Restaurant review: Psychic Burger at Birthdays, Stoke Newington, N16
- Credit: Archant
Brunch; by some margin is my favourite New York institution.
Every Saturday and Sunday in the Big Apple venues specialising in this alluring post-breakfast meal are packed with groups of friends enjoying burgers, eggs and steak all washed down with bottomless bloody Marys and bellinis.
It’s pretty clear unlimited cocktails wouldn’t work in London – with English people not being known for abstinence with alcohol – but I’m constantly disappointed there aren’t more brunch joints in the UK, the Sunday roast with a couple of pints being the nearest equivalent.
But, if there’s one part of London that reminds me of NYC it’s Dalston – the heady mixture of hipsters, street drinkers, cafés, bars and thrifts shops very reminiscent of the Lower East Side – so I wasn’t entirely surprised when a brunch and burger joint popped up there.
And popped-up is the operative word; despite being in residence for at least four months, that’s how Psychic Burger describes itself.
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It has appeared at Birthdays, a bar and club on the Stoke Newington/Dalston border whose kitchen was last occupied by Rita’s.
The decor is predictably pseudo industrial – with pipes and tubes snaking across the unfinished ceiling – while on the ground its US diner style, with booths and high stools.
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Despite being burger specialists, patties are annoyingly kept off the grill until the evening.
There was also disappointment on the drinks front –despite a gorgeous looking array of milkshakes, including some intriguingly alcoholic ones, we were told we couldn’t have any. Hopefully that’s all sorted now.
Instead we plumped for lychee bellini and a pomegranate margarita. Both very nice, but expensive for their size.
It being brunch, we thought one course would suffice; the menu was a mixture of healthy affairs (granola) and eggy-hangover cures.
We had a bagel filled with salmon (the curiously but tasty gin and beetroot cure affording it a bit of a tang) and goat curd. An inventive and satisfying take on a classic sandwich.
But the star of the show were the eggs (served your way) with a potato and onion hash, with pulled pork and cheese.
Mine were fried, the yolky eggs and potato mixed seductively with the cheese and the pork was spicy enough to give some interest. It was filling and felt decadent, without being greasy – any café on Rivington would be proud.
Compared to a classic brunch in NYC it was pretty expensive and I daresay the service was a bit behind, but a fine effort and a great way to spend a Saturday morning.