Asian-influenced burgers are spicing up central London, but are they too hot to handle?
Opening a new burger restaurant next to Borough Market – home to just about every indulgence in existence – might seem like a risky move. But Yen – started by young female food entrepreneur Yen Nguyen – has a funky fusion twist on everyone’s favourite gut-busting staple, which it hopes will tempt the beehive of bankers and tourists around London Bridge that are, perhaps, looking for something a little bit different.
The Asian decor – floral displays giving a touch of elegance not often found in these parts – initially suggests that Yen might take a radically different approach to Britain’s favourite comfort food. However, the Eastern touches when it comes to the food itself are actually far more subtle. The Spice, Classic, Finest Chick and signature Yen (with 100% wagyu beef) burgers contains Shiso – a relative of mint, also known as the Beefsteak Plant – which offers a new but by no means alienating take on the familiar treat.
The halloumi and mango side is a must-eat – sweet, satisfying and more-ish – and the Dashi fries add just the right amount of zing needed to elevate your chips. And it’s not just the food that’ll put a spring in your step. (Or should that be spring onion? There’s plenty of that too!) Yen also take their cocktails, made at the Cherry Blossom bar, very seriously – the Lychee Dream(s) went down far too easily! – something that is always welcome in this part of town, and the super friendly staff are happy to advise and guide, bringing their unrivalled Asian service to a crowded market that normally sees staff already onto the next customer before you’ve even finished your order.
Fortunately, this personal touch didn’t detract from the speed – after all, everyone’s in a rush Bankside, right? – and the food was fast, tasty, and felt fresh – both literally and beyond, giving plenty of personality too; something this occasionally soulless area of the capital could use more of. Yen? Again? Yes!