After working two years together at the Whistler ski resort in Canada, Liz and Stew decided to pursue their dreams and open a burger business.
Thankfully, it wasn’t all downhill from there.
After running stalls at KERB and Broadway Market; appearing on Million Pound Menu and running hyper-popular stands at Boxpark and Market Halls, the pair went permanent in Brixton – and now, they’ve brought Black Bear Burger to Exmouth Market.
In summer, the place has an indoor-outdoor feel thanks to the bifold windows that give the impression of tables spilling directly onto the street outside. Inside is a relaxed union of warm woods, riveted steel and industrial lighting, with high tables and stools overlooking the open kitchen where the hiss of the grill sings over an old-school hip hop soundtrack.
Black Bear Burger has a cool, rough and ready feel to it. It’s not a place to chew the fat, and put the world to rights over a bottle of wine. It’s fun, and it’s pacy: they’re here to provide you with a bold hit of umami, and they do it damn well.
Smoked. Brisket. Spring. Rolls.
Stew’s upbringing on a grass-fed beef farm means that Black Bear’s attention to sourcing is meticulous. The quality of the dry-aged beef is exceptional, and the same goes for the ingredients they slap either side of it. Take the brisket burger, where 12 hour beer-braised brisket is lifted by pink onions pickled in-house; or the oak-smoked bacon slicked with miso honey butter mayo. Vegans are well looked after here, too – there’s only one option on the menu, but with tangy onion jam, garlic mayo and melting cheese, it feels every bit as filthy and indulgent as a beef burger and about as far from a portobello mushroom bap as it’s possible to get.
Black Bear Burgers are accompanied by a harmonious chorus of sides including hand-cut fries; brisket spring rolls and buttermilk fried chicken wings with blue cheese sauce. And the drinks are just as geared towards the good times: three pint pitchers of their exclusive collab Pilsner with Walthamstow brewery Pillars; pitch-perfect negronis, barrel-aged in-house; and shot skis loaded with maple syrup & bourbon, a.k.a. the slippery beaver.
And the icing on this patty cake?
Some literal icing, thanks to the complimentary cones of custard soft serve that turn up at the end of your meal.
It’s the one time it’s good to see something unexpected on your bill.
NOTE: Black Bear Burger Exmouth Market is open for lunch and dinner, Tues – Sun. You can find out more, and book a table, HERE.
Black Bear Burger | 17 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4QD
Since you’re in the neighbourhood… check out our Farringdon guide.
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