The Heartbreaker Burger: Eat an ox heart to save your own

Heartbreak burger
Heartbreak burger from ‘street fooders’ Tongue n’ Cheeks

Scarfing down ox hearts doesn’t sound like a usual feature of a good diet but a new burger from ‘street fooders’  Tongue n’ Cheeks promises to be a leaner, meaner patty for the health conscious Islingtonite.

The Heartbreaker burger, which comprises 50 per cent ox heart and 50 per cent dry-aged English beef, is leaner than the traditional full beef burger.

heartbreak burger
Photo: Ian Sargent

Tongue n’ Cheeks’ unusual burgers, are now flying off the plates at fast food service pub, The Joker of Penton Street in Angel.

The Heartbreaker’s recipe is secret, but creator and “street-fooder”, Cristian Mengeghin, says his patty has a lower fat content than a typical burger’s usual 25-30 per cent. Ox heart is “really lean” and packed full of iron.

Meneghin cooks the burgers himself in pub’s open-air kitchen. Grey-haired and wiry, he wraps a black and green printed cloth around his short hair before he sets to work rolling and carefully weighing each 145-gram patty. His forehead is creased with concentration below the bizarre-looking headscarf. He doesn’t look like he eats many of his own – lean – burgers. “To be honest, I eat one maybe once a week,” he admits.

Heartbreak burger from ‘street fooders’  Tongue n’ Cheeks
Heartbreak burger from ‘street fooders’ Tongue n’ Cheeks

While there is stiff competition in Islington, including Byron and Five Guys, Meneghin is not concerned. “My burger is another level,” he says.

But when the burger that arrives to a soundtrack of rock n’ blues, it looks disappointingly normal. Will the heart taste of iron? I pick it up but can’t help imagining a glistening, plump and pulsating heart in my hands.

I take a chomp and it is the delicious homemade sauce that drips down my lips rather than warm blood. The meat does have a distinctive, slightly metallic taste. Having never tried heart before, I assume that’s it. The Heartbreaker is a delight.

It is, Meneghin is keen to emphasise, “a very sustainable” burger. All the beef – including the heart – is sourced by Nathan Mills of The Butchery, from selected rare-breed, grass-fred British animals. The veg has no foodmiles, the bread is made by a bakery in Stoke Newington without any additives and all sauces and pickles are made in-house.


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