Set against the hustle and bustle of the notoriously frantic Camden High Street is one of London’s original answers to the kind of gourmet burgers trotted out all over the US.
Haché, or 'ashay' as it is pronounced, can be found on Inverness Street, occupying one of a handful of spaces bordering the fruit, veg and knock-off clothing stalls peppering this part of town. It's a matter of seconds away from Camden Town tube so it proves a popular pre-party spot for many a shoe-gazer. Haché has a striking wooden terrace which sets the entrance back from the frenzied activity of the market, and it makes use of large patio-style doors that provide significant light, as well as a healthy reminder of all that bartering and barking outside. Although it is somewhat narrow, Haché stretches pretty far back, and as you step past the café-like first half of the space you'll be greeted by an impressively contemporary dining space.
As well as being in a vibrant part of London, Haché prides itself on being more of a continental brasserie than a burger bar, so expect to find a mixture of nationalities (the staff hail from Spain, Italy, French and beyond). The service is certainly attentive and everything is done with a smile; the happiness of the staff echoing the cheery nature of the restaurant - there's even a bit of glitz, courtesy of some colourfully painted (and glittered) toilets. Everything about the space suggests something a little more considered than a simple burger joint, and little touches such as flower fairy lights and birdcage lamp shades create a charming atmosphere.
For those whom can manage one, there's a pretty enticing dessert menu. Haché’s classic chocolate brownies (£4.95) are served either with whipped cream or some of Haché’s very popular ice cream, and in a nod to the spiritual home of the burger there's a very good New York cheesecake (£4.95), which is served drizzled in a lovely raspberry coulis. For those looking for a lighter dessert there are ice creams and sorbets, with flavours such as vanilla pod, dulce de leche granizado, dark chocolate and 'juicy' lemon.
Although the décor might perhaps be deceiving, make no mistake: Haché has all the makings of a traditional burger joint, even serving up their own hand-blended milkshakes (£3.95) with Oreo, peanut butter and strawberry and cream on the menu. If you fancy something boozy then there's a healthy choice of beer with Corona (£3.75), Hoegaarden (£3.95), Peroni (£3.75) and Budvar (£3.75) all stocked by the bottle. Wines range from £14-£27 and there is a relatively diverse collection with bottles from Australia, South Africa, France, Argentina, Italy, New Zealand and California.
The Last Word
Haché successfully blends an upmarket brassiere feel with the kind of no-nonsense burger menu we all know and love. Its location in the heart of Camden only adds to the appeal.