Having long been a fan of Lucky Chip, I was delighted when I heard they announced they were moving into Soho. I work in Mayfair so Soho is just a hop, skip and a jump for me to get to. Much easier for me to get to than their residency in Sebright Arms in Hackney, or their van in Netil Market by London Fields.
I personally believe Lucky Chips burgers to be the tastiest in London. Yes, I know its all very subjective and I have had many arguments/debates on this matter. I do also highly rate Mishkin’s steamed beef patties (they don’t like it when you call it a burger) and Opera Tavern’s Ibérico pork and foie gras burgers. I’d say these are my top 3 but every burger I try ends up being compared to Lucky Chip as that, to me, is the highest benchmark I can bestow.
Anyway, I digress…back to Slider Bar. They announced their plans to open in Soho months ago but the opening kept being pushed back. Checking their twitter feed almost daily, I felt like I was getting a bit obsessed with this opening and finally they opened just a few weeks ago. I decided not to visit straight away a) to miss the crowds and b) to let them get a bit more settled so I could get the real experience. So on Friday night, my friends Fenella, Carmen and I headed to The Player, a very cool cocktail bar in which the Slider Bar is now a resident. Located on Broadwick St, just off Wardour Street, and with a tiny sign, its easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled. As you walk downstairs, you enter into a very low-lit cocktail bar. The red Lucky Chip sign lets you know you’re in the right place.
My friend Fenella was already there when I arrived and was sat at a table at the back of the bar. As I nestled into the leather sofa, next to an old fashioned TV, our waiter came over to introduce himself. His name was Dom and he encouraged us to call him whenever we needed anything. We could call him Dom or D-Man and he would do everything he could to make our evening enjoyable. He ran through the menu with us explaining that its not exactly like Lucky Chip…obviously these are sliders as opposed to burgers and you get two on a tray with a portion of fries for £11.50. I had already decided that I wanted…the classic cheeseburger (I need something to base others on) and I thought the pulled pork sounded interesting. Alas, there was no pulled pork on Friday night so we ordered our cocktails and had a re-think on the menu.
For cocktails, I ordered the Grapefruit Julep – Finlandia grapefruit vodka shaken with fresh pink grapefruit and lime juices, honey, grenadine and mint. This was divine…a little too divine. I didn’t taste the vodka at all and I gulped it down like I was gulping fresh grapefruit juice…dangerous! Fenella opted for the Devil’s Kiss – Woodford Reserve bourbon shaken with apple, ginger and lemon juices, orange, peach and angostura bitters.
While we were deciding on what to order, the two guys sitting at the table next to us were making such unbelievable noises over their sliders, we asked them what they had ordered. They had both ordered the Fillet-Oh-Fish (which they said was very good) and the Club Burger, which was the one they were making all the noise about. They said they were going to order another round of Club Burgers as soon as they were finished eating those ones. So on their recommendation, I ordered the Cheese Burger and the Club Burger.
(Incidentally, I think its rather odd that their only vegetarian option is a spicy one – potato cake, kimchi and wasabi mayo. What if you don’t like spicy food? Mind you, I guess if you’re vegetarian, you wouldn’t necessarily be choosing to come to a slider bar. However, my favourite Lucky Chip burger is the Eastwood – portobello mushroom, roasted peppers, eggplant, pecorino, cress, sweet chilli sauce and aioli – to me this is a stunning burger. But I wouldn’t go near Slider Bar’s veggie option.)
It wasn’t long until our trays arrived. On each were our two sliders, a portion of shoestring fries and some aioli. I bit into my cheeseburger first. This comprises of an aged beef patty, good medium rare, American cheese, ketchup, mustard and pickles and it was INCREDIBLE. Genuinely absolutely fantastic. I loved it. The brioche bun was soft and shiny and the beef melted in my mouth. It wasn’t greasy at all, it was perfect. It had perfect amounts of ketchup, mustard and seasoning…it was the perfect burger.
