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Byron Hamburgers @ Wardour Street, SOHO

美味しいと評判で行ってみたかったプレミアム・ハンバーガーチェーンByron(バイロン)。でも今まで、ケンジントン&チェルシー等ロンドン西部にしかなかったので行けずじまいだったが、私たちの行動範囲内にもオープンした。場所はSOHOのど真ん中、Wardour Street 。70年代にロックファンのたまり場だったロック/メタルパブ、The Intrepid Fox(2006年に移転)のあった建物内にある。ロックやメタルファンのたまり場だった頃と打って変わって、明るくこぎれいになった店内は、ざっと白く塗られたレンガ壁やレトロ風の時計と、ヒップな照明、ダークカラーを基調にした革張りのソファやテーブル・椅子等、モダンなデザインがうまくミックスされている。私たちが行った時は偶然オープン初日の11月25日。3時間前にオープンしたという店内は、既にたくさんの人で賑わっていた。


私たちはハンバーガーが好きで、ランチで時々食べにいく。最初はHamburger Unionにはまり、その後味が落ちたと感じてからは(その後倒産したのか、再度経営者が代わり、最近、Hamburger +という名に変わったトッテナム・コート・ロードにある店で食べたが、ひどい味になっていた)、Gourmet Burger Kitchenに心変わり。Byronもこれから、ソーホーあたりに出かけた時のレギュラーのランチ場所になりそうだ。

The premium hamburger chain Byron, known for their ‘proper’ back-to-basic hamburger, just opened yesterday (Nov 25th) on Wardour Street, SOHO. We always wanted to go to Byron but their stores are all in the west part of London like Kensington and Chelsea, and we had never been – but now it is in our territory! It is located in the building used to be occupied by 70’s rock hangout, the rock/metal pub Intrepid Fox. Refurbished and transformed, this shabby chic restaurant with roughly painted white brick walls is decorated with retro clock, hip lighting, and modern dark-colored furniture. It was the opening day we passed by and found it by accident – just 3 hours after its door was opened to the public, but there were already many people enjoying their burger.

We got their highly reputed hamburger finally on our hands. The juicy patty, made with free range grass-fed beef from small farms in Scottish Highlands, was beautifully cooked rare and had a perfect match with melted Monterey Jack cheese and fresh vegetables (tomatoes, red onions, and lettuce). But I was not impressed by their French fries – cooked with lard (widely used for frying in UK) I assume. Good surprise was that we were told Byron offered all the customers free meals (except drinks) on their opening day, when we got the check. We were joking that we should have ordered more foods and probably all the customers thought the same, but I guess that’s the thing that Byron definitely wanted to avoid.

We love hamburger and we eat it for a lunch sometimes (but try not too often). First we became a regular to Hamburger Union but we turned to Gourmet Burger Kitchen when we thought that the taste changed to worse – now Hamburger Union seems to be liquidated and its management has changed (I couldn’t find any information for it, though). We went to Hamburger + (changed the name) on Tottenam Court Road and were hugely disappointed by their awful burger and espresso. Now Byron is added to our list of lunch places around SOHO.

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