How best to describe Two Nights Only? It’s a supper club or so I imagine. I’ve never actually been to one but I always pictured them being earnest yet accident-prone affairs in grubby Stokey flats, with mismatched chairs, odd crockery and impoverished souls getting a bit political after too much CostCutter wine. This was a thoroughly different affair.
Born out of a curiosity or obsession, or just the raw male challenge of betterment, the premise is delivering the best burger possible. Next perhaps it'll be the same, but upside down. Or base jumping? Or perhaps in South London.
Most venues would say they aspire to the same, but this is different. It’s more of a crazed ‘what if?’ experiment that went too far, and became a reality, rather than a deliberately commercial venture. The specifics (dare I say pedantry) involved in the ingredients and their selection process are quite something - these burgers are responsible for a lot of tier points. And possibly an acre of deforested Amazon.
The result? IPA soaked pickle-tasting in Brooklyn, deconstructing Minetta Tavern’s Black Label burger, and meat know-how in Kentucky. Thoroughly worthwhile research I’d say.
Our motley crew of burger nutters assembled and began sailing through bottles upon bottles of Kraken rum dark 'n' stormies and Camden Pale Ale before being seated. Seafood canapes followed as the drinks continued, assiduously offered by the fantastic waitresses.
Then, some anticipation as coleslaw, fries and onion rings began making their way out. I even felt a little nervous, because I’ve heard the back story and know the effort which has gone into this project. It was a positive nervousness, like just before seeing a bride enter.
The burgers did not disappoint. They were huge. The buns were shiny but not over egged. The Comte cheese actually worked, I was sceptical because it’s not the best melter but I think the nuttiness provided a different element. The pickles did indeed have a unique hoppy taste.
The patty itself was juicy, pink and thick, but cohesive which actually made this burger less of a challenge to eat than first impressions might indicate. Plenty of mere mortals had cut it in half though, which I’m always a little sneery about, for no real reason. Taste-wise it was incredibly meaty but not overpowering. The illicit aging gave it a depth and a slight blue cheese twinge.
One oddity was a doughnut presented in a Krispy Kreme bag. It was iced and yet filled with shredded oxtail. It was a fun idea but the doughnut was so dense that it created that ‘double carbs’ effect, and I had to leave it until done for fear of spoiling the main event. The meat inside was flavoursome enough, but I’m not sure what was ostensibly a sweet slider necessarily complemented a massive burger.
There was a dessert – a very well accomplished brownie with peanut crumble, but so few of us could manage. We spent a little while discussing that special ring-fenced area of stomach which seems to inexplicably accommodate dessert, but it let me down. Still had a little room for some more rum cocktails.
The essentials are that the evening costs £40 which includes the three courses and the booze. You can drink an awful lot, and in no way are they shy about offering fresh drinks. The very opposite I no doubt slurred, as my two new pals and I stumbled out into the night.
Confession time means I should declare that I didn’t pay for my place, but I would gladly do so in future as it is great value for £40. If it was rubbish, I’d say so. I had thought it could be anti-climactic or the Emperor’s new clothes, but it came off very well. It did help that the crowd genuinely wanted it to be a success; if I could bottle the hope in the air as the burgers first came out of the kitchen, the lottery would be out of business. A thoroughly charming evening, which as ever like that Homer Simpson thought-bubble was probably a smidgen less erudite than I remember…