Three Compasses: Dalston pub announces Filthy Buns burger residency
- Credit: Ben Broomfield @photobenphoto
Life comes at you quickly – just ask John Gladwell and Debs Croshaw. The pair only began serious planning for their Filthy Buns burgers in February, and now they’re preparing to launch a seven days a week residency at The Three Compasses on Dalston Lane.
"I wanted to create a new knockout burger," says Gladwell, who has held senior chef posts at restaurants and casual dining chains for more than 20 years. His fare would offer "a real slap in the chops, packed full of flavour and naughtiness, and just a little bit messy too."
Tinder also had a vital role to play in the Filthy Buns journey. A lucky right-swipe pitted Gladwell together with Croshaw, a hot-sauce marketeer with a similar drive and entrepreneurial spirit.
"Debs and I met through Tinder, I didn't know she had put that in the press release, that's quite funny!" adds Gladwell. "After the best swipe of my life, we met, hit it off, and found that we both had a love for the street food scene. One thing led to another, and a little while later we thought: 'do you know what, let's give it a go.' Debs' background is in PR and marketing; it seemed like a great idea - and it has been!"
A food market in Guildford offered the duo "the first opportunity to get our buns out" in June, and a busy summer bringing their towering burgers to street food crowds around London was to follow. Gladwell and Croshaw have finalised a menu of six burgers ahead of their switch to The Three Compasses, with 'filthed up fries', chicken wings and tofu nuggets playing a support role.
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The Filthy Cow (£10) is probably their signature offering. Comprising a 45-day, dry aged beef patty with braised ox cheek ragu, Red Leicester, 40ft beer cheese sauce, smoked mayo and homemade pickles, Gladwell says this one is "just as filthy on the tastebuds as it is on the fingers."
Filthy Buns will also offer a Cheesy House (beef patty with double cheese, £8) and Clucking Great (which pairs crispy chicken thigh with bacon and bourbon BBQ sauce, £9). The Fun Guy - with its low and slow pulled mushrooms - and Tofu Fighting; crispy miso tofu with 'mockzarella' mean that a third of the menu is also vegan-friendly.
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Gladwell is originally from Guildford, Surrey, and moved out here after stints in west London and Brixton, saying he has already "fallen in love with it. I can't believe I didn't move to east London sooner."
He says the experience of running his own brand has been exhilarating. "When we started the concept - I should say bun-cept, it's not a concept - it came about in February. Since then it has been a rollercoaster.
"To get here in a matter of six months has been the most exciting time of my life. I wake up every morning with a spring in my step, because it's my thing. It's our thing."
Choosing to focus on the best of British burgers - "we're not trying to be Americana" - Filthy Buns will also offer Roast Sunday Buns (£13) where you can get your chicken, your beef or your butternut burgers served up with bread sauce, crispy tatts and gravy.
Gladwell will report to The Three Compasses kitchen from Thursday (September 26), where he'll introduce Filthy Buns to the crowds at a launch event also offering free beer and half-price burgers.
The chef hopes to consolidate and grow the reputation of his brand over the cooler months, seeking to return to London's street food market for the start of next summer. "With the street food side of it," he explains, "you get a chance to deal directly with your guest, rather than standing back in a kitchen. You get that interaction, which is what I craved."
Filthy Buns launches at The Three Compasses, 99 Dalston Lane, E8 1NH from Thursday, September 26. More details here.