Occupying the former premises of the much missed BEM Music store, which was latterly home to the relocated Phoenix Cafe, Dirty Burger is a recent fast food addition to Coldharbour Lane in central Brixton, a few metres from the Dogstar.
Part of the vast, US billionaire-owned Soho House group, the hipster-styled fast food restaurant joins join the existing Dirty Burger chain which includes locations at Kentish Town, Shoreditch, Vauxhall, Exmouth Market, Holloway Road, Balham, Whitechapel and more.
We went along on Tuesday night to see just how dirty the burgers were.
The upstairs space is dominated by the long service bar behind which there were two friendly and attentive staff cooking the food and serving the customers. The menu is pinned on a board above it.
The restaurant is fitted out in Williamsburg industrial chic giving a rather cold vibe.
There are six tables upstairs three of which are kitted out like an American diner with red seats and upholstery that put us in mind of the great Wimpy Burger Bars (yeah, they’re still going and you can find our nearest Wimpys in Streatham and Southwark).
The outside space is small, but pleasent – there’s a bricked patio area with a few wooden tables, a bench and a couple of dozen plant plots to brighten up the place with a welcome bit of greenery.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the downstairs area which feels particularly grim and is probably not the kind of place you’d want to settle down to enjoy a tasty meal.
So what of the food then and the self-proclaimed Dirty Burgers?
There a four burgers on offer here – we picked the sole Veggie option, the mushroom burger, which was a pretty tasty affair although describing it as a ‘dirty cop out’ isn’t perhaps the best way to get non-meat eaters on board.
We also tried the cheese burger which again was tasty, but I’ve had tastier. You do get a decent sized burger and they certainly live up to their name – served as sloppy, messy meals in branded paper, again reminiscent of Wimpy.
Dont expect the cultery here of course – that’s all part of the idea – you’re here to get dirty… and you will. Luckily there are no shortage of napkins to wipe your fingers and chin with.
Both our burgers were priced at £6. The two other options are a Dirty Bacon at £7 and the ‘Double Up’ which lets you add another burger to the other three options for an extra £3.
The chip options are Crinkle Cut or Onion Fries, both at £3.50 – so you get a burger and chips for less than a tenner.
Drinks-wise it is good to see all the beer and cider is priced under a fiver a pint (only just though) and there is a decent selection including Amstel, Red Stripe, Camden Brewery Beers, Fourpure and Aspall’s Cider so we had a pint of Amstel and a chocolate milkshake which costs the same as a pint of beer at £4.50.
There’s also wine, a Pickleback Shooter (Whiskey and Pickle Juice) and soft drinks on the menu along with the choice to make your milkshake ‘hard’ with a shot of Amaretto, Baileys, Bourbon or Kahlua.
The music seemed a bit too loud and out of keeping with the style of the place while we were there, the tunes were a bit all over the place and played at a level where it was distracting enough for both of us to notice a few times for the hour we were there – it’s clearly going for the ‘American diner vibe’ and would probably benefit from a suitable Rock N Roll soundtrack in my opinion.
It seems Brixonites are yet to hold the place close to their collective bosoms: whenever we pass – which is several times a day – we rarely see more than a handful of people in there.
The friendly staff admitted this though and are hoping the word will start to spread. They’ve been open for just over a month so it’s still early days.
Here’s the view of the main upstairs eating area (below) with the listed specials (above).
Another throwback to Wimpy and American Diners – the plastic tomato sauce dispenser…
This is the view of the restaurant looking out from the back wall…
Here are a few more snaps of the place…
Frying up a storm, the chef gives us a thumbs up – some Pepsi Crates stacked for effect below (they don’t seem to actually sell Pepsi – looks to us like the crates are filled with Coca-Cola bottles).
Another thumbs up from the friendly staff (above) and the view from the front of the restaurant looking out on to Coldharbour Lane (below).
The Verdict: Two of us went along and enjoyed the food and drink which is reasonably priced comparatively (it’s cheaper than Honest Burgers – more expensive than McDonalds).
The staff were very welcoming and the selection of drinks is good (alcoholic and soft). If they sort the music out, we reckon this is as good a place as any to dip in to for a spot of mucky lunch or a quick pre-gig or pre-pub burger. It’s worth a go.
Dirty Burger is at 395 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LQ. Telephone: 0203 859 1121
Opening times are as follows…
Mon – Thurs: 12pm – 11pm
Friday: 12pm – 12am
Saturday: 10am – 12am
Sunday: 10am – 10.30pm