How the burger bun is going beyond brioche

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

22 March 2018
The donut burger
image credit: Red True's Barbecue
  • 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

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.

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 actual food.

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?

image credit: Roast Restaurant

Roast Restaurant

In a former flower hall atop Borough Market, this spot serves up 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 bread 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, double quail egg 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 BBQ 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 donuts. So it’s not even a doughnut cut in half.

Sweet and savoury in one thoroughly over-indulgent hit.

Waffle burger
image credit: Instagram @bird_restaurant


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 BBQ, mayo, hot sauce and Canadian maple syrup, served between fresh-griddled waffles.


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

Inside each is a chargrilled fish fillet and a dollop of tomato.

Which leads us on to charcoal buns…

Squid ink burger
image credit: Instagram @opso_london

Timmy Green

This Australian-inspired restaurant that is based in Victoria, London, offers the Timmy burger in a charcoal brioche bun (though they’re certainly not the only ones)

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 BBQ 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!

Want to see more?

Food Spark supports busy food professionals, marketing and insight teams who work in retail, foodservice and manufacturing.

• Emerging ingredients & cuisines • Consumer behaviour trends • Pricing forecasts • Interviews with innovators • Hot topics and legislation • Nutritional expertise • New openings and more... 

See all that Food Spark has to offer by requesting a free no-obligation demo.


Add to Idea Book

"How the burger bun is going beyond brioche"
Choose Idea Book