Thu May 23, 2019 London

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Food, drink and fine diningThe comings and goings of the culinary classes

A rare burger

Byron fail to explain why they cannot cook a rare burger


Last week, in an interview, a London based restaurateur cited Byron – the chain that claims to create “proper hamburgers” – as one of his favourites in spite of the fact that they now refuse to cook burgers rare.


A rare burger – Byron fail to explain why they will now cook burgers rare
Consumers should have no reason be scared of rare burgers
A rare burger – Byron fail to explain why they will now cook burgers rare
Byron failed to respond to tweets asking about why they do not serve burgers rare


In response to a tweet that asked: “Why does anyone still reference @byronhamburgers as great? They won’t even cook them rare. I like almost raw, hardly cooked. #justsaying”, the firm answered:


“Hi Matthew – unfortunately red tape means we can’t serve rare hamburgers. We’re all about choice, but it’s not always up to us”.


I subsequently sent two replies:


“Why can other restaurants serve rare hamburgers then?”


“And why can you can not use meat of a suitable quality to serve rare?”


That Byron failed to answer either speaks volumes. It is most disappointing that this initially fine – and accommodating – restaurant chain has sunk to such a low. The Steeple Times, therefore, urges burger loving readers to avoid it and to henceforth support smaller restaurants (who are all happy to cook burgers to a customer’s specification and are confident enough in their quality to proudly serve them rare).




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29 comments on “A rare burger”

  1. A few weeks ago, a man passed a 20-foot tapeworm after contracting the parasite from undercooked beef. I think that is the reason why. A diagnosis of Taenia Saginata, an illness caused by eating raw or uncooked beef, was given. The man was prescribed anti-parasitic and diuretic drugs and passed the enormous tapeworm just three hours later.

  2. Many of these places buy Halal meat, because it is generally cheaper. A noodle bar in Kings Road had it delivered one evening, and it was written on the boxes. The owner denied it, but I told him I had seen it delivered many times. I heard nothing back. The meat may have been good quality, but buying cheap meat seems to be popular with many of these places.

  3. Such firms as Byron do not understand how to deal with negative questions. Their silly PR is an idiot if he/she thinks he can fob Matthew Steeples off with “red tape”! What next? “It’s because ‘leaves on the line’ stopped us getting a delivery of quality meat?”

  4. I have had very mixed experiences in Byron, sometimes the food and service has been acceptable but sometimes it has been terrible. Poor quality control.

  5. When Wilfred Thessiger was traversing some God forsaken place like Swat, Dhofar or Dasht-I-Lut he swallowed a long tape worm to digest the possible impurities that he was sure to encounter
    Perhaps those who are going to brave the King’s Road eateries should take notice of his example

  6. As we (Foxtrot Oscar) were probably the third restaurant in London after the Playboy Club and The Great American disaster to serve real American 8 oz hamburgers using a similar original recipe, it’s all a load of piffle. The current wave of Health officers’ scaremongering re burgers is totally unfounded. We served the burger anyway the customer wished (some ate them raw?), as our burgers were fresh nearly everyday. This is the real reason pubs and rests. won’t serve them other than medium to well because it is true that once it has been frozen there is a health risk. Raw beef as in steak tartare will not hurt you as with fresh burgers. Don’t be bullied by these pub or rest. chains as they know nothing but instead just walk out and tell them you will be telling everybody else never to go there as well. They don’t deserve to be in the business of selling this great product. I think it would a wonderful idea if somebody were to draw up a list of establishments that serve the burger to the customer’s liking and post it on social network for all to see. We continually ignored the health officers advice as it is not legal or binding but rather just advice. So when entering an establishment to eat a hamburger first question before you even sit down should be: Are your burgers fresh and if so can I have mine rare or m/rare? If not walk out and they’ll soon get the message!

  7. i had a flatmate that worked there and I had the burger when she brought them home I never thought of going there to eat ,the whole look and style id place doesn’t really appeal to me ,not a fan of chains at all.many things are lost in them.

  8. Rex, JOE ALLEN in Covent Garden were serving excellent, authentic burgers in the mid to late 70s. Better, in my opinion than Playboy’s. I usually preferred FO’s steak & kidney pie, served with the accompaniment of louche sorts like Rupert Deen, Valentine Cecil, ‘Dandy Kim’ Caborn-Waterfield, Dan Meinertzhagen, Nigel Dempster, Dai Llewellyn and their like. Those WERE the days!

  9. I started up a direct email correspondence with Tom Byng, chief honcho at Byron at 3am in the morning back in December 2011. Seems we were both night owls and he was delightfully candid. While he didn’t say in so many words, it is all Westminster effing council’s doing and I went to the top there to get… no where. Westminster council seem to believe they themselves could be sued by people who get food poisoning for not enforcing standards of health and safety at restaurants. They believe that for a burger to be totally safe it has to be cooked well done which in my opinion constitutes a crime against the noble animal that has given its life for your enjoyment. Their argument was that a rare steak is OK because the bacteria on the surface of the meat is killed. When you mince that raw steak the bacteria goes inside the burger and therefore has to be cooked through or at the very least, medium rare towards medium. They allow Burger & Lobster to cook rare burgers because they flash boil the surface of the meat and then mince. All interesting stuff but if Byron offered to cook me a rare burger on the condition that I sign a waiver for Westminster council, I would absolutely sign away.

  10. Glenmore, those were truly the days and sorry I’d forgotten about Joe Allen and of course Tramp served a burger but I didn’t much go for that one as it was too finely minced and compacted. You have an excellent memory for names – I miss them all. Woolf, so glad you enjoyed our hamburgers and that you never had a problem. I could murder one right now!!

  11. It’s because, simply, the restaurant needs to be able to mince the meat in a cold room or in a chilled mincer (as French butchers do when you ask for mince) . And not every restaurant can do that. A steak rare is of course deemed safe because the meat in the centre has never been exposed to the air and possible risk of contamination, while the exterior has been seared

  12. Our local butcher, David Jago on Chelsea Green, prepared our burgers daily from my recipe (i.e., particular cuts with no additives whatsoever), by chopping the meat by machine which also moulded them into a patty, [rather than mincing] and delivered them within hours to Foxtrot Oscar – hence perfection. Should you wish to enjoy the same, then ask for the Foxtrot burgers and I think they’ll still prepare them for you while you wait!

  13. Yes the French supermarket chilled mincer machine will make patties if you ask, from whatever you ask them to put in. Don’t know why ours can’t, but then the people on the meat counter are also doing the fish counter. An accident waiting to happen that is.

  14. Nick, support your local butcher and fishmonger and then this accident won’t happen. They both need all the custom we can afford to give them, as they are dying out fast due to the invasive and predatory behaviour of the supermarket chains.

  15. I don’t buy from street markets as mostly they have little or no refrigeration and as for Halal outlets, they always look very dirty, as do those ‘butchers’ preparing and handling the meat. Generally not reassuring I’m afraid. As with Kosher butchers there will never be pork, game or certain foul = careful menu planning?

  16. Take a trip to North End Road Market Fulham Broadway North End Rd. (btwn Lillie & Fulham Rds.), Fulham, Greater London, SW6 1NL

    They have a very good, and cheap, meat shop, and a good, and cheap fish shop.

  17. I was told I should support independent butchers and fishmongers, which I happily would, but crossing London to shop at them is not a practical option, whether they are bricks and mortar or a semi permanent stall.

    My main point is that having ‘nice’ shops is postcode dependant.

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