Northampton’s Best Burger Search: The Lamplighter
Restaurant: The Lamplighter Freehouse
Address: 66 Overstone Road, Northampton NN1 3JS
Chosen burger: BBQ Beef Burger
Consists of: 6oz Beef Burger, Smoked Applewood Cheddar, Bacon, Gherkins, Onion Ring, Mixed Leaves, Tomato, BBQ Sauce
Price: £9.95 (with chips & homemade coleslaw)
Another week, another burger. As our journey continues across Northampton in search of the finest burgers to grace this land, we have seen some remarkable specimens and some rather less than satisfactory. After hearing many a rumour about a range of incredible burgers being served at the Lamplighter, we felt it necessary to make the award winning pub our next stop.
The Lamplighter, found just outside the town centre, is one of Northampton’s finest pubs and well known for being one of the best real ale pubs in the county. The pub regularly hosts a range of beer festivals, brilliant live music as well as featuring a range of high quality ales from micro-brewers across the UK. In recognition of the Lamplighter’s vibrant atmosphere and excellent service, the pub was recently named Northants CAMRA Pub of the Year on top of a host of other awards. The pub is also renowned for offering one of the finest traditional Sunday roasts, but such talk shall be saved for another time. For now, there is pressing burger business at hand.
The range at the Lamplighter is not extensive, with the pub offering 6 burgers in total. After looking at the menu, we were at a loss; each burger looked ideal. After speaking to the friendly staff, we were pointed in the direction of the BBQ Beef Burger. Being warned that the burger was not for the fainthearted, we were eager to put the Lamplighter to the test.
When the burger was presented to us, we understood immediately about the warning. A somewhat mammoth of a burger, the presentation was impeccable. Firstly, the beef. Oh the beef dear friends! Succulent, juicy and tender, the Lamplighter keeps the seasoning simple and uses only salt, pepper and chives; allowing the beef to do all the talking. Sourced from a local butcher, the homemade 100% beef patty had virtually no grease and is one of the finest slabs of meat we’ve had the pleasure of sinking our incisors into.
The beef alone was not the only triumph; each ingredient was executed perfectly. Due to all the accoutrement, the burger was slightly unmanageable, with the risk of the onion ring falling helplessly back to the plate before we had a chance to bite down on the tower. Fortunately, with a bit of careful burger engineering (removing the onion ring) the burger was able to be eaten as man intended, with two hands. The choice of ingredients used by the Lamplighter shows the level of care that they put into all aspects of their pub. The smoky and sweet BBQ sauce cut through the perfectly seasoned patty. The Applewood smoked cheddar cheese was powerful and flawlessly melted over the patty; adding a further injection of rich smokiness to the burger which complemented the tangy BBQ sauce. The salty and crispy bacon was cooked just to our liking, working well to offset the sweetness of the sauce. The gherkins also added a refreshing crunch and tang that was a welcome addition amongst the softness of the bread and patty.
With so many ingredients, we have seen some buns succumb to all the different juices. The result is they have quite literally crumbled under the pressure or become bun sponges. Knowing there is nothing worse than have your finger sink into doughy bread, we are often quite weary with burgers with BBQ sauce. Too much sauce and the wrong bun can lead to a messy disaster. Delightfully, such terrors were not the case with the Lamplighter. The lightly toasted brioche bun found the ideal point between sweet and savoury, working well with the medley of flavours involved from the beef, sauce, cheese and bacon. The lightness and fluffiness of the bun meant there was not too much bread to contend with before getting to the heart of the burger; and yet it still managed to maintain its integrity in amongst the densely packed ingredients.
The balance of the burger meant that all the flavours had their chance to shine without working against one another. Of particular mention are the chips as well, which were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside whilst the homemade coleslaw was refreshing. We also got additional mustard which was wonderfully peppery (eye watering so). The only slight disappointment was the onion ring, which after being wedged amongst the plethora of toppings, had become slightly soggy.
So overall, how did the Lamplighter’s BBQ Beef Burger perform? Well, we must say, it had it all. Perfect beef. Rich, flavoursome cheese. Crispy bacon. Burger perfection. It was a joyous and unforgettable burger experience. To devour it all is no small feat, but the perseverance pays off. The beef, cheese and BBQ sauce combination works wonderfully well together and is unbelievably delicious. Whilst the onion ring may have been better served on the side than within the burger, this tiny snafu can easily be overlooked with such a brilliant creation. The Lamplighter receives a well deserved 5 stars. Over the months, we have long searched for the 5 star burgers that reside in Northampton. Then, all of a sudden, two appear before us. It is true what they say, when it rains, it pours (well 5 star burgers at least).