Bukowski on My FACE
Never one to be restrained by social decorum or the concept of taste, I was elbow-deep in meat on Saturday afternoon and just knew I had to do a Tasty Lick post.
Box Park in Shoreditch is a cross between an awkward collocation of ‘Things In Which To Smuggle People’ and ‘Hello Claustrophobia!’ It’s a pop-up mall made up of shipping containers. Yeah, I know, it sounds horrible, but if it keeps rent down and is easily recognisable, everyone’s a winner. It houses various food joints (burrito/Vietnamese/Chop’d) and a variety of hideous clothing stores (Irregular Choice, anyone?), but perched above ground level is the pinnacle of the complex: Bukowski.
Quite a stripped down menu and location (both positively so) results in frankly, fucking mind-blowing eats. I was a-moaning and a-groaning the whole time we were sat and/or beached at the table. It was fabulous. Meg Ryan isn’t the only broad to give a show in a diner, I’ll have you know. Mr TL is a carnivore of the most Jurassic Park proportions. We went through a stage of eating steak tartare for about a month solid. Cholesterol and heart issues aside, it was, hands down, the best month of my life. London this weekend has been absolutely Arctic – like we’ve been living in Judge Judy’s underwear – and what better than some meat sweats to warm you up?
We live a stone’s throw from Box Park and after tantalizing fantasises about meat and melted cheese at my desk all week, Saturday afternoon seemed like the threshold of my sanity and the latest possible time for me to hold off getting my face filled with awwwl kinds’a nasty hot matter. We quick-marched to Box Park, giddy with excitement and already knowing what we’d order. Being housed in a shipping container, Bukowski is small and narrow, but in a completely affirming way. It was a big old warm meaty hug from the elements (and undesirables) of Bethnal Green Road. There are 3 booths and one half a booth – if going alone or with one other person, I would try to get this half a booth as since nobody can sit opposite you, you are afforded the cover to fully get your face in your burger and not worry about looking like Britney Spears around a blended Starbucks beverage.
Lots of reclaimed wood and low lighting (again, a big plus when it comes to messy eating) made for a great winter-like atmosphere. There’s also al fresco seating for the summer months or for you smokers out there. They home-make their ketchup, garlic-mustard-mayo and hot sauce and provide hippie-dippie wooden cutlery and recycled napkins. The latter feel like sandpaper, but are good at mopping up the juices and grease from the inevitable train wreck you’ll create whilst munching on down.
They have a range of craft beers, that are niftily served in cold-as-a-polar-bear’s paw tankards. I sampled the homemade lemonade (very refreshing and not too sweet). The menu is littered with other condiments: Chipotle salsa, smoky bourbon BBQ sauce, red onion chutney, cheeses etc. They had a guest burger: The Wise Guy, containing a beef patty, smoked mozzarella and what have you. However, I had my greedy eyes set on The Mother – two beef burgers with double Gloucester cheese, maple bacon, red onion chutney, lettuce and tomato (they’ll happily put mayo on the side for you). Thankfully, they don’t butter their buns [insert juvenile joke]. Mr TL got the same and also a pulled pork (6 hour cooked) bun on the side. Get your eyes around these babies:
The last picture is the third burger Mr TL indulged in: The Purist with added Chipotle. It packed a punch (yours truly always takes a nibble. I justify it as ‘The TastyLick Tax’), but was no match for my double-whammy Mother Fucker Burger. Hot dayum. That was an immense feast. It was like Denzel Washington was baby oiled up and sliding around in my mouth. I had juice dripping down to my mid forearm, people! The texture and colour of the meat was superb (twas grass-fed Hereford sirloin, dontchaknow). There would be more photos had I been able to operate my phone’s camera without drenching it in cow juice. My only quibble is that they should have let the meat rest, for the sheer amount of juice that was leaking out of the bun made the bottom of the burger soggy and hard to hold. I’ll admit, classy lady that I am, it was hard to get my mouth around the burger – some mouse nibbles were needed until one had gained enough ground that the full-on ‘Shove In Mouth’ manoeuvres could begin. I was all about the meat and melted cheese. The cheese didn’t slide off the burger as is often a problem. In fact, the whole burger kept its form throughout the desecration.
The bun was well done too – warm and a bit of a shell on the exterior, but not overly toasted nor anaemic. Whilst Mr TL was T-Rexing through his Purist, I ordered some triple cooked chips. Initially, when I read the menu, these sounded absolutely foul. They are triple-cooked in beef dripping…and ‘dripping’ ain’t ever a word I want to hear. It reminds me of Steptoe and Son. However, my name is Sandra, and I am a greedy pig. I lack restraint at the best of times and could fit a little bit more in my belly. Thus, the inevitable happened:
A bit of a let-down – the dripping did leave a film in the mouth. However, I’m not really a chips sort of person and had these been salted (something else I avoid at all costs) and had a splash of Heinz ketchup, they most likely would have been orgasmic.
There’s no dessert menu at this place, but if you go a few shipping containers down, Hard Candy will sort you out. It stocks most of the American and retro favourites (only mainstream Pez dispensers. Damn ye gods!) and other motley crew members. A sweet sweet shop, but I was so full that making it home without Mr TL having to roll me was looking like a distant dream.
If you’ve got a Pop Tart addiction, this is the best dealer in London.