How the burger bun is going beyond brioche

By Sarah Sharples

- Last updated on GMT

A new survey has found customers are looking for gourmet baps – and they are prepared to pay for them too.

Bigger is better when it comes to a burger bun in the UK. Because, as it turns out, the bun makes up a large part of a burger.

Research conducted by bakery product supplier Lantmannen Unibake and blogger Burger Lad revealed that, on average, 69% of a burger is bun in the UK. That’s everywhere too, from fast-food joints to more sophisticated burger bars.

Buns matter

For 84% of consumers, a high-quality bun is a key characteristic of a gourmet burger.

Consumers are willing to pay up to £1.25 more for their burger to come in a burger bun.

Nearly three quarters of pubs and restaurants already serve gourmet buns.

Figures from Food Spark

It also revealed that consumers are looking for a gourmet-quality bun. Burger Lad, aka Simon Dukes, declared that the bun is the first thing you notice when you eat a burger, so it says a lot about the complete dish.

Food Spark

Brioche is a popular way to jazz things up but, tossing aside the French pastry for a moment, what other beautiful burger buns are out there?

Roast Restaurant

In a former flower hall atop Borough Market, this spot serves roast dinner as a burger, with 48-day dry-aged sirloin, ale cheddar, pickled red cabbage, carrot piccalilli and horseradish cream.

Despite also including a Yorkshire pudding – hello starch overload – this beast is sandwiched in a freshly baked, artisan potato and rosemary bun. Many of the ingredients are also sourced from neighbouring market stalls.

A hit of vegetables and herbs? Sounds on-trend to us.

The Hyde Bar

The hotel goes all-out for its seafood burger, which comes with an ocean king whole lobster, garlic, slaw and Thousand Island sauce – all encased in a seaweed bap.

Seaweed is having a real moment, appearing on more menus and in supermarkets, including in wraps and butter. It makes sense that it could also work well in a burger bun – particularly one that’s seafood-focused.

The bar has previously offered a luxury burger collection showing innovation from bun through to the ingredients. There was the Périgourdine with Angus beef, duck foie gras and Armagnac mayo in a potato black truffle bun; the Wilderness with Berkshire venison, two quails' eggs and cranberry slaw in a wild seeds bun; and the Wagyu beef with Vermont white cheddar and heritage tomato in a gold leaf bun. Full-on fancy.

Red’s True Barbecue

This is the (un)holy union of sweet and meat. Ready?

The barbecue restaurant has a doughnut burger on its menu, which is a whopping 2,000 calories. And it’s not a fad; it’s a permanent pick on the menu.

It comes with – gulp – a beef patty, melted cheese, smoked peppered bacon, crispy onions and dirty sauce, sandwiched between two whole sweet-glazed doughnuts. So it’s not even a doughnut cut in half.

Sweet and savoury in one thoroughly over-indulgent hit.


Here’s an absurd way to use a bird.

Not to be left out on the sweet stakes, this Shoreditch joint known for its fried chicken has an original waffle burger.

It comes with two boneless free-range chicken thighs, optional bacon, American cheese, house barbecue sauce, mayo, hot sauce and Canadian maple syrup, served between fresh, griddled waffles.


Diners at this Greek restaurant can rest assured the black buns that arrive on their table have been dyed with squid ink, rather than dropped on to an open flame.

Inside each is a char-grilled fish fillet and a dollop of tomato.

Which leads us on to charcoal buns… 

Timmy Green

This Australian-inspired restaurant that is based in Victoria, London, offers the Timmy burger in a charcoal brioche bun (though it is certainly not the only place that does so).

It’s made with cold, fermented, activated charcoal and comes with a prime 8oz beef burger, mature cheddar, chilli pineapple salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion and duck-fat fries.

If you don’t fancy the charcoal bun, you can swap it for – wait for it – an avocado bun. Will the enduring popularity of this green fruit ever cease?

Dirty Bones

This American-inspired spot’s vegetarian offering is a quinoa, pecan and black bean patty seasoned with cumin and espresso-spiked barbecue sauce, served with avocado alongside red beet and carrot coleslaw. It’s held together by a heritage wheat ciabatta bun.

Tapping into the grain revolution, heritage wheat is said to be easier on the tummy. Moreover, it adds something different to a plain old ciabatta bun.

Bun appetit!

This article was supplied by The Morning Advertiser’s sister title​​. ​​
Food Spark’s mission is to keep food professionals ahead of culinary trends. Request a trial here: uryc@sbbqfcnex.pbz​​ ​​​

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