Hold the foie gras: London's fine-dining burger experience

Chef Pascal Proyart is serving up gourmet burgers – and whiskies to match – at the Park Tower Knightsbridge hotel

Luxe Burgers
(Image credit: Park Tower Knightsbridge)

Despite the street-food renaissance of recent years, few would mention burgers in the same breath as fine dining.

Pascal Proyart, the executive chef at the Park Tower Knightsbridge, in London, has no such qualms. Pairing duck foie gras with Angus beef, or rabbit with gruyere and snails, at the hotel's Hyde Bar, he's propelling the meat patty to the top of the food chain.

While conceding he may well be a "bit of a mad chef", Proyart is convinced "a burger can be very gastronomic". It's all about the quality of the ingredients, he says, and finding the right combination of flavours and textures.

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Proyart's father was also a chef and he dates his passion for cooking from the days when a butcher visited his grandmother's house, selling meat door-to-door.

Now he favours a more direct route from field to table. "I shoot the venison myself," he says, unexpectedly. "I killed four deer this afternoon."

They will find their way into the Wilderness burger, layered with quail's eggs and cranberry slaw and served in a bun flecked with wild seeds.

Yet more red-blooded is the Luxury Collection, a gloriously tender slab of wagyu beef with vintage cheddar and sliced tomato. It comes topped with shimmering gold leaf – an indulgence justified by the first bite of moist, flavoursome meat. Just beware of gilded lips and fingers.

The Surf and Turf, meanwhile, teams minced chicken and chopped tiger prawns with cuttlefish, tapioca and aioli. It's light and subtly flavoured in a way burgers usually aren't.

Each dish is paired with a complementary whisky: a 12-year old Japanese single malt, Suntory Yamazaky, for the wagyu beef, and a sweet, buttery 15-year-old Dalmore for the venison.

"We want to match the whisky with the food," says Santo Borzi, the hotel's sommelier. "We don't want to overpower the burger."

Particularly not when chef is armed with a hunting rifle.

The Park Tower Knightsbridge, 101 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RN; theparktowerknightsbridge.com/hyde-bar-knightsbridge

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