Executive chef Matt Brown’s tribute to the McDonald’s staple, the Big Matt, is now being served on Deansgate
The great irony of fast food is that its origins are usually anything but.
KFC’s Colonel Sanders was well into his 60s before perfecting his special blend of ‘eleven herbs and spices’, while Burger King co-founders James McLamore and David Edgerton long laboured over their game-changing flame broiler and subsequent Whopper. Some say it took Big Mac creator Jim Delligatti two whole years to hone his/McDonald’s fiercely guarded ‘secret sauce’ (though, of course, Maccy Ds hadn’t banked on the internet - 300g mayo, 1 tbs gherkin relish, 2 tsp white vinegar, 2 tsp mustard, 1.5 tsp onion powder, 1.5 tsp garlic powder, 0.5 tsp pimento, and a pinch of white pepper, in case you were wondering).
So that it took Hawksmoor’s executive chef Matt Brown eight months to bring this germination of an idea to the restaurant pass is not only testament to his resolve, but also honouring a long held fast food tradition of rumination (plus most chefs spend too long pissed to remember what they were thinking the day before).
Yeah ok it’ll cost you twenty quid, but take into account the £10 brew and that's only five quid more than a Big Mac meal
Originally appearing as an Independence Day special on the menu at Hawksmoor Spitalfields, Brown’s ode to the McDonald’s staple, the Big Matt, went down so well that bosses decided to feature it as their seasonally-changing ‘Third Burger’ (the other two being the original and kimchi burger) in all restaurants until the end of September (midday to 6.30pm).
So what is this hoity-toity Big Mac tribute packing? Two well-aged beef and bone marrow patties (the marrow adding a lovely rich fattiness), onions, iceberg lettuce, homemade pickles, tangy ‘Big Matt’ sauce and Sparkenhoe Red Leicester cheese dripping suggestively, lava-like, from the brioche club bun…
Hold on, no sesame-seed bun? Bastard blasphemers!
Ok, the bun violation we’ll overlook, for now, because we’re too busy greedily dunking the accompanying beef dripping fries into Hawksmoor’s own special sauce, the anchovy hollandaise. This umami-bomb, we’re told, was conceived by Hawksmoor’s own Mayor McCheese, co-founder Will Beckett, whilst zoned out of a finance meeting. A man with his priorities well in order.
And to cut through all that fat, Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew; a crushed ice-packed ‘turbo shandy’ mix of gin, ale, ginger and lemon, so called because it was the only concoction able to cure former head bartender, Pete Jeary, of his hangover shakes (if you've never been you'll find Hawksmoor’s drinks menu has more backstory than Ian Beale.)
Yeah ok it’ll cost you twenty quid, but take into account the £10 brew and that's only five quid more than a large Big Mac meal at McDonald's. A small price to pay to avoid sweaty burgers, a sense of self-loathing and the chance that some spiced-up wretch might bite your ear off.
The Big Matt will be available from the Hawksmoor on Deansgate until the end of September, midday to 6.30pm.