Back when J and I were living 2 hours apart, we had a little routine when he would come to visit me. The O’Neills pub in St Albans featured heavily in this routine, as a place where we would often go to drink and eat. In fact, it’s where we went on the night we first got together, so there are plenty of memories there. We now live too far away to head back to that exact branch, but recently headed into London for a bit of Irish nostalgia at the King’s Cross venue.
We just had to go for the halloumi burger, of course – we’re still trying to find something that will top The Barn on that front! On the menu, it is described as:
All our burgers are served in a slightly toasted brioche bun with pickled gherkin, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo, with seasoned chips on the side.
It sounded pretty good to us, so we went for it – taking the optional extra of adding curly fries instead of chips for £1.
The chips were your standard fare, very much what you would find in any pub up and down the country. The plate comes served with the bun open as you can see above. I’m fairly certain this is done to make the plate look more full than it really is. Either way, there is a good amount of salad inside the bun, and it was served fresh.
There is a salsa on the bottom of the burger which could be a little stronger in taste, but is otherwise fine. This is topped with slices of red pepper which I would have preferred they left out. The way it had been cooked left it far too hard and chewy – I could barely bite through the skin. They didn’t add anything in terms of taste, clashed against the other flavours that were present, and to be honest were absolutely superfluous. By far the least enjoyable part of the burger as a whole.
The ‘burger’ itself was huge chunks of halloumi. I am a big fan of halloumi, but we’re starting to see more and more this style of serving. No real thought or attention has been given to the presentation of the halloumi. It’s not breaded or grilled to the point of black lines – it’s just a reasonably warm chunk of cheese. It’s a bit boring even if it tastes good. I would like to have seen some more effort put into the whole thing, to be honest. The guacamole on top was good in general, but again was a total mismatch with the flavours underneath the burger. The bun was a nice soft brioche, very standard for contemporary pub fare.