Luke Blackall: Man About Town

Forget the scrambling for Michelin stars. The most competitive fight on the London culinary scene right now is who does the best burger.

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The Independent Online

Last week I went to an early trial for Dirty Burger, run by the team behind Soho House. They claim that months of research into meat mixtures and tricks such as putting the bun on the grill before throwing water on maintains heat and moisture.

The results were impressive, but they will have to be if they are to compete with the likes of Meat Liquor, which has people queuing for hours, the pop-up Patty and Bun or East End favourite, Lucky Chip.

The food that would once have been sniffed at by the critics is now being celebrated. Pitt Cue Co, a 30-seater BBQ place, is hugely popular. Burger and Lobster, which only serves those two things, is expanding. And a former chef at the double Michelin-starred The Ledbury is to open Bubbledogs, serving (you guessed it) hotdogs.

This trend comes as the nation wrings its hands over our increasingly fat population's increasing dependence on fast food.

It's been noted by other food writers that a burger in the hands of someone on a council estate is a bad thing, but in those of a metropolitan-type it becomes a quasi-fashion statement. With its famous shepherd's pie, The Ivy helped to lead the home-style food revolution. There, people who wanted to be seen at the right places essentially admitted that they just wanted to eat what their mum might cook.

Now the fashion seems to be for what people would eat if their mum was away: fast food – as diners are led astray by their two naughtiest friends: cholesterol and trans-fats. And it makes sense that as our age sheds the notion of morality, we begin to give in to our basest urges (I'm just talking in a culinary sense, here).

Next week I've been invited to the opening of Chicken Shop, a fast food-style chicken and chips joint in a room dressed up like a 50s US diner.

The only gap in the market that I can see is the upmarket kebab shop. I can picture it now: the elephant's leg of mystery meat that normally sits in the window is moved to the middle of the room, to be carved by a besuited Edwardian-type with a trendy moustache.

In fact, I think I might open it myself, call it "Doner and Chipson" and wait for the flock of fast-food fiends. Potential investors just need to email me.