My boyfriend and I had our eight year anniversary on Valentine’s day, but instead of going out for something fancy we stuck with our typically low-key style and celebrated with a walk in the park followed by a pint, then our first visit to Stokey Bears.
Though I have been a vegetarian for almost 10 years I seem to have a vast knowledge of the London burger scene which benefits my boyfriend greatly.
Stokey Bears were first made visible on my radar whilst running their Kickstarter campaign which raised a whopping £36k to build a diner in Shoreditch. As I have talked about many times before, I love supporting independents and crowdfunding campaigns; their gutsy attitude and passion for their food appealed to me.
From the second we walked in and I saw a massive burger that would not look out of place in a fairground or a Route 66 diner, I was completely sold on the aesthetics of this burger joint.
The place was scattered with seemingly random, cool decorations such as skates decks, t-shirts from other local businesses and animals, all complemented by colourful lighting and pumping tunes to create a chilled out party feel.
Seated at one of their simple old school desks (complete with engravings) made me feel reminiscent about my own ‘rebellious’ high school years.
Though this place was undoubtedly cool, it did not fall into the now derogatory ‘hipster’ category; there was no pretence at all and there were only good vibes. The way the staff interacted with customers made me feel like I was stepping into a friend’s pad, with casual chatter and great advice on the food.
Selecting from the 7 burgers was obviously easy for me as a vegetarian: I had the Koala, a spiced bean burger with American cheese, avocado, salsa and coriander & lime yoghurt.
The burger itself was so hearty that you could actually see the kidney beans. I much prefer this to a random mystery squish; I also appreciated the use of vegetables and sauces to complement the burger, which had a nice fresh Mexican kind of flavour.
My very own beary boyfriend had a tougher choice but, after some discussion with our waiter, selected the Grizzly Bear – a Cheeseburger topped with, oak smoked bacon and their famous unique bacon jam. Which seemed to go down a treat.
Each burger came in an equally shiny bun which was not only delicious and sweet, but also held the generous fillings. If you have read any of my previous burger posts then you’ll know the bun is a huge deal breaker for me; I like to eat my burger with my hands without the contents falling all out or it crumbling away, so this one was a winner.
Another thing I am very critical of is having to order fries as a side, who are these people that eat a burger without chips? I did, despite my grievance with the procedure, have to order fries on the side, however these were not you average potatoes.
We shared ‘Angry Fries’ which came loaded with various hot sauces and mustard. To begin with I was confident that I could handle the heat, but nearing the end of our plastic basket I was feeling the effects of the spice.
To add a little health to our carb-tastic meal we also shared some of the slaw, which instead of being creamy and mayonnaise covered, was made with white wine vinegar with big chunks of crunchy carrot and red cabbage.
To wash it all down with we had a choice of drinking from a custom made organic soda fountain, or beer. Obviously we cooled our mouths down with beer instead. Burger Bear and Bear Hug Brewing collaborated in opening Stokey Bears so it simply seemed rude not to try out both parts of the partnership.
Not only were the Hibernation White I.P.A. and Himalayan Red Rye Ale both really great beers but for every one sold a donation is made to One Green Square that will help preserve one square foot of rainforest for one year.
Helping the environment by drinking beer – count me in!
When I first viewed the cute bear themed menu I was concerned that it was a little overpriced in the hugely competitive London market, however after the experience and doing a bit of research I understand why they are slightly more pricey.
Everything these guys do, they do with style and passion; even their meat is carefully sourced from Flock and Heard, a butchers that prides themselves on providing ‘free range meat from as local as possible’. I am all in for paying a little more to support independent companies with great ethics.
On the website Burger Bears state that they don’t think anyone is doing what they do, like they do it and are so confident in their brand that they even set the challenge for you to come down and if you don’t leave with a massive smile on your face then they will eat their DISCO BALL!
The disco ball was saved for another day after our visit as we were both happy customers. I wouldn’t say that there is one stand out thing that these guys get right, it is an entire package wrapped up in a great attitude.
I will definitely be back to Stokey Bears and am very much looking forward to the Shoreditch extension to the Bear family.
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129 Stoke Newington High St