another free burger from a new opening

8 Sep

london 6.58pm 18.3C cloudy friday 2017

this is to commemorate the opening of the new restaurant ichibun in chinatown. 500 free burgers to be given away. the name sounds like itchybums. but maybe that is just my dirty mind. haha.

just before 5pm when they start the free offer, they did an opening ceremony in front of the entrance, and gave out free glasses of sake. i did not take any, as i dont really like alcohol. but my fellow queuers did, but i think it might be rather strong… at least from what they tell me. 

inside there was a ground and lower floor,the ground floor contain the kitchens, slap bang in the middle of the floor, so quite a change from hiding the kitchen away… i was seated at the bar area in the lower floor. the ceiling was papered with drawings, and the walls lined with liquor bottles. every inch of space was decorated that might explain the long time it was boarded up …the renovations took so long.

  i googled it and saw an old picture in google of the previous business , hk diner, that it replaced.

the place was supposed to be japanese, but the menu is not very … it has burgers, which is hardly japanese , is it? i ordered the hokkaido, it is a double (meaning there were two of them) 90gm beef patties, with mushroom slices on them, the mushroom were called white truffles at least that is what it says in the menu. but it does not have any smell nor taste of what i had thought truffles smell of… i mean these were like ordinary shitake mushrooms. the lady sitting next to me agrees.

she too was on her own and we started chatting. she heard of this free offer from the londonist. i heard of this from time out. the selling point of the burgers was that it was made from wagyu (wag means japanese, yu means cow or so they tell us in their website) … but once it is minced i think it has lost its uniqueness, that marbling effect of fat and meat that characterises it. at least that is what i think it is unique about it…

(since then i read this that it is aged angus beef with truffle oil. i thought with that japanese sounding name that it must come from hokkaido or at least come from japan… but i should have known that japan has not got enough land to rear beef cattle in enough numbers to make its mark on the world.) just goes to show if u call it by some japanese sounding name, it seems to increase its cachet. 

though what do i know. haha.

just purely from what i tasted, it did not taste any different from all the other beef burgers of the other high end restaurants that i have eaten. but perhaps it is just me with my peasant taste buds that wont know anything even if it hit me. that is why i dont think i shall buy truffles, or wagyu beef, it would be wasted on me.

but it is the first time in all my eating at these pricey burger places that i was able to hold the burger in my hands and eat it without the contents falling out all over the place… so maybe that is a record. haha.

it does mean it is not overfilled , unlike all the other £11 burgers that i had eaten in the free openings of various other burger restaurants… where there are so much stuff in it, you have to eat it with knife and fork. fact,  i prefer those,  after all, if i have to pay that price i would want it overstuffed with ingredients.

chatting to the lady next to me, she said i should check out the toilet, it has the japanese water closet with all the buttons … i said i must do that before i go, and later i did. and it was really rather nice to have water shooting up my bum like that.hahah. (ooops, skip that bit if u are a eating your dinner now haha.)

when u open the door to the toilet, the toilet seat cover mysteriously rises and the whole thing switches on and lights up…. you almost expect a fanfare to sound as well. what a performance. i wonder if it also automatically closes the lid when you exit and the door closes. and hey, maybe in the women toilet, it does the opposite and brings down the seat when u open the door. or perhaps it never lifts up at all, ever.

when i left the place,after about an hour, the queue outside was still long, and stretching way round the corner. it is certainly worthwhile to arrive at the head of the queue when u attend these free bies…  not so long to wait.

i enjoy these freebies, so dont think i am ungrateful for them. the lady next to me ask me if i would come back, but i think you can guess what my answer is .

there have been a lot of these burger high end restaurants opened in london, and i even heard some of them are feeling the pinch, so this opening might be a bit late in catching up with the trend. still it seems this chain of restaurants are very big worldwide, and it is only now that they are bringing it to london. the bartender says they are opening 2 more branches in mayfair etc. i cannot imagine how london can support so many branches. but then they must know something i dont. the backers it seems are past masters as they are the owners of wagamama and other high end restaurants in london. the names of which i failed to catch when i was told it during a conversation with one of the bar staff; while waiting for the food to come. i had a chat with the lady next to me as well. it is fun to just do that with fellow solitary diners. that might explain why i never go with friends… it is too much bother to try to interest them with this and to arrange to meet and all that. 

maybe these places are just an excuse to drink… because the central well contained the bar, and the diners sit round it. so it might be trying to mimic the japanese bars that abound in japan, where locals sit around and make it their regular drinking spot, to go to meet friends and drink, or more likely interact with the bar staff behind the counter.  and have the occasional meal. are there enough japanese people to support it i wonder. but this place dont have sushi nor sashimi or tempura at all… just maki. so maybe it is trying to attract westerners and make this their drinking den. it might work if u can get those drinkers in… that is where the money is i think. 

even the front facade is made to look like a traditional bar in japan. 

this place was supposed to open june 2017. and i found out ichibuns are in subang jaya too, though that opened in 2015 and is closing soon. they seem to have a different menu from this one… it seems they serve buns, hence the name perhaps. so this burger place is a move away from their signature dishes. one wonders whether they are related, or what. or have they been bought and the new owners are changing its style and menu.

added. i have just got an email from byron, giving me a buy one and get one free hamburger, and their menu says theirs is 6oz , whilst this one 90mg is 3oz. so no wonder the hamburgers were so easy to handle with the hands… they are smaller. i did wonder why i felt more full when i ate the double hamburger in byron’s, rather than this one. because even though their double hamburgers cost about the same,  the byron ones are two 6 oz. whilst the hokkaido is two 3 oz.

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