Bunsen Burger: Gastrosexual satisfaction
Dirty burgers come to Dublin to feed the foodie cousin of the metrosexual in Tom Gleeson’s new burger bar
Meet the gastrosexual. He’s the younger cousin of the metrosexual, that groomed and glamorous boy about town. Except instead of clothes and a careful beard the gastrosexual expresses himself through food. He hangs on Heston’s every word. He has cured his own fish, made his own cheese and planned his next holiday around a table booking in Ferran Adria’s brother’s Barcelona tapas bar. He remembers to feed his sour dough starter more often than he remembers to feed the dog. He’s currently eyeing up the understairs cupboard as a potential meat-hanging room.
And, yes, the gastrosexual is male. In the carve-up of domestic duties he’s plumped for the stove over the washing machine. Air-drying your own beef is so much more impressive than air-drying other things. Like socks, for example.
One of the gastrosexual’s many obsessions is his quest for the perfect burger, the Platonic ideal of a burger, the burger that will taste as good as his first New York burger. The Gastrosexual’s Guide to the Galaxy (his blog which might one day swing him a global book deal) has a whole page devoted to the meat pattie served between two halves of a bun, which brings us to Dublin’s newest burger bar.
Bunsen Burger is on Wexford Street, Dublin 2, sandwiched between the butchers, bars and bike shops on this busy strip.
A young man called Tom Gleeson has given the front a grey paint job. More importantly he’s given his new burger bar a back story. His Facebook page has YouTube clips of the baker making the buns, from a recipe that he says has been painstakingly tested. They contain flour, fresh yeast and some “secret ingredients”, we’re told. The beef is minced Black Aberdeen Angus. When the burgers are flipped they’re topped with cheese and a bun and finished on the hotplate under a steel dome.
First off I fear I may have picked the wrong friend for this venue. Anne’s in a nearby bar, she texts: “Having a real drink before my milk shake.” Neither of us can remember when we last drank a milkshake.
When I arrive she has already picked up the menu. It consists of five things (only three of them food items) and is printed on the back of a business card.
Inside Bunsen Burger the long narrow room still smells of fresh paint: glossy grey on the floor, beige on the walls. There are two lines of wooden tables on either side. The schooly wooden chairs came from a salvage yard, a job lot apparently, from a church hall in north Dublin. Exposed copper pipes run along the wall.
The food is served to the table on small trays, and has a feel of Mickey D’s off it. Yes, the trays are zinc rather than plastic but the milkshakes are in cardboard cups with straws and plastic lids. The chips are thin shoestring fries which someone has already salted. In a blind test I think they would be indistinguishable from the golden arches version.