Byron is further expanding its London empire. The latest diner on Haymarket is bound to be a popular choice for tourists and theatre-goers.
The latest addition to the Byron family is just down the road from the Theatre Royal, set in a building almost as grand. Its grey stone exterior is tall and pillared by Ionic columns, but inside things are much more low-key, making the striking exterior and the understated interior of the restaurant fairly incongruous with one another.
Simplicity is key inside Byron. The ceiling is tall and bright-white, and windows running the width and length of the building make the room light and spacious. There are wooden booths and tables with red chairs to choose from, whilst an open kitchen sits behind a silver and black metallic counter. A few fun touches are added to the simple decor, like an oversized, black chandelier and a wall covered in adorable sketches and illustrations of London vistas.
Staff at Byron are young, attractive and trendy, dressed in a uniform of T-shirt, jeans and Converse trainers. They are excitable, flirtatious and extremely chatty, but maybe a bit too eager, even if their speedy service makes them a pretty dedicated team. The restaurant attracts tourists, shoppers, theatre-goers, business types and children, and as a result it gets very noisy. Indie and pop songs are turned up loud, with staff often breaking into song as well.
Byron burgers are pitched as hamburgers done the American way. This means that each simple burger at Byron comes with fresh lettuce, tomato and onion, with beef sourced from Scotland and cooked medium. The cheese burger (£7.50) comes with the option of mature cheddar, American, Monteray Jack, blue cheese or gruyere. The ingredients are really fresh and the beef is cooked perfectly. It's served on greaseproof paper with a pickle on the side and for a simple burger, it is very tasty indeed. Byron also serves up a skinny burger (£7.25) without the bun, which is served instead with a side salad. There's also a veggie option (£7.75) and a chicken fillet burger (£8.50), but do bear in mind that a side of French fries will cost you an additional £2.95.
For the health-conscious, an alternative to hamburgers comes in the shape of salad. A roasted squash and feta salad (£8.50) comes with cherry tomatoes and a garlic and parsley dressing, and the classic cobb salad (£10.50) should satisfy most appetites, with chicken, avocado, bacon, blue cheese and egg all thrown in. Dessert is pretty satisfying too – the knickerbocker glory (£4.65) is an American diner special, and the chocolate brownie (£4.75) is a failsafe option, served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
No American diner would be complete without a choice of milkshakes to go with your burger and fries. Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and Oreo cookie flavours are all on the Byron menu for £3.95, alongside a good selection of soft and fizzy drinks, like cranberry juice (2.50), cream soda with an optional float (£2.85/£3.35) and Coke (£2.25) served in its classic glass bottle.
For something a bit stronger, Byron keeps the American flag flying with a bottle of Brooklyn lager costing £3.75. Other bottled beers include Peroni, Asahi and London Pride, making it a very international drinks menu. On the red and white wine lists, wines are rated as either ‘good’, ‘better’, ‘great’ or ‘best’, and start at £3.95 for a small glass of ‘good’ Chenin Blanc or Pinotage. Teas and coffees are also available, with an espresso for £1.80 and an Americano costing £2.
The Last Word
One has to wonder how Byron has spread itself so far across London with such a simple ethos and burgers that are very tasty, but nothing extraordinary. However, this location will certainly cater well for the tourist crowd, with its quick, fresh and comforting food easily beating what the surrounding chain restaurants have to offer.