The ambience inside Hache is unambiguously romantic; low lighting illuminates bleached wooden furniture, and framed mirrors line the walls, draped with whimsical flower blossom fairy lights. As if to drive the point home, toilet doors are painted in a bright pink glitter – Hache is a burger establishment most definitely geared towards the girls.
The shear variety of the menu puts other burger joints to shame; it seems as if anything you can put between buns, has been. This includes shoulder of lamb with mint sauce or harissa, crispy duck with hoisin sauce, and Thai fishcakes with sweet chilli sauce. The beef patties are made of lean chopped steak (and on the menu referred to as steak) and delivered fresh daily from a farm in Ayrshire, and buns are either ciabatta or brioche.
Burgers are presented open; the top bun leaning against the patty to better show off the fillings, with chicory, lettuce and tomato salad on the side. Our table orders the patties from medium rare to medium well, each cooked with beautifully charred exteriors and juicy insides, ranging in colour from shades of pink to brown.
The original cheeseburger is a simple offering, with the same succulent patty encased in molten, mature cheddar, just-melted and dribbling down the beef. Steak Bavaria comes topped with a thick slice of smoked Bavarian cheese and sweet caramalised onions, while the Steak Reblochon comes with slices of the renowned cheese originating in the Thônes region of Haute-Savoie in France – oo la la. The Reblochon is both fruity and nutty, and sits well in the burger. Steak Spanish comprises one of my favourite combinations of roasted red pepper and goats cheese – sweet and earthy mouthfuls. The Steak All-Day Breakfast is ordered sans bacon, and comes capped with a thin layer of Portobello mushroom and a fried egg. The soft yolk is oozy and delicious, and marries with the meat in a pleasing fashion.
The ciabatta buns are airy with gloriously salty-chewy crusts, but best eaten with a knife and fork as contents can spill when gripped. The brioche bun makes for a burger that can be eaten in the usual way as the brioche absorb the juices without deteriorating. The burgers here, however, are enormous, and successfully taking bites out of the entire bun-patty-filling-bun cross section is no mean feat. Sides include sweet potato fries with fluffed insides as well as original frites presented with skin on, which are thin, rustic and incredibly moreish, without being greasy. The onion rings are lovely and thick, but in desperate need of an accompanying sauce. I find myself yearning for something sharp and gutsy to dunk them into.
Hache provides a lot of choice, and the fact that all our burgers are delicious is testament to good cooking. Service is fair, average price per person is £20.
Tube: South Kensington