Then I bit into the Club, the burger that had the two Americans sitting next to us so excited. They were currently on their second round of Clubs and were making just as much noise over them. (Americans are very noisy aren’t they?) The Club was made up of an aged beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onion on a sesame seed bun. This was very, very good, but it didn’t take me into the same realms of pleasure that the Cheese Burger did. The bun wasn’t as soft. I couldn’t really put my finger on it. Fenella and Carmen really loved their Clubs but maybe it was because they didn’t have the Cheese Burger to compare it to? I don’t know. Next time I come, I’m ordering two Cheese Burgers.
Fenella also had the El Chappo – aged beef patty, smoked bacon, roasted jalapenos, blue cheese and aioli which she loved but said it was a little bit greasy. Carmen’s second burger was the Royale with Cheese – aged beef patty, applewood smoked bacon, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard. She really liked this but she felt that there was too much ketchup and that the bacon wasn’t as good as she usually gets at Lucky Chip. She thought the Club was much better as she loved the ‘special sauce’.
The shoestring fries were good, if a little bit too salty. It’s not often I’ll find anything too salty, I love my salt, but these tasted like they were from the bottom of the last batch…we had the short stubby ends that were caked in salt. We only noticed this when we saw a couple near us eating long thin fries. We had no long fries, only very short ones. The aioli was lovely though…creamy and garlicky but not a harsh garlic, it was a smooth garlic flavour.
When we had finished, I was ready to order more. So elated was I over my Cheese Burger, I could have had two more. Carmen looked at me like I was insane. She was stuffed. And technically, having eaten so much all day on Friday (I had two curries for lunch!), I really shouldn’t have been so willing to have another two sliders! Especially seeing as I’d moaned all afternoon to my work colleagues that there was no way I could possibly eat anything else all day.
But then it came to dessert. Normally I wouldn’t order dessert after burgers or sliders but curiosity over-ruled me. Our waiter Dom had been raving about the Build Your Own Sundae so much, I felt I should order it to see if it lived up to the hype. And boy oh boy, it certainly did! Whipped vanilla ice cream arrived in a bowl with a ceramic spoon, made to look like those miniature spoons you get at ice cream stands. Next to it were 4 little pots containing…chocolate with dried strawberry chips, blueberries, honeycomb and space dust. And two small bottles…one pink tasting exactly like candy floss and one purple tasting exactly like bubble gum! Almost too like bubble gum. When I squirted some on my spoon and ate it, it felt a bit wrong swallowing it since we’re all told as kids not to swallow bubblegum.
This really does get full marks for novelty value. After trying all the components, I built my sundae…
As much fun as it is, it is extremely sweet, but I must confess I got rather over-excited and kept adding sauces to it until my ice-cream was purple. I actually woke up on Saturday morning and all I could taste in my mouth was bubblegum!
Fenella ordered the Ice-Cream Burger…Brioche bun, vanilla parfait sprayed with chocolate to make it resemble the ‘meat’, apricot ‘cheese’, cherry ‘ketchup’ and mandarin ‘mustard’. It came in its own little burger box. Amazing.
This tasted incredible. A lot nicer than I thought it would.
By 9pm the place was full and buzzing with atmosphere. We asked for the bill and were rather taken aback that it had come to £100! Carmen’s only added up to £20 because she only had one cocktail but Fenella and I left paying £40 each. Popping out for a burger and a couple of cocktails certainly added up! I could have easily stayed all night drinking cocktails but it would have been far too expensive. Instead we ended up in a pub round the corner.
I loved Slider Bar. The Player is a fantastic lounge bar to hang out in, the sliders are fantastic, the staff are incredibly attentive and friendly and the cocktails are fabulous. I will definitely be back but I probably won’t have dessert again. It was a great novelty but I think I’ll just stick to the sliders next time. It can be a cheap night if you just order your sliders and one drink but to stay there all night drinking, you may need to save your pennies!