Address: 54 James Street, W1U 1HE
Area: Bond Street
Nearest Station: Bond Street
Good For: Friendly conversation, Filling meal, Casual dining, Takeaway, Proper service
I was fortunate enough to have visited Joe of Patty & Bun fame twice during his summer residency at The Endurance in Soho. I was initially a bit sceptical, not being particularly keen on cramming myself onto tiny tables between the after-work drinkers to eat something potentially very messy, but my word that first visit back in June was astounding. I don’t know whether it was the Jose Jose burger, the rosemary fries or the smoky sticky chicken wings that did it for me, but I was won over to that crazy man dishing out burgers from behind the bar. Heck, my brother and friend were happy enough that they both ordered SECOND burgers, much to Joe’s disbelief, and perhaps mild disgust. I guess not many people eat two burgers in one go, for we got some recognition on our second visit, the final week of Patty & Bun at The Endurance. It was at that point that I knew that the coming months would be fallow ones indeed…
So I was very excited to hear that you would now be able to find these burgers permanently on James Street. But I was also cautious – how would the transition from short-term residency to permanence be handled? Would the effervescence of the original, slightly anarchic yet thrilling Patty & Bun survive settling down?
My trip last Sunday with a friend was therefore rather enlightening, in that respect. Although the rather dim lighting made it look closed (I got quite scared for a moment then), Patty & Bun was still as welcoming as ever. Friendly and smiley staff made a good first impression; the sight of Joe actively helping out and mingling and chatting with diners made an even better second one. But then the night almost took a turn for the worse, and almost made us doubt whether we’d be back again.
Almost. But first, the story. We made our orders – Lambshank Redemption, Smokey Robinson and rosemary fries – and waited. And waited. After about 25 minutes (time flies when you’re having fun), we politely asked where our food was. “No problem, sorry for the delay”. A bit of hustle and bustle in the service area. “Oh jeez, I’m very sorry, it looks like we already served it, but to the wrong table”. I’m sorry, WHAT? Here we were, two hungry fellows, being told our food had been and gone. They’d somehow managed to mix up the table numbers. Oh dear. This was not looking good.
Our annoyance was soothed somewhat by how apologetic everyone was, and Joe did come over to say that he’d get it sorted pronto. It was therefore not long before our food did arrive: “I’m soo sorry for the wait, guys, I really am, here’s your Hot Chick and Jose Jose. We all good?” Ahhhhhh. If only they had gotten our right burgers. I felt quite bad about mentioning that they were the wrong burgers, but really, getting our order wrong twice? It was looking quite farcical. All we could do was laugh really.
But thankfully, our night was saved by the sterling effort of Team Patty & Bun in trying to make things right. We were gifted those burgers, eventually got our original order through free of charge, had a complimentary extra portion of chips and, to our surprise, were also given a rather potent cocktail jug on the house. All within 10 minutes.
My friend and I were both really impressed by this, as we’d been part of a group who’d experienced a similar order failure at another restaurant; we could not fail to notice how much worse that place was in handling the debacle. At that place, they quite clearly could not be arsed to apologise sincerely for the very lengthy wait, they ardently defended the poor quality of the food that did come as “that’s how we do it, that’s how people like it” and they very grudgingly gave us a 10% discount. Not so at Patty & Bun – they took out all the stops to try and turn around what had been looking to be a rather disastrous evening. That’s how you ensure that people come back.
Oh, and of course, having pretty damn fine food helps in ensuring the punters return. I devoured that Jose Jose, enjoying the pink juiciness of the meat, the sharp bite of the chorizo and the sweetness of the red peppers, whilst my friend loved the interplay of the caramelised onions and the cheese in his Smokey Robinson. Rather sensibly, we both took our second burgers home for our work lunches the next day (that’s not to say I couldn’t eat that second burger; I mean, I really could. I just didn’t want to. Just saying, it’s not that I’m incapable). And I must say, when I warmed up that Lambshank Redemption in the client’s microwave, people were JEALOUS. Even more so when they could smell the punchiness of the lamb and the feta cheese and see the juices soaking into the bun and running down my fingers. It was very messy and perhaps not very edifying for my first day at the client, but it was damn tasty.
VERDICT – Highly recommended. As you can probably guess, my main take away from that Sunday night was what genuine effort Joe and his team put in to try and rectify their mistakes. They seemed pretty determined to get things right for their customers, and I like that. I do like their burgers too; you know, since they’re a restaurant, I should probably mention that too. Yeah. Awesome burgers, great service. I’m definitely going back for more.