Towards the middle of last year, Jared and I were suitably impressed with South Lambeth Road's Wheatsheaf Pub (pictured) to give it a glowing review. We have been back a few times since, but not recently (diets are such tiresome things). A power outage last night, however, inspired us to return and try the burgers again.
I'm sorry to report that neither of us now feel that the Wheatsheaf the home of the best burger in London.
Now don't get me wrong - the Wheatsheaf serves excellent food, and the burger is still decent. (And the thick-cut chips are delicious.) We shared a buck rarebit topped with a poached egg as a starter, and it was superb. The burgers, however... we both ordered ours medium-rare; mine came unmistakably rare (cold in the middle) and Jared's was flat-out medium. A larger issue, though, was the lack of gooeyness; a good burger needs to be juicy, enough so that there's a danger it'll fall apart if you put it down mid-consumption. The meat in our burgers last night was very lean, and likely very good quality meat... but lacking that essential drippyness. The burger was served on a forgettable ciabatta bun, which neither added to nor detracted from the overall experience.
It's always possible, of course, that the kitchen was having an off-night. We'll likely give the burgers one more shot - I, for one, still dream of that magical burger on that long-ago April night. And we'll definitely still eat at the Wheatsheaf; the rarebit was great, and we've had other fine (non-burger) meals there as well. But I can no longer write, in complete confidence, that the Wheatsheaf serves the best burgers in London. And that is a shame.
It's worth noting, too, that the Canton Arms, another South Lambeth Road pub, is just about to reopen, apparently under the aegis of the Anchor & Hope. Both the Anchor & Hope and its Clerkenwell sister, The Eagle, are Carnivore Project favorites, and we couldn't be more delighted to welcome the Canton Arms back under such auspicious circumstances!