I've been on a bit of a burger binge of late, in a quest to find London's best; and no tour of the capital's top-rated burger places would be complete without a trip to Haché, originally of Camden, now also with a branch in Chelsea. When it comes to the variety of toppings, Haché wins hands down - the number of options are mind-boggling. So, whilst I am usually partial to a simple cheeseburger, I felt compelled to try one of Haché's 'speciality' burgers instead; they are, after all, what it's famous for. I went with the Steak Catalan: Chorizo Sausage, fresh Chilli and Tomato Jam, which is apparently one of their most popular, alongside a serving of Haché Frittes and Onion Rings.
The burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare, exactly as requested, but sad to say, that was just about the only thing good about it. Haché is (in)famous for using ciabatta buns for its burgers, which didn't strike me as a particularly clever idea in theory, but nevertheless, I took my first bite with an open mind. And one bite was all it took to decide that my first instincts were right - ciabattas make a good burger bun not. And it wasn't even crusty as ciabattas should be (which can be appealing to some), it was just chewy (which I can't imagine being appealing to many at all). The chilli and tomato jam was lovely, but the chorizo (which wasn't exactly of the highest quality), didn't go particularly well with the beef. GBK does a chorizo burger with sweet potato, and sans beef patty - so much better.
The onion rings were done reasonably well - crisp and not greasy - very similar to Byron in style and execution. The Haché Frittes were alright, but inferior to Byron.
At this point, I was all ready to write off Haché as another over-hyped burger joint, despite the quality of service, which was outstanding - all the waiters and waitresses were clearly very well-trained, quick, efficient, extremely friendly and always smiling. But the waiter I chatted to as we waited for the card machine to process my payment spoke so enthusiastically about his favourite burger, Steak Louisiana: Topped with American Crunchy Peanut Butter and Mature Cheddar Cheese, that I was persuaded to return to give it a try. Being quite the peanut butter fan myself, I had, after all, spotted the Louisiana on the menu and seriously considered it, but eventually decided otherwise for fear that it might be a bit too weird.
And so I was back a few days later to sample the Steak Louisiana, this time asking for it in a brioche bun, an option recently introduced by Haché presumably because sufficient numbers had expressed their displeasure at the ciabatta (I wonder why). Well, the brioche bun was undoubtedly better than the ciabatta (it couldn't really be worse), but still fell way below the standard of the burger buns at the likes of Goodman, Bar Boulud, Byron and even GBK. As for the unusual filling...there were no fireworks, but the combination of peanut butter with beef patty was...semi-successful. The crunchiness of the PB was a nice element; the gooey mess that was melting cheddar on top of a mass of peanut butter was not the most pleasant thing to look at, or the easiest thing to eat, but didn't taste too bad. Having said that, it certainly wasn't the "best burger ever", as it was sold to me, and I doubt I'll be ordering peanut butter with my burger again anytime soon! The meat on this occasion was also a tad too rare.
A side, on this second visit, of Potato Wedges (with Garlic Mayo and Salsa) was exactly how you would expect it.
In a nutshell…
Some may argue that I should have tried a regular cheeseburger at Haché so I could make a like-for-like comparison with the other burger places. I counter that I tried two of their specialities, which is supposed to be the best a restaurant has to offer, and its best simply wasn't good enough. Not terrible, but not the best; not even close.
329-331 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London, SW10 9QL
Average Price: £10-£15