Grand Union

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“Never eat more than you can lift” – Miss Piggy

Christmas party season, you’ve gotta love it. Girls stumbling in heels, boys ordering multiple drinks at the bar so that they don’t have to queue and go back for more. It was all there in full swing at the Grand Union at Ravenscourt Park last Friday night. The place was packed but luckily there was one tiny table tucked away as Ed the manager had invited me to come and try out the Grand Union’s burgers and chips.

The chicken burger
 
The Grand Union is huge but it avoids having a beer barn like feel thanks to the hodge podge of mismatched furniture, assortment of quirky paintings and giant chandeliers which all bring some warmth and character to the pub. On a Friday night the music is loud, very loud, so loud you can’t even talk – but that’s the point of this sort of pub really.
 
The deal is that you order from the bar and each table is identified with a numbered wooden spoon. The menu itself is divided into burgers, “breadless” which are burgers without the bread (which in my view makes them no longer a burger), and sides including salads. That may not sound like much to choose from but the array of burgers on offer is staggering from the classic beef burger £5.95 to the rather more obscure (and Christmas themed) turkey scallop burger filled with a crumbed turkey breast, stuffing and cranberry sauce (£6.95).
 
I go for the Greek lamb burger (£7.95) while my friend Claire tries out the chicken, avocado and bacon burger (£7.95). The burgers are huge, almost as big as my head. I thought of Miss Piggy and her sound advice to “never eat more than you can lift” and so I ordered the chips, onion rings and a salad for good measure as well. The Greek lamb burger is made from a meaty ball of lamb mince and smothered in a creamy cucumber raita sauce, hommus and a little kick of chilli sauce. The meat itself was perfectly pink and juicy but there was too much of the raita sauce making the burger a little on the soggy side and highly increasing the chances of wearing part of the meal down your front.
 
I know that some people would say that a chicken burger is not actually a burger at all but I thought the Grand Union’s chicken, avocado and bacon burger was pretty good. It was made using a grilled chicken breast and streaky bacon to add some bite. This was an accomplished version of a much maligned burger, generous in proportion and flavour.
 

Mixed salad
 
The mixed salad (£4.95) is also over sized and is really a main in itself rather than a side dish. The chips (£2.50) are noted as being “London’s best” in Time Out, but I found them slightly undercooked and certainly not a patch on the triple cooked beauties at The Bull and Last. A better option is the onion rings (£2.75) which are ringed with a thick layer of crispy batter and served with a garlic mayo. Onions and garlic – eat these and you can be sure that you are not picking up.
 
There is no dessert menu as this is really food designed to soak up booze rather than to linger over several courses. This is food that is perfect for its purposes. It is not food to cross town for but it is booze friendly and the sort of thing that you can eat quickly and get back to shouting over the music at your friends. There are quite a few other pubs serving mediocre and over adventurous menus that could take note of the simplicity of The Grand Union’s approach.
 
Essentials
Details: 243 Goldhawk Road, Ravenscourt Park, W12 8EU (Ph 020 8741 2312) Tube: Goldhawk road
Damage: Such a bargain even my mother would approve
7/10
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might enjoy reading about the best pub meal I’ve had in a while, at The Panatechnicon in Knightsbridge. If you are comparing burgers in pubs I think the Grand Union’s beat The Normanby’s in Putney hands down.

Grand Union Ravenscourt Park on Urbanspoon

 
Gourmet Chick attended as a guest of the Grand Union and received complimentary food and drinks.

9 comments

  1. That’s a burger and a half isn’t it! Not sure we have a grand union near us (it is a chain isn’t it?) but I will check it out if I come across one.

  2. Wow – those look pretty impressive, it’s hard to find a good chicken burger, I agree, they’re usually pretty dry and boring. Think I’ll check out Grand Union

  3. Is it possible to actually bite into that burger? Or does it need to be consumed following deconstruction?!

  4. Girls often buy multiple drinks to avoid queuing – well, this one does at least.

  5. You will have to tell us how you managed to tuck into that monster 😉

  6. I was invited to review their new Camberwell Grove branch, and I unfortunately had a very different experience – my beef burger had a very odd texture and was overcooked. Maybe I should have gone for lamb or chicken… but never mind….

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  7. I can see why I avoid Hamburger Union! It seems to me they have managed to bring together all the things that annoy me about the way burgers are made in London and put them into one meal! I really need to stop banging on about burgers I know – I just can’t help myself!!

  8. to be fair, the bun doesn’t look to bad.

  9. Sarah – Yes there are a couple of them across London, one in Kentish town I think.
    Boo – I have eaten a lot of dry chicken burgers in my time
    Mademoiselle delicieuse – it is impossible to bite into!
    Lizzie – ah yes, just setting the scene – for some reason or other lots of boys were at the bar at the GU
    Man-Woman: by deconstruction – it was a messy process…
    London Foodie: GU appears to be popping up on a few blogs at the moment
    Helen – after all your burger testing I think you and Chris are really London’s burger experts!

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