Sunday, 20 September 2015

Croydon/Purley Food Heroes - Dexter Burger



Britain’s taste for burgers, especially the gourmet kind, is on the rise. While the international mega-chains still dominate the market it is the hunger for better quality food in a casual setting that has fueled the explosion of fancy burger joints all over the country. And the good news is that Purley now has its own premium burger restaurant. Dexter Burger quietly opened on Purley High Street in late July and since then has been building a keen local fan base for their rare breed burgers and indulgent brunches. Having heard good things we met with some friends for dinner. The cosy restaurant welcomes you in from the street like an old friend. The care that the owners, Nick and Stewart, have put into the hand built furniture, stylish fixtures and fittings of the restaurant lend a contemporary but friendly atmosphere.



The proper test of any burger restaurant is the house beef burger and it’s with the “Dexter Beef Burger” that Dexter set out their stall. The carefully sourced, properly aged, rare breed beef is freshly ground in-house to produce the juicy patties. Refreshingly the accompanying garnish of rocket and bĂ©arnaise sauce enhance rather than swamp the delicious burger. The whole thing is housed in what I think is the best burger bun I’ve experienced. The grilled brioche bun is soft enough to yield but with enough integrity to contain the burger till the last bite. I wanted to completely indulge so I opted for the special for that week, the chilli burger. 




There is always a chance when you pile on the toppings that the flavour of the burger can be lost. But there is no risk of that at Dexter, where the slow cooked beef chilli makes a good thing even better. The accompanying chilli fries are drizzled with a tangy chilli mayo and sprinkled with a warming chilli seasoning. The regularly changing special burger is an opportunity for the chefs to experiment and on our second visit we tasted the new beef bourguignon burger with soft cheese which was a triumph. The chicken burger made with whole chicken breast is well cooked, juicy and delicious. Vegetarians can opt for the beetroot and goat cheese burger, a welcome change from the usual beany offerings. The best thing to drink with a burger is beer and here they offer beers from local brewery, The Cronx, as well as a modest and well-chosen wine selection.   

Back for Brunch

We were tempted back for brunch on the August bank holiday Sunday to meet some local Purleyite friends. The welcoming atmosphere of Dexter Burger works equally well in the morning too. Dexter only soft launched a few weeks ago but it already feels like a local favourite for families, friends and couples.
I have a soft spot for brunch, we don’t do it enough in this country, perhaps because of our fondness for roast dinners. It feels like a naughty extravagance or forbidden, conspiratorial rendezvous, especially when the pork, eggs and late morning cocktail is softening the effects of the previous night’s adventures. So doing it right is important and rather than juicy burgers the Dexter brunch menu covers diner classics and more. One restaurant trend that I’m yet to grow bored of is pulled pork. Slow cooked pork shoulder is finding its way into any dish that will have it and at Dexter Burger it has sneaked under the eggs benedict.



It works, it really works and if that forkful of soft pork, runny yolk and hollandaise is getting a bit too rich and you find yourself drifting from your co-conspirators then a sip of a homemade Bloody Mary or a Bucks Fizz will bring you back into the room even if only temporarily. They also serve a range of teas from Teapigs and invigorating coffee from London’s Monmouth.

My fellow diners were equally impressed with their choices. A rare breed beef sausage sarnie with onion was both huge in size and high in quality. The care with which Dexter source their meat shines through again. 


The baked eggs almost felt like a healthy option when compared to the pulled pork benedict but both haloumi and chorizo options packed enough nourishment to easily see you through till dinner. 


For the self-denialists among you there is a bowl of Bircher Muesli - but get real people, brunch is not part of a cleanse, live a little! We will be back for more brunch as we couldn’t quite stretch to the classic diner pancakes, here served with either bacon and maple syrup or blueberries. On all of our visits to Dexter the service has been excellent and we have been made to feel more than welcome. So whether it is quality burgers you are after or a robust and surprising brunch, I can heartily recommend Dexter Burger.



Dexter Burger
10 High St, Purley CR2 2AA
020 8660 9427
Open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner
Saturday and Sunday for Brunch 

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