It’s a question debated by many and up until now has been previously unsolved; who makes the best burgers in Leeds? With an extortionate amount of restaurants devoted to crafting the best combination of a patty in a bun (doesn’t it sound so simple?) dotted around our city, a fight to the finish had become the only feasible option. Enter Danny, Unit 44 and One20. After successfully hosting Battle of the Burger in Newcastle, they brought their expertise to Canal Mills at the weekend to settle the score once and for all.
Heading there for their opening night on Friday, I wasn’t sure what to expect aside from burgers, beer and just generally a good time. Although a venue like Canal Mills might be more associated with DJ sets and Air Max on a Saturday night, it was the ideal battlefield. The smoky smell, dim lighting and sound of sizzling was reminiscent of a summer barbeque. After a disappointing no show from Get Baked and Almost Famous, the remaining six vendors had gone all out with signs and bright lights in an attempt to deter their competitors.
Working on a £3 per coupon and a coupon per burger system as a way of judging the winner, I decided to venture out of Yorkshire on my first choice and go with the winner of the Newcastle round, The Fat Hippo. Drawn in by the promise of Monterey Jack cheese and everyone’s favourite chorizo, I was pleasantly surprised when the proposed slider was more the size of a regular burger. Considering the queue size and the amount of burgers being produced at once, it was of a high standard and I would have been happy to receive the offering in a restaurant.
Next up was Belgrave’s very own Patty Smith’s, and for me the standout of the evening. The blend of ox cheek and red cabbage coated in béarnaise sauce with a perfectly cooked steak patty was a fighting effort from Leeds’ very own. After these two delights, I wasn’t as impressed with the rest of the clash. Although Boozy Q seemed the most popular from the crowds stood around the stall, after ordering it soon became clear that was down to a long wait time, frantic staff and poor organisation. This was reflected in the burger – when we eventually got one. Next up was The Yorkshire Pit, a BBQ company inspired by American style cooking and with a heavy focus on where their meat is sourced. Their beef patty was cooked to perfection, and outshone all of the other challengers in that respect; with a more adventurous topping choice, they could be onto a winner. The only two vendors I didn’t get a chance to try was Kerb Edge (who ran out of burgers before 9pm… enough said) and the Black Swan. Although I consider myself to be a daring diner, a beef and bone marrow burger doesn’t do it for me.
The focus of the evening was firmly with the food, but the music has to be commended; beginning fairly laidback and progressing as the evening went on, each song choice suited the venue and the event. On Monday, BOTB revealed via Facebook that the winner of the weekend was The Fat Hippo; although feeling slightly disappointed that a Leeds born and bred burger was crowned champion, it couldn’t be disputed that Newcastle brought the fire to a waistband expanding and incredibly successful event. I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Battle of the Burger in Leeds.
Featured image from The Fat Hippo.