address: 395 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8LQ
Tel no: 0203 859 1121
Mon – Thurs: 12pm – 11pm Friday: 12pm – 12am Saturday: 10am – 12am Sunday: 10am – 10.30pm
The recent burger bar boom in Brixton has not gone unnoticed. Starting off with the staple burger venue Honest Burgers plus Shh!! Burger and Bukowski, we now have the ‘chain’ Dirty Burger joining in on the fun. With locations already all over London, including Whitechapel, Kentish Town and Wimbledon, Brixton seemed to be next on their hit list. Located on Coldharbour Lane in what was the interim Phoenix café, next to Dogstar, this joins a whole host of other new eateries opening on that stretch of road (including the Rum Kitchen, Three Little Birds, and another yet unknown below the newly opened Premiere Inn).
This isn’t a place to come to while away a relaxing evening – more of pit stop before a night out, a post-cinema bite to eat or an alternative to another less trendy fast food joint. The décor isn’t anything to rave about either. You are greeted by the kitchen as you walk in, and the smell of cooked meat and deep fried oil is hard to miss. Benches line the back and they’ve even got an outside area for when the sun finally decides to make an appearance. Didn’t make it downstairs but I’ve heard it’s less appealing than the ground floor. Simple wooden tables and metal chairs that weren’t quite as uncomfortable as they looked, plus booths for larger parties are the go to décor.
Ordering is straight off the very short and not quite easy to see menu above the kitchen counter. Choosing is not complicated, with only three standard burgers to choose from: the cheese burger, the dirty bacon and the dirty cop-out veggie option – making it clear again that this is a pit stop venue. There was a special on offer but, apologies, apart from it being meat based, we’ve forgotten what it was. The sides are also limited with crinkle cut fries, onion fries (basically different shaped onion rings) plus, on the occasion of our visit, sweet potato fries. With only two of us for dinner we went for a cheese, a dirty bacon, and one each of the standard sides to share.
Drinks don’t look like they cost more than a fiver, even a pint of Amstel and Camden Hell’s Lager for less! Milkshakes are on offer but we felt that would definitely be one of those “eyes bigger than your stomach” moments. There’s also wine and a “pickleback” shooter which, for those who don’t know, is Jameson Whiskey plus pickle juice.
Food didn’t take long to arrive, although it was fairly busy when we visited. The advantage of a simple menu we guess. This is where the dirty part of its namesake comes into play. No cutlery is provided, just wet wipes for the inevitable mess you will create.
The buns were probably the shiniest I’ve ever seen, yet surprisingly not that greasy. The burgers are also perfectly hand sized so they didn’t fall apart right until the very last minute. One thing to note is that we weren’t asked how we wanted our meat, so it was a more well-done than we like. However we were to blame for not specifying when we ordered.
The cheese burger went down an absolute treat – perfect amount of pickle, cheese and relish and I even enjoyed how messy it really got towards the end. The dirty bacon was also a success with a substantial rasher. Sides of crinkle cut fries weren’t nearly as salty as we liked them, plus even a little dry – although ketchup and mayo helped. The onion fries on the hand were a perfect combo of batter, onion and grease. By the end of the meal we definitely needed those wipes.
All of this, including the two pints of beer and the service, came in at less than £30, which appears to be the going rate. We certainly weren’t hungry for the rest of the evening and it’s likely that we will be back when we want an instant burger fix.