Meet the Vendors: Cheeky Burger
When you’ve just had a baby, the last thing you would do is start a new entrepreneurial venture. Right? Not Marta and Sebastian Lambot. With a one-year old in tow, they set up Cheeky Burger just six weeks ago in Notting Hill’s Acklam Village Market.
“I got really into American food when I was pregnant with our son,” says Marta. “I spent six months at home, a lot of that was spent watching the Food Network. We live in West London – I went down Portobello Road but couldn’t find the fresh, top-quality burger I was looking for. So, we decided to set up our own.”
Sebastian is a professional chef, working full-time at The Chapel, a gastropub in Marylebone – and already experiments with food on a daily basis. “We serve this burger in the restaurant, using fresh products and the best quality ingredients I can find. It’s been a bestseller.”
Together Marta and Sebastian tried all the burgers London has to offer – from Meat Liquor to Patty & Bun. “They were good, but they weren’t the best.” Eventually, they settled on their chosen recipe and set to work setting up their own street food stand.
But how does Cheeky Burger differentiate themselves from other burger stands popping up around the city? “Well, firstly there aren’t many – if any – street food burger stalls in west London,” says Sebastian. “There’s a lot of people in this corner of London that don’t want to travel to the centre or east London for a burger.”
Marta tells me there’s also a distinct difference in the way they cook their burgers. “While watching the Food Network, I came across this American diner programme. They were covering their burgers with a metal bowl while grilling it. So we decided to try it too – and it worked well. Basically, the bowl locks the moisture into the meat, making it really juicy.”
Without revealing too much about their methods, Sebastian tells me that his patties don’t include egg or bread (like Heston Blumenthal’s preferred method). Instead, he just adds salt, pepper and a mix of seasonings. “So when’s it’s chargrilled or pan-fried, it has a meaty flavour that is a bit more intense.”
Everyone knows though that toppings and sauces are key when it comes to an excellent burger. Sebastian makes his own chipotle mayonnaise, which gives it a distinctive smoky, spicy tang, Emmental cheese (“it’s brings out the flavour more”) as well as their own homemade red onion relish and Gordon Ramsay-inspired ketchup – all packed into a soft white bun.
The most unusual sauce, however, is their ‘bacon jam’. “Marta came up with this idea from a New York diner.” It involves grilling the bacon for five hours in advance with other ingredients. This allows Cheeky Burger to include the bacon taste in their burger without the hassle of preparing rashers in the confined space of the stall.
But what’s the hardest part of running a street food stall? “The organisation,” says Sebastian. “It’s OK for me because I have a kitchen to prepare the food at the restaurant. But there’s not much space. It took about two weeks to get to the well-oiled machine we have now.”
“I think it’s the weather conditions,” says Marta. “We’ve worked in snow, hail, sun, rain. All kinds of weather.”
Six weeks after launching, Cheeky Burger are already doing well. “So far, we’ve had really good reviews on Facebook and Twitter,” says Sebastian. “People are say that our burgers are different because they’re really juicy.”
It all sounds excellent to us (who doesn’t love a juicy burger?) but we’ve got to ask, why the name Cheeky Burger? “It’s a guilty pleasure. That’s why it’s called Cheeky Burger. You’re not going to have one everyday. So when you eat one, it has to bring the maximum amount of pleasure.” We’re not going to argue with that.
Images sourced from Cheeky Burger.