BUJO: TIDINGS OF BURGERS
AND JOY IN DEEPEST DUBLIN 4
6A Sandymount Green
Irish Daily Mail
18 November 2017
Regular readers know that I think highly – and often - of the hamburger and approach it with respect. Which, of course, is more than can be said for many of those producing and selling them. I suspect that the only food item that has been more traduced than the hamburger is the sausage – and we really don’t want to go there, especially as you may be reading this over a leisurely Saturday morning breakfast.
Regulars will also know how much I love Bunsen Burger. I rejoice to see Bunsen expanding, while never being in danger of losing the run of themselves or, indeed, the original menu which is stripped down and entirely to-the-point. I see the Bunsen flame is now alight in Cork, where it has really put the cat amongst the Leeside pigeons, and more recently in Ranelagh.
Bunsen represents the apogee of the fast burger; for me, it’s a fine pit stop but not somewhere to linger. BuJo is about a somewhat slower and more contemplative burger experience but rest assured there’s nothing fancy or gussied up about it.
The huge effort that has gone into creating BuJo is largely below the water line, invisible but definitely present. 95% of the restaurant’s waste is recycled and even the “plastic” cutlery and drinks cups are biodegradable. The rapeseed oil they use is certified GMO-free. The ice cream is from a single herd of cows on a single farm in Co Wexford. The beef comes from a specific farm in Co Cork and their grill uses 52% less gas than a regular one.
There’s much that’s significant about BuJo, not least the grill. It’s a proper grill in which fat can drip on to flame and produce smoke, thus flavouring the burger. Most burgers are cooked on flat hot plates (have a look in McDonald’s if you ever go there) which is fine if it’s hot enough to create a crust. At Five Guys in Dundrum I watched in dismay as the burgers appeared to steam slowly to a uniform grey mass.
At BuJo you get crust and smoke, the perfect combination. Admittedly neither featured in the vegan burger but it did have the merit of tasting pleasant which, if you’re eschewing all things of animal origin, is quite an achievement. Perhaps vegans will flock here for the burgers but they won’t know what they are missing.
The meat burgers are also very well-seasoned. This probably won’t suit everybody but I’m of the view that hamburgers need plenty of salt and BuJo delivers that – to the extent that I needed a lot of liquid to compensate. But, my goodness, it was worth it.
One of our burgers was ordered with bacon (a round of streaky, crisp and, again, from a single farm) which added somewhat to the saltiness but in a very good way. They were moist within, crusty outside, packed with flavour, the brioche-like bun melding with the meat and accompaniments, exactly as it should do.
Chips, both plain and seasoned (by the time you read this they will be using salt and rosemary), were crisp, hand-cut and infinitely dip-able.
Dill pickles divide opinion like few other foodstuffs with the exception of Marmite and, perhaps, anchovies. Here you can have them sliced, coated in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried and, naturally, I did and am very glad. They were unusual, but in a way that much appealed to my pickle-loving palate.
Bizarrely, we were too satisfied even to contemplate something sweet, despite the allure of real farm ice cream and what looked like very proper shakes.
With three hamburgers, fries, pickles and a few beers, our bill came to just over €60, which is more than you would pay at Bunsen but I’d have to say the overall experience is not so much better as quite different. I like both and I’ll certainly be back here again – possibly with an appetite for an ice cream sandwich.