To trust our burger reviews, first you need to know what we think makes a perfect burger.
Aside from loving you, it seems Berlin also loves burgers. With new burger places popping up on every street corner and all vying for the title of Berlin’s Best Burger, Berlin Loves You is weighing into the fight to bring you reviews of Berlin’s latest and best burger joints.
Berlin has many long-standing burger institutions, such as The Bird, Burgermeister, Room 77 and Berlin Burger International, that are stalwarts of ‘Top 10 Berlin Burgers’ lists. There is also daily newcomers hungry to claim the title of Berlin’s Best Burger. At Berlin Loves You, we are going to attempt to eat our way through them all to bring you a complete who’s who compendium of the Berlin burger scene, letting you know which reputations are deserved, which are currently being made, and, most importantly, where you can go to get an excellent burger in your area.
What makes a good burger
Now, in the name of fairness, we’re going to set out our rules and criteria for reviewing burger places and what constitutes a good burger.
We’ll be comparing only each restaurant’s beef burger offering. We might add cheese and bacon here and there but, to see how each burger measures up against the next, we’re sticking to beef. Big, greasy beef burgers. Real burgers. We might do a special with vegetarian burgers at some point but to us it seems odd to compare chicken burgers to beef burgers to veggie burgers and so on. They’re just too different.
The meat patty
A good burger is all about the meat. Excellent quality, freshly ground beef. Grilled or flame-grilled (preferably) to greasy perfection. The patty needs to be large too, offering a deep meaty taste and texture when you bite into it. A burger without a big enough burger is not a burger, it’s a sandwich. That being said, doubling-up the number of patties in the burger does not generally improve the burger. Instead, there’s a Golden Ratio between meat, bun and fillings which must be met so each mouthful brings just enough of each to achieve the best taste and texture. This ratio also stops the whole thing from falling apart when you try to pick the burger up.
Nothing can ruin a good burger quicker than a bad bun. It can turn a prime piece of beef into a soggy messy that falls apart in your hands. And there’s nothing worse than those shop-bought ‘American Style’ burger buns.
The only two rules that are set in stone about how the bun should be are thus: it should be fresh and it should fit the size of the burger (see Golden Ratio). Outside of this, there’s a lot of room for variation. Often home-made takes on the classic American burger bun can be good, and sometimes, like The Bird’s penchant for English Muffins, experimentation can really work.
In our eyes, the buns should be slightly sweet and not too heavy. They should have a distinctive flavour which adds something to the burger without dominating it. They should absorb liquid without falling apart. They should be slightly toasted to bring out sweetness, without being burnt and dried out through over-toasting on the griddle.
The great thing about burgers is they can go from being humble street food to gourmet cuisine just through the edition of some choice fillings. We’re all for experimentation with burgers – the chefs can add anything you like so long as it tastes good. That being said, our stance on burger fillings and extras is that they’re great so long as they are tasty and deserve their place in the burger. If there’s bacon in the burger, the burger should taste of bacon. If the chef’s used some far-flung, fancy cheese, I want to notice the difference between it and a slice of plastic American cheese. Strangely, dumping BBQ sauce in a burger doesn’t always improve it and loading it with half a raw onion minimises your chances of getting laid.
Coming to a burger joint near you
To keep consistency throughout our reviews, BLY’s Andrew and Philip will be trying each burger and comparing notes before a consensus is reached. They’ll both have their say and a final rating out of ten will be given. These two, by the way, do accept bribes.
As they’re making their way through Berlin’s biggest and best burgers, you can also join in by adding your opinions onto any review we make. The rating of burgers is highly subjective (and often personal) so it’d be great to have a wide variety of opinions on our site – so long as you know that, if your opinion differs from ours, you’re deeply wrong.
You can also recommend burger places for us to try by emailing [email protected].
Burgers. Berlin Loves You.