The Schtick: Classic, straight up burgers that are a long way short of being great. Crispy and fluffy shoestring fries are excellent however.
Cooking Method: Flat top grilled
Price: Hamburger €6.95; Cheeseburger €7.45; Fries, Handcut or Shoestring €2.95
“How would you like your burger cooked?” is a question you don’t hear too often in Ireland. In fact, a request for doneness usually provokes the “we cook all our burgers medium well… it reduces the chances of contracting some of the bacteria harboured in our frozen mystery meat hockey pucks”. Ok I added the last bit. But it’s truly refreshing to find a place like Bunsen that’s grinding good quality meat in-house.
I order my burger rare and am finally excited about getting a properly cooked burger in Dublin. So excited that I’m not complaining to my partner about the incredibly uncomfortable chairs and fluorescent strip lighting that reminds me of sterile school classrooms but has no place in a restaurant. But I didn’t come for comfort, I’m hungry and I’m going to eat well based on all recent reviews of Bunsen. My burger arrives blood-red, slightly cool in the centre, perfect except it has no char. Still, the beef could make up for that but it doesn’t because it’s under seasoned. Beef without salt is not much fun, it’s like Florida without the sun. I can tell it’s good quality meat with a rich irony flavour but this is overwhelmed by the American mustard heavy burger sauce. I asked for pickles but can’t find them, I guess they escaped with my cheese. A few bites in and the squidgy gluey bun (like a potato roll you get in the states) disintegrates, much like my enthusiasm. I applaud them for attempting to make their own buns but baking is clearly not their strong point.
Once the patty follows the tomato and slides out of the bun, I’m done. I’ve had enough and stick to the fries which are surprisingly excellent considering the burger. They’re crisp on the outside and fluffy inside as they should be.
There are undoubtedly better burgers in Dublin and perhaps Bunsen will improve over time. There’s a solid foundation to build on but beef alone does not make a burger.