Sitting in Hard Rock Cafe in London, attempting to eat the biggest burger I had ever seen is probably one of my earliest memories of trips to London as a child. We used to drive down early in the morning, park up at Stamford Bridge, jump in a black cab to Hamleys for a toy splurge before ending the day at the Hard Rock Cafe. I know lots of people think it’s overrated; that the food is overpriced and the queues too long, but I love it. It’s become a bit of a family tradition to find the Hard Rock Café in every City we visit around the world, even if it’s just to take a quick photo outside. London, New York, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Rio de Janeiro… the list we can put together between us all is honestly endless!
On Sunday my Dad came to London for the day, and my Sister and I knew exactly where he would want to go for lunch. With the addition of Wayne and Phil, the five of us tumbled out of the taxi on to the doorstep of our favourite Park Lane diner. Little did we know, we had chosen the perfect day to visit. Blue, white and red balloons decorated the outside of the building, and the staff were all sporting amazing rock star inspired costumes. Having first opened their doors on the 14th June 1971, Hard Rock London was having a bit of a birthday party!
The atmosphere in any Hard Rock Cafe is always electric; it’s dark, it’s loud, and the walls are completely covered in iconic music memorabilia. There is so much to look at, so much to take in, and it’s no wonder Gabby and I were completely in awe of the place from our very first visit as children. I can vividly remember being around 8 years old and announcing to my parents that my dream was to work at a Hard Rock Cafe. I’m almost certain it was because I was desperate to wear a little white dress covered in pin badges!
We were told it would be around a 45 minute wait for a table, so with our buzzer in hand we were led to the downstairs bar. We made ourselves at home with a bottle of wine and soaked in the party atmosphere. When our table was ready, we were greeted with the celebratory menu – burgers for 71p?! It was obvious what we would be having.
We started with nachos and the ‘Jumbo Combo’ platter. The nachos were delicious as always, layered with spicy salsa and the most amazing chunky guacamole. The sharing platter provides the perfect medley of American classics from spicy chicken wings and breaded onion rings, to parmesan flat bread with a spinach and artichoke dip. Our waiter tried to warn us that we had ordered a lot of food, but I think he soon realised that we were professionals!
At this stage, Gabby and I would usually be discussing sharing a main course, but at 71p a burger we could hardly refuse. I very rarely order burgers in restaurants as I usually find other things on menus that I would rather try, but this burger, however, was incredible. I went for the Fiesta burger and it arrived towered high with guacamole, cheese, and pico de gallo. The toasted brioche bun was really light and the burger itself was perfectly pink and juicy. I was far too full to even think about attempting the mountain of golden chips but the others confirmed that these were great; far from your regular french fries.
We rounded off lunch with a slice of the burger shaped Hard Rock birthday cake, delivered to our table by a waitress who has been at the London branch for over 30 years. We try and say hello to her every time we’re there, and it’s little things like this that make HRC feel like so much more than an average restaurant chain. We headed off to Sloane Square (thanks to the wonderful HRC host for expertly flagging down a taxi) with the hope that a wander along the Kings Road and a round of cosmopolitans would ease the food comas we had all found ourselves in. As always, Hard Rock delivered us a perfect Sunday afternoon. I think it was fate that we were there to help celebrate their birthday – we are old friends, after all!