Taste Test: Beef Burgers

May 17, 2010 8:43 am by

Clockwise from top left: Burgers from Indigo Deli, Fenix, Hard Rock Cafe, and Salt Water Cafe.

Given our country’s aversion to beef, burgers are, sadly, a rare, almost artisanal product. Meant to be a fast-food commodity, beef burgers are mostly available in high-end delicatessens and cafes. Frankly, that saves us some time since McDonald’s would rarely ever feature as a contender for the best burger in town. We ordered all four the only way burgers should be—succulently medium-rare. The results:

HARD ROCK CAFE
Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, near Deepak Talkies, Worli. Tel: 2438 2888
Price: Rs375
Ingredients: 10 ounce beef patty, cheese, bacon, onion rings and sauteed onions.
Verdict: The menu calls it a legendary burger, perhaps in the same way New Yorker serves legendary Mexican food. This burger’s redeeming features are its slivers of bacon and the agreeable fries on the side. It is large enough to be a whole meal—but what a wasted meal it is. The problem lies in the basics: the 10 ounce patty is thin, dry and only a tiny cross-section qualifies as medium-rare. As a result, we lost interest in the burger after just a couple of bites. The onion rings were an interesting addition, but it requires condiments to make up for the dryness. We left it half-way through. ★★☆☆☆

FENIX
The Oberoi Hotel, Nariman Point. Tel: 6632 6210
Price: Rs900
Ingredients: A heart-attack inducing 200 grams of Black Angus, cheese, bacon, egg, and some layers of tomatoes and lettuce.
Verdict: The “World’s Absolute Best Burger” as it’s called on the menu is both a visual and gastronomic feast. Dauntingly large, it is served with finger-sized potato…well, wedge-fries (thick enough to be wedges, shaped like fries) and dips, including guacamole. The burger itself is delightful: the meat perfectly done so as to be juicy yet not dripping. The individual layers are perfectly done, and collectively provide a symphony of flavours and textures. Alas, the problem lies in its size—the beast requires a complex plan of attack. Also, it really isn’t comfortable gorging a burger like that in such a stuffy setting. ★★★★☆

SALT WATER CAFE
Rose Minar Annexe, 87 Chapel Road, next to Mount Carmel Church, Bandra (W). Tel: 2643 4441
Price: Rs380
Ingredients: Beef patty (size not specified), tomato and raisin chutney, cheese and egg.
Verdict: This compact sandwich has an extraordinary bun that is light but still holds the burger together well. While the chutney isn’t prominent, the egg and beef complement each other beautifully, and the cheese a nice addition. The only flaw this burger has is the accompanying fries—too starchy, they could be thinner and crisper. The burger is light and easy to eat, but it leaves one wanting more. It comes a close second-best purely because it isn’t substantial enough. ★★★★☆

INDIGO DELI WINNER
5, Ground Floor, Pheroze Building, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharishi Marg, Apollo Bunder, Colaba. Tel: 6655 1010
Price: Rs445
Ingredients: 200 grams of flame-grilled tenderloin, mayonnaise.
Verdict: This no-fuss burger gets straight to the point—it is about the beef and nothing else. Which is why it is our pick for the best burger in town. Meat enthusiasts love nothing more than just well made animal parts, without any distractions or healthy additions. The patty itself is perfectly done, brown on the outside, warm and red on the inside. The mayonnaise is just the right amount, and serves as a lubricant when the bread gets too dry. The Deli burger loses half a point for the sesame bun: it holds well but it could be lighter and slightly thinner. Have it with fries and coleslaw. ★★★★1/2

Devendra Das likes a bong, all Bongs and while not preoccupied by either, chronicles his gluttonous experiences.

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Comments (18)

  1. lloyd |

    the best beef to be had is Raspy’s in Munnar Kerala, why it is the best is because in KERALA since all communities eat beef including most of the Hindus, the meat used is not old beef like we get in the rest of the country. even a simple chilly fry is as tender as lamb or mutton

  2. Balls |

    @Sukanta…..What’s offensive is that you try to impose your fairy tales on me in a democracy.

