Peanut Butter & Bacon, Handmade Burger Co - Birmingham, UK

I used to frequent Handmade Burger Co regularly. It was one of only a few dedicated burger joints in Birmingham, prior to the arrival of Five Guys, Byron, GBK and Original Patty Men. Whilst my attendance at this restaurant has since dwindled, my fondness of its longstanding presence within Birmingham burger culture has not.

Their menu is ever-evolving and whilst they have a range of classics that have stuck with them from the start, the company always strive to experiment with new flavours: sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.

I typically go for the beef option, but having already reviewed the 'Jimmy's Beef Cheese Classic' not too long ago, I decided to go for a chicken alternative... and load it up with peanut butter and bacon.

Handmade produce sizeable burgers, often aesthetically pleasing. This one adhered to that statement too, with neatly layered chicken, bacon and lettuce topped with peanut butter on the lid and chilli jam on the bottom.


Despite the tidy aesthetic, the cross-section got messy quickly with it becoming clear this burger was smothered with peanut butter and chilli jam.

This was unfortunate as the taste of almost every other element was drowned by these two potent flavours, particularly the peanut butter. Even as a huge peanut butter fan, the burger was simply too sickly towards the end.


As for the chicken, it was a little bland. Chargrilled chicken breasts are somewhat limited on taste and whilst this one was not necessarily dry, it was certainly lacking key decisive flavouring. However, the accompanying smoked bacon was a delicious addition managing to somewhat drive forward flavour above the prominent peanut butter.

Handmade Burger Co's 'Peanut Butter & Bacon' is a noble attempt at the beloved peanut butter and jelly burger. Unfortunately it falls short due to its overly sickly-sweet nature and lack of decisive flavour with the chicken. Handmade Burger Co has a great range of burgers that I would recommend ahead of this one.

Patty Master Musings:

  • There are great deals to be had at Handmade Burger Co, particularly if you sign up for their newsletter.
  • Did I Dip It? I did not. If anything, I needed a little more burger for the sauce overload.

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Double Bacon Cheeseburger, Bleecker - London, UK

I knew Bleecker from Spitalfields Market. What I was unaware of was the second restaurant that had opened in Victoria. I stumbled upon it on a leisurely day out in London and simply could not turn down the opportunity. My only reservation came with the fact that ShakeShack sat across the road... so I had both.

Worthy of noting straight away is that this Bleecker is an actual dine-in restaurant (as well as takeaway still of course!), unlike its Spitalfields counterpart that is more of a 'hole-in-the-wall' in a line of other food vendors. Whilst the decor is nothing special, the simplicity and humble atmosphere of this burger joint was welcoming and I was happy for a sit-down.

Bleecker's menu is a simple one, consisting of cheeseburgers with or without bacon, a blue cheese burger and the 'bleecker black' which includes black pudding. Cool, huh? After a brief discussion with my server, she pointed me towards doubling up on a bacon cheeseburger to maximise flavour, especially as the dreaded 'council regulations' means Bleecker too cannot serve their burgers medium rare anymore. Oh, the humanity!

One thing you can definitely be sure of with Bleecker is that you'll get a proper dirty burger and the double bacon cheeseburger that was placed before me certainly lived up to that reputation.


Napkins at the ready once again, I tucked in to an impressive first bite. The dominant flavour was the cheese. Unfortunately, this drowned the taste of the sauce so much so that I was unaware there was any on there until I checked the menu description afterwards. I can't really comment on that then!

The cheese-fest also meant the bottom of the bun was soggy, leading to an even messier experience in conquering this meal. With that said, the bun was otherwise fresh and well-balanced with the other components.


Bleecker pride themselves on their meat using rare-breed dry-aged pasture-fed beef. Quality is evident with each bite as a result, retaining a rich flavour, especially when paired with the juicy bacon. As with most dirty burgers, the patties are considerably thinner, so I recommend doubling up for the full experience. As previously mentioned, the cook time was more towards well-done due to council regulations. Whilst this was not a huge detriment to flavour, the meat seemed heavily oiled to compensate.

Bleecker know their way around a dirty burger for sure. The double bacon cheeseburger is a simplistic hit, particularly in the quality of the meat and freshness of the ingredients. With the quality of these patties, I would have reduced the oil content as the unique taste was coming through anyway. In addition, the volume of cheese was a little too prominent throughout, drowning the other flavours, particularly the sauce. Still, this is a solid dirty burger and well-worth a visit if you're in the area.

Patty Master Musings:

  • I love the story behind Bleecker burger. Go and read it on their site if you haven't yet. From lawyer to food truck to restaurants -- that's excellent progression.
  • I have had the 'Bleecker Black' before and I would rate it above the bacon cheeseburger -- but only if you're a fan of black pudding, of course! Next time, Bleecker...
  • This is not a cheap dirty burger, but then apparently nowhere in London is anymore. My double bacon cheese came in at £10 alone. Ouch.
  • Did I Dip It? Nope. This cheese party needed no company.

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Veni-Moo, Mac & Wild - London, UK

Nothing says award-winning burger more than a Scottish game and seafood restaurant. Say what? Mac & Wild's 'Veni-Moo' burger was awarded burger of the year at the 2016 'National Burger Awards'. This was more than enough justification for me to schedule a 'business meeting' down in London to investigate.

There are two branches of this restaurant across London and I opted to dine in the Liverpool Street location, which is situated a five minute walk from the station in Devonshire Square. This is a smart looking establishment with dark walls and wood just about everywhere (tremendously descriptive I know), making use of low-lighting to build an ambience.

I failed to be productive in my menu-browsing as I knew exactly what my order would entail, but I do recall there also being a house burger available if, for some reason, you do not fancy, y'know, the award winning one. Oh, and all that seafood and game, of course.

If appearance was anything to go by, I would have slapped the award straight on to the 'Veni-Moo'. It landed before me in a towering glory of wonder. This was a well-crafted and well-presented masterpiece. But does it live up to the hype?


Yes. The freshness of the ingredients was the first thing to shine through, particularly the light brioche bun that managed to maintain its shape throughout.

The cheese was distinct, but not overpowering, perfectly complimented by the béarnaise and caramelised onions. It is refreshing when a burger shies away from the typical burger or BBQ sauces to build flavour by other means, and it certainly paid off with this one.


The candied bacon was a suggested extra and I would highly recommended it to add a little sweetness to proceedings, upping the dynamic of this burger to the top tiers of taste. The main story, however, were the two patties: one beef and one venison. The flavour fusion between the two was unique and whilst I think the beef was still in the driving seat remaining more succulent throughout, the venison was a great touch giving the 'Veni-Moo' an edge that likely won it that award. One thing worth noting was that the meat cook times were both well done due to what was stated as 'council regulations'; a little saddening, perhaps wasteful, considering the quality of these patties.

All-in-all, this is a top burger and I would absolutely agree with its status in the London burger community. The 'Veni-Moo' is a posh burger with dirty undertones and delivers in all areas from meat to bun to toppings. If I was to pinpoint a drawback, it would only be with the cook-time of the meat. This burger was otherwise perfection.

Patty Master Musings:

  • Visually this was definitely one of my favourite burgers of all time.
  • Devonshire Square is a beautiful place. I recommend it, even if you don't eat at Mac & Wild.
  • I've not touched on value yet. This burger doesn't come cheap. With the added bacon extra, it was £12. That's without chips too! You do pay for quality, mind!
  • Did I Dip It? Absolutely not! The flavours eminating from all areas of this burger were top notch. This was especially pleasing given that it didn't actually have a sauce on it.

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