I’m all for competition. It breeds an environment where the best product and most savvy of businesses survive. Its vital for the food industry in keeping profit margins at an acceptable level for the customer and for keeping the owners on their toes. Rivalry breeds respect and results. Though occasionally competition is futile. Every now and then a leader emerges that is unbeatable, rendering everyone else to fight to for second or third place. Federer at tennis a decade ago, Google for search engines, America at obesity. Now I’ve tried the burgers at the permanent home of Original Patty Men you can add them to that list. Everyone else should turn off the gas on the grill, go home, and work on that pulled pork recipe. Or whatever horrid trend is next in line to dominate 2016.
I’ve had the burgers before. I’ve queued with the rest of them at Digbeth Dining Club and Seasonal Markets for my fill. Street food is everywhere in Birmingham; we do it better than anywhere else, with OPM (as it will herewith be referred to) topping the bill alongside my other favourites Bournville Waffle Company and Baked in Brick . Its just I like the queues as much as I trust the English weather. Which is why I was a tad excited to park my fat arse on a chair in their new gaff under the arches in a Digbeth passage near Moor Street station car park.
I could go on at length about the make-up of the burgers. How the aged meat is coarsely ground and tightly packed. How the high heat sears a crust full of umami and retains a blushing pink centre. Its a thing of beauty that almost leaves me to be able to communicate only in profanities. Oh, fuck it. They are fucking amazing. We try one in a glazed Krispy Kreme with maple glazed bacon where the potential over-sweetness is held at ground level by the savor of bovine hung for a good period of time. Another sees the components of a cheese burger with a spiced mayo and crushed pork scratchings. It sounds more outlandish than the reality; the pork rinds are there to provide an additional layer of seasoning and texture. Its all very clever and extremely moreish.
The small but perfectly formed menu has a few sides from which we try smokey home baked beans and chips topped with slaw and more of that spiced mayo. The chips are good, taken up another level by the toppings which offer crunch and a little heat. Better are the beans with bacon and a steal at two quid a pot. They have no sweet courses on offer today, due to the local bakery that supplies them being too busy. I consider requesting a Krispy Kreme for dessert. Only grilled. And with bacon and a lump of charred cow.
We settle a bill which fails to reach thirty quid including a couple of drinks and look to the doors where a queue of waiting people are already starting to form. That queue is only going to get bigger and bigger -Its inevitable with a product this good. Forget Goodman’s, Byron, or the one at Burger and Lobster that costs £20. Forget Dirty Burger or Meat Liquor or anywhere else that the capital has to offer. OPM’s are the best burgers that I have ever eaten. Digbeth, long home to the countries best street food, now has a resting place for one of the jewels in its crown. I for one, could not be happier.