This is the gold standard. The absolute. My reference to all other food. With a score of 100%, everything else merely strives to be its equal. Truly, the only meal in recent memory that I couldn’t fault. And if you ask my friends, they’ll tell you how much of a food snob I am. So please know that I sincerely mean every word.
Now I am reluctant to tell you that it was a burger. Because immediately, your mind fills itself with pre-existing ideas, opinions, and definitions of burgers. To understand this burger, you must suspend whatever picture of a ‘model burger’ you have in your head, and begin building this experience up from scratch.
For a start, the bun was warm, slightly toasted, seeded on top, firm (unlike so many weak buns that disintegrate upon contact), and correctly sized for the filling. Tasty enough to eat as is.
The beef, taken from the neighbouring butcher’s stall was freshly made, well spiced, and had some real character. This thing was barely burger shaped since it had been squashed together by Mr. Burger-Bloke moments before. Onto the hot grill. Cooked. But barely. Red enough inside to make you wonder whether it needs a few more minutes or not. But no. It does not. Slightly dripping with fat (not meaty-water). I’ve never had beef melt in my mouth quite the way this did. Simple and balanced flavours done perfectly.
No iceberg lettuce thank God. Instead, small crunchy tatsoi leaves with enough life and texture to convince you that they let some grass get caught in the cow when they were taking him to the market. Cuts through the greasy meat beautifully.
Good bacon. No sweetening. Easy.
Some chilli cheddar, melted on the grill alongside the burger, to hold everything together. Tingle of spice but no more. Brings yet more texture to the burger, along with flavours that Burger King can’t quite nail with their slices of Chernobyl plastic.
Put all that together, serve it hot, and you have a burger suitable for the Gods. This is the gold standard. Only available at Markthalle Neun, Berlin.