Our family only went to one restaurant, as far as I can remember. For a brief period when I was very little, every Friday night my parents would take us to McDonalds. I’m not sure if the tradition stopped because my sisters went to university or because it was deemed an extravagance. But for a glorious window in my childhood, the end of the week heralded a trip to the golden arches and a chance to sit on a stool that looked like a mushroom that would send you blind if you ate it. Or dead. Of course I ate McDonalds whenever I could throughout the week as well. But eating there en famille stuck in my memory. The combination of these happy memories coupled with the fact that McDonalds is designed to be the most addictive substance known to man has meant that hamburgers hold a very special place in my heart. And stomach.
I’ve only very recently begun to order anything else if there’s a hamburger lurking in the menu. But under some circumstances I won’t even bother to check if they have fried calamari. Like if the burger is on the “secret” menu, à la Joe Allens. Or if I am in any of the Soho houses. I once made the mistake of ordering rabbit when I was trying to seem older to a date and he ordered the burger. The moral of the story? Always be yourself because he’ll be a dick no matter what. The hamburgers at any Soho establishment are beyond comparison. They understand that trying to make a burger healthy is a waste of time. They get that the aim of a hamburger is to be delicious, not glamorous. They’re so good, in fact, that they had to open up Dirty Burger to bring the best bit of the club to the masses.
So it was great pleasure that I saw that hamburgers are a thing at Little House in Malibu. It was a real concern when I picked up the menu that they might have eschewed them for acai bowls or fish burgers or something ghastly like that. For those who haven’t heard from the Nathan Barley-like characters in their lives yet, Soho House has opened a beach house in Malibu. But before you Dean Street House-dwelling, coke-snorting, media wannabes get any ideas, cancel that flight to LA. This is a private PRIVATE members club. You have to specially request membership for the beach house. So NAH NAAAH NE NAAH NAH YOU CAN’T GO. Oh goodness, excuse me. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I do apologise. Ahem. Between you and me, I’m probably not even allowed to write about it, or tell you which hunk made out with The American’s dog last time we were there. *Hint* He’s super fit but into bestiality.
In all seriousness, there isn’t much to get excited about. Granted, the crowd is a million times more A-list. But what are you going to do about it? Go up and talk to them? The only real perk to get your knickers in a twist about is the front-row seat for the Pacific Ocean and the sunsets which you certainly won’t find in the upmarket Butlins they call Soho Farm House. But trust me, you could go and sit next to Santa Monica pier while burying a ten dollar note in the sand every five minutes and have a fairly similar experience. Although you wouldn’t be as comfortable. I would post photos, but I’m afraid cameras aren’t allowed. Although you could always check their Instagram account. Only you can’t because you’re not a member… NAAAH NAH… oh wait, we’ve been through this already, haven’t we?
The American got his membership approved. He decided that, it would be best to abuse his membership as much as possible, as quickly as possible, before they realise they’d made a mistake. I wanted a burger.
There’s something really incredible about McDonalds in that you can order a Big Mac and it will taste the same no matter where in the world you are. I’ve had one in every city that I’ve found one and they are identical. Soho House has nailed this art too. If I close my eyes after a bite of a Soho House burger I’m back on Greek Street. But after the first bite of the burger I had on our first visit I opened my eyes and said, “This tastes a hell of a lot like an In N Out burger.”
And it does. But In N Out burger has one thing Soho house doesn’t – raw onions – which are absolutely essential to get that fresh tang against the melted American cheese and burger fat. And it’s also a fifth of the price. So last week while sitting on the deck watching the sun set, eyeing the $18 cheeseburger, I asked The American flirtatiously, “How far away is the nearest In N Out?”
Twenty-three minutes and forty-two seconds by car, it turns out. I told the intercom at the drive through that I wanted a “triple double” but the American interjected and told it that a double would be enough. I looked at him square in the eyes and while speaking loud enough for the intercom to hear and said firmly, “I’ll have a triple double cheeseburger, animal style, fries and a vanilla milkshake.” Never mansplain my burger needs to me again, American.
For I am the Hamburglar.
Image: Jeremy Keith