut and fried to absolute perfection. Crunchy exteriors give way to a fluffy, potato interior, and hands down these are the best chips I've had in all of my UK travels. With a lovely level of saltiness and added flavor boost from rosemary, these chips are quite addictive and I happily ate every last one.
To help get a few more vegetables into my meal, I also ordered a side salad, which featured little gem lettuce, rocket, fennel, and radish. As with the burger, the simple ingredient list is boosted by the top-quality ingredients, and the salad was definitely a step above my expectations.
Honest Burgers is a shining example of a restaurant where eating out without gluten doesn't have to be a scary, flavorless, or an overpriced endeavor. By crafting a menu with high quality ingredients and an eye to accommodating food allergies, Honest Burgers offers a down to earth experience that leaves everyone happy, regardless of their dietary restrictions.
Anywhere I can find a burger restaurant that allows me to enjoy a good bun and fries earns my highest regard, and I wouldn't hesitate to dine out there again. With locations across the city (and UK), Honest Burgers is definitely a good-to-know chain for locals and tourists alike.