As the novel coronavirus pandemic constricts the economy and forces countless restaurants to batten down the hatches or close permanently, Gordon Ramsay has announced his Harrods burger menu — where beef-in-a-bun starts at £24 and peaks at £80 for the obligatory wagyu burger, according to Propel.
As observed upon the initial opening news, Gordon Ramsay’s burger template is a throwback to the 2000s, when beef was a mere foundation for extravagant, exaggerated topping stacking. As London’s burger slingers move away from this and towards a preference for comparatively austere, ultimately more delicious smashburgers designed to hit simple pleasure points of salt and fat, the shouty chef is resolute in his belief that what people want is a (blue) cheeseburger with five toppings, including retro hits like “onion jam” and “rocket.”
The zenith of this excess is the wagyu, which tops a patty with seared wagyu sirloin, truffle cheese, cep mayonnaise, and additional black truffle. It is a very silly burger. It’s joined by a £42 lobster and shrimp burger, which puts lobster and rock shrimp into a patty — with the risk of losing the lobster’s quality of being lobster — and tops it with pickled vegetables, aioli, and frisée. According to Ramsay: “I guarantee this will be a burger experience like no other.”
Ultimately what this restaurant expresses is that brand Gordon Ramsay’s prestige has reached a point where he can do absolutely anything he wants, regardless of overriding circumstances like “evolution in cultural discourse” — did you see Lucky Cat? — and “a global pandemic forcing businesses to not do business.” In that sense it marries well with Harrods — a department store with luxury London lore in spades whose top search results ask “can you just walk into Harrods?” and “can you wear jeans in Harrods?” It’s a little, beefy cocoon against reality — and that will suit Ramsay just fine.