Just in time for lunch comes this culinary review, hot off the presses of the Thoroughly Nice Burger blog.
Nestled in the former site of Giant Robot, The Fourteenth Colonie is a relatively new bar on the Clerkenwell road. Their formula for stylish drinking and food has been transplanted from Brooklyn to the trendy streets of Islington. Given that London is currently experiencing a heatwave, the darker (and cooler) interior of the Fourteenth Colonie’s bar makes for a good place to hide away from the sun after a long day’s work to relax over a beer or two and sample one of their many burgers.
Strolling in on a hot Tuesday evening, the bar area started off relatively peaceful and began to pick up as local offices began to close for the night. In particular, a large group of about a dozen joined us around dinner time, quickly filling up most of the bar area but leaving plenty of space to spare.
While waiting for a partner in crime to try out some of their wares, I installed myself at the bar itself and took full advantage of the free, no-nonsense Wi-Fi and decent Happy Hour beers. While options are limited on tap, there are plenty of decently-priced craft beer in bottles and the selection seemed to please one bearded beer-geek that I happened to overhear. The same care and attention afforded to beers extends to a large selection of bourbon and vodkas along the back wall, which would make for decent shooters and cocktails later in the evening.
With significant amounts of beer on the agenda for the evening, it seemed only fair to try some of the side dishes as a starter; in this regard the Fourteenth Colonie has several choices so we opted for the sweet potato fries and the beer battered fried shallots. A few moments later and two generously piled portions awaited us. The very sweet potatoes took second place to the magnificent fried shallots, with a batter that was neither too crunchy nor too soggy – as Goldilocks would say, “just right”. This isn’t the only thing they nail – the batter is not too strong a taste, leaving the shallots space on your palette to breathe and actually taste of something. If the Fourteenth did onion rings in the same style I think they would easily win my vote, as these are very more-ish and clearly the secret weapon on the menu. A highly recommended side order and one we were only too happy to have again for the main course.
Speaking of the main event, there are quite a few burgers on offer, including several incarnations of beef, a salmon burger, a chicken burger and two vegetarian options, should you be this way inclined. The choice was an easy one to make, however, and we opted for a the Drunken Piglet Burger – a beef burger supported by a portion of flavoured pulled pork, a sliver of Monterey Jack and a boozy BBQ sauce, sealed in a brioche bun (par for the course) and accompanied by a portion of fries and salad.
As you can see from the photo, the salad is arranged in such a way that if you wanted, you could add it directly into the burger to augment it if you wish or simply eat it as a side salad, whilst the fairly chunky chips benefit from a slight helping of rosemary (as other excellent examples of the form tend to do – see Honest Burgers) and are served on the softer side of cooked. My personal preference would have them a bit crispier, but I imagine that this is the Brooklyn way of doing chips.
But no matter – the flavours of the pulled pork, ‘Jack cheese and BBQ sauce intermingling together in a delightful medley in the burger. I do think that it’s a combination effort here, as on their own each individual ingredient might not be sufficiently strong against the beef, but as an ensemble effort they make for a burger that is better than you might expect.
In conclusion, a solid burger from these guys with some excellent sides to go with it and enough of a variety of food and drink to warrant a second visit. Friendly bar staff as well.
Reposted with permission, for further reviews of a place to get a decent burger in London, the UK and beyond, check out the full blog here.