Northampton’s Best Burger Search: The Wig & Pen
Restaurant: The Wig & Pen
Address: 19 Saint Giles Street, Northampton, NN1 1JA
Chosen burger: Bloody Mary Infused Beef Grill Burger
Consists of: Beef burger, Cheddar Cheese, Chorizo, Salad garnish
Price: £11.95 (+£1.50 Smoked Bacon)(with coleslaw, watercress salad and sweet potato fries)
Yes ladies and gentlemen, the hiatus is over. Following a rather intense period of dieting and exercise to ensure we could refit into our favourite trousers, we are back on the hunt for Northampton’s finest burgers.
So to restart the journey, we thought we would pay a visit to the wonderful establishment that is the Wig & Pen. Located in the heart of Northampton town centre on the middle of St Giles Street, the cosy, traditional pub is one of the most popular pubs in the town. Go past the pub’s rather humble exterior and patrons can find a plethora of different beers, ales, ciders and spirits to suit all tastes. It is safe to say that the pub knows its drinks, which is the reason in 2012 they were voted CAMRA Northamptonshire’s pub of the year. The Wig & Pen also boasts one of the nicest pub gardens to be found in the heart of the town, with ample seating and multiple screens entertaining the towns Rugby enthusiasts.
With such high acclaim for their beverages, we were highly excited to kick back off the burger search with the Wig & Pen. After a quick perusal of the menu, one burger seemed to practically leap off the page. It was of course the Bloody Mary Infused Beef Grill Burger. Seemingly invented for any true gentleman of Northampton, the burger promised to infuse all the wonderment that comes with a Bloody Mary and all the endless joys that come with a brilliant burger. With such potential for a taste sensation, we could see the opportunity for another 5 star burger on the horizon.
Oh how very wrong we were gents. The biggest problem was the beef; and as the most important aspect of any burger, this was a big problem. At the Northampton Gent, we love our burgers medium rare and bursting with the beefy goodness that makes burgers the staple of the gods. What we received was a patty cooked to the very far end of ‘well done’. What this resulted in was a charcoaled exterior and extremely dry inside that looked more grey than pink. When we picked up and bent the flat, charred patty, we could have sworn we heard a distinctive snap. Gents, let us tell you, patties should not snap. It seems the term ‘Bloody’ had been used ironically, as we would have had a better chance getting blood out of a stone than out of the beef.
The cremation of the beef was not the only issue, with the seasoning landing far off the mark. Our hopes had been high when we saw the term ‘Bloody Mary Infused’, with visions of a juicy burger oozing all the wonderful flavours that make up a Bloody Mary. Tobasco. Tomato. Worcester Sauce. Lemon. Vodka. We had dreams of a tangy Bloody Mary sauce or salsa; what we were greeted with was an overcooked, overly peppery patty that every so often injected a powerful taste of celery. The tomato sauce that accompanied was rather lacklustre and failed to inject the excitement that the burger deserved. The seasoning may have been impaired by the overcooked nature of the beef and the whole affair had a taste reminiscent of a friend’s summer BBQ.
The bacon added a smoky and salty element to the burger, but conversely was undercooked and chewy. Had the burger and bacon swapped places, the burger would have been an entirely different experience. The limp salad was hardly noticeable and done nothing to shake the bitter taste of disappointment whilst the coleslaw was far too creamy. There was one stand out aspect of the Bloody Mary burger, the rustic roll. The roll was fluffy, soft and tasty. The seeds helped add a different dimension in terms of texture and it truly was a highlight. We would congratulate it on maintaining its integrity, as many buns quickly become overwhelmed and soggy with all the moisture and sauces involved; unfortunately with such a dry patty, the Bloody Mary’s rustic roll was not put to such a test.
How did the Wig & Pen’s Bloody Mary burger do overall? Well, as you may have suspected, it failed to meet the Northampton Gent’s 5 star expectations. The charred remains of the patty did not impress and adversely impacted on the rest of the burger. Conversely, the undercooked bacon lacked any degree of crisp or crunch, providing an unwelcome, chewy element to be burger. The creamy coleslaw was too rich whilst the side salad was quite nondescript. The Bloody Mary burger’s only saving graces were the light, soft rustic roll and the crispy and extremely moreish sweet potato fries. As you know all too well however, accoutrements alone are simply not enough to save a poor burger. Just as Ryan Gosling’s ‘Only God Forgives’ failed to live up to the thrilling, exciting cinematic experience that the name promised, so too did the Bloody Mary Infused Beef Grill Burger fail to deliver on all the promise that the name contained. A highly disappointing two stars; largely saved thanks to the sweet potato fries and the rustic roll.