2 October 2014

Burgers @ Bayou

That picture is somewhat mouthwatering, isn't it?

I don't often feature restaurants or bars on my blog where I didn't have a great experience. Unless the food and service is really appalling and I feel inclined to name and shame, I prefer to just forget about those average venues. Why would I recommend them to you anyway? But occasionally I'll experience a new place that, despite not blowing me away, I come away feeling that it still has good potential. Let's call it teething problems.

That's how I felt about Bayou.

I was meeting my friend Alexa. She'd been travelling and I hadn't seen her in ages so a long catch-up lunch was in order. I walked through the weirdness of Camden to Inverness Street where Bayou is located.

Bayou is an all-day bar and kitchen that celebrates the distinctive Creole cuisine and lifestyle. The Creole people were originally settlers from Portuguese, French and Spanish regions of Europe who settled in the Southern United States, particularly Louisiana (one for the fact fans, there).

We visited on a Saturday afternoon and the live music was already in full swing, deep south style!

The food menu was exciting - lots of meat options like burgers, Cajun chicken and beef to more unusual dishes like Jambalaya (Creole paella) and Gumbo (a meat or shellfish soup). What to have, what to have...

As we pondered our decisions, filled with anticipation, we were informed that their head chef had unexpectedly called in sick and they'd had to replace him with a junior who could only cook the burgers or fried chicken. Hrumph. Frustrating but it couldn't be helped. Thankfully we were both in the mood for burgers (the Classic Angus for me and the Pulled Pork for her) and the stand-in chef could stretch to the Creole salad with crawfish tails and salmon flakes. It could be worse.

We had something of a wait for the food, as you would expect in the circumstances, but Alexa and I had so much to chat about we barely noticed. Eventually our lunch was served.

I couldn't fault the Creole salad; crispy lettuce, juicy seafood and the most delicious, creamy dressing you could hope for. I'm sure you will agree that the Angus steak burger - served with cheese, Creole tomato salsa and mayonnaise - looked incredible. All that wonderful melted cheese coating that thick patty...heaven in a bun. And it would have been that good if it had cooked it medium-rare as I'd asked and not well-done. Sad face. I didn't bother to get it changed as I imagined the chaos already going down in that kitchen so well-done it remained. A real shame as it could have been something rather special.  

There wasn't much of an excuse for the smothered cabbage side dish though; I didn't think it was very nice at all.

But lets end on a positive - Alexa loved her pulled pork burger! Moist slow-cooked meat mothered in red onion chutney and mustard, I have to admit I was a tad jealous!

To summarise, I honestly think I was just unlucky on the day I chose to visit Bayou. I think the place has lots of promise. Although I was disappointed they offered me no reimbursement for the over-cooked burger, the service was very friendly and the place certainly has atmosphere - I bet it would be fantastic of an evening after everyone has necked a few whisky cocktails! I think I'll head back for dinner in a couple of months time and see how the land lies.

If anyone else fancies giving it a go, please do contact me and let me know what you thought! 


  1. I find it a real problem with reviewing restaurants that it's very difficult to know if you're getting the best overall experience. You may have caught them on a bad day, the dish you order might be a rogue bad one when everything else is fantastic, or you have come at the wrong time of day when it just happens to be empty. I don't like to be mean or negative either but I end up having to just tell it as I see it... I guess you really need to review somewhere three times to get the average... but I don't think anyone has the time or money for that and I wouldn't even like to think of the effect on the waist line!!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

    1. Yes, exactly. It's difficult to know but I thought on this occasion, with the kitchen situation, it was worth giving them the benefit of the doubt. I find bad overall service difficult to overlook but it was good here. I'll return soon and see what it's like second time round! Cx

  2. I think you should give them another try! That big juicy burger looks too good to let go! I guess these new places can have problems in the start until they get properly established. Great post

  3. Ah a well-done burger is so disappointing! All that cheese does look pretty good though! I'm sure you're right, seeing as the chef called in sick I bet the stand-in guy was having a bit of mare - was probably just an off day!


    October Eleven

  4. That burger looks amazing, shame it didn't live up to expectations! I really love your blog, always makes me want to go explore London :) Beth xxx


  5. It's hard to write, but I think you did the restaurant a great justice - completely fair and understanding. At the end of the day, it's a business that thrives on their reputation - but everyone has a bad day sometimes!

  6. That burger looks delicious but a shame it was over cooked. It is hard to know how to review but I think as you've said with the chef situation you can give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Victoria x

  7. It sounds like you got unlucky that day, which is a shame! The place does look good, so I'm tempted to try it out (although I find few things more disappointing than a delicious looking burger that turns out to be well done :( ). Thanks for giving such an honest review!

  8. A dirty burger is normally a naughty treat that can't be messed up but maybe they can and the cabbage looks vial. Maybe they were having an off day. Always good to catch up with friends though Lucy x

  9. You just had a reel me in with that photo didn't you?

    I am drooling right now!

    Em | Hmm maybe...

  10. the burger does look good - what a shame that they didn't cook it well! (actually, they cooked it too well. haha.) as you say, it does seem like it might have been an off day due to the circumstances - the salad and pulled pork is proof that there is good stuff coming from that kitchen, maybe worth another try? x

  11. It's a shame it was a bit hit and miss! It does look pretty good and I feel for the young chef in the kitchen amidst the panic but it's a real shame they didn't offer you anything if you mentioned that the burger was over cooked!

    Katie <3


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