  3. Karishma |

    Holy Cow!
    Sukanta, self-righteousness is not attractive. Even in a Bong. Give it up. Life as a sanctimonious a** is hard.
    Prakash Manur, I like you =)

  4. nipun |

    Based on the review, I tried the grilled beef steak burger at Indigo Deli today.

    It was simply Perfect..
    Well cooked
    perfect bread: meat ratio
    good texture
    amazzing taste…

    Its a MUST HAVE

    Thanks!!

  5. Rudolp |

    This is by-the-way! Years ago, at the old Excelsior Cinema cafe, if I remember well, one could obtain excellent “Wimpy-style” burgers at a reasonable price. Nowadays, the nearest outlet for both reasonably priced and good tasting burgers seems to be MacDonalds in Colombo!

  6. PRAKASH MANUR |

    Sukanta, you sound absolutely delicious! I’m going to open a pure veg restaurant in the Khetwadi area and I hope you will patronize it. It will be called THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

  7. Sukanta |

    I’m a Bong too and most of us don’t eat beef/pork. Moreover, eating cow meat in India is deeply offensive because of religious sentiments – I don’t mind if you gorge on this sinful meat in another country.

    Even many Muslims in India don’t eat beef out of respect for their Hindu neighbours. I don’t have a problem with the ones that do as long as they keep it to themselves and don’t brag about it like the author of this blog.

    Seriously, I have observed some Bong Hindus tend to over-do it when it comes to showing how secular, liberal they are. Where’s the difficulty sticking to chicken, mutton or fish? There’s a huge variety of food available in India – why do you have a need to consume beef and affect your Karma negatively?

  8. Farida Doctor |

    A most helpful information. My hubby is a die hard beef fan. Especially Beef burgers!. It is so difficult to get good beef in town these days. We are not too concerned with buff or not. We are going to try the Salt Water Cafe today. I have eaten there before and the food was amazing. Truly Fine Dining! Haven’t tried the burgers there though and it is my son’s b’day today and he like his dad is a beef burger fan. Thank you

  9. Try the hickory bacon cheeseburger at Hard Rock, and order it medium.
    What about the burgers at Just Around The Corner? They used to be really good

  10. That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.- Mahatma Gandhi

  11. Vinni |

    Just what I was looking for! Thanks a tonne!

  12. fedupguy |

    Wonderful to “discover” these burgers in Mumbai -BUT, the fundamental question remains: Is it truly beef? (or just buffalo – which is osmething entirely different!) -
    i am very suspicious…..
    Beeing a 100% beef eater – i miss my steak!

  13. Debu Panda |

    The Indigo Deli burger is indeed fantastic and I’m sure it’s really beef. However most joints that claim to serve beef, I’ve heard, actually serve buffalo or buff as it’s (honestly) known in Delhi. Not that buff isn’t tasty.

  14. Farah |

    I personally love the Indigo Deli burger (especially when ordered with Mozzarella cheese) and totally agree with the review (minus the coleslaw comment). The photo however does not do the burger justice!

  15. DevD |

    @Neysa: Frankly, we could have considered a couple of other places too, but we had to filter it down to four. Woodside Inn does good food, but it isn’t known for its burgers *particularly*. Their beef medallion is pretty good; better than the burger. You should watch out for Woodside’s annual beer and burger festival :-)

    @Bill: Fair enough – we appreciate creativity too. However, we live in a city where burgers are scarce so simply getting it done properly in a comfortable setting at a reasonable price is a better overall package.

  16. Bill Smith |

    I have actualy had the Fenix burger in the new Oberoi, Mumbai and I too was blown away by its size. But that said, “size is not everything” and I still conclude it was delicious and the best burger in town.

    Sorry, Indigo Deli loses on plainess and no creativity while Fenix is a “wow”!

  17. Neysa |

    Great reading. :) I’ve heard a lot about Indigo Delhi’s beef burger, but have never tried it out. Love their Sangria though…You could’ve also added Woodside Inn to the list, and I’ve had one incredible burger there, but I’ve found them to be inconsistent.

  18. Hi-
    -ghly recommended by another bong, Arkadyuti Basu, the giant beef burger from Bombay Kitchen. Used to be his reason to come in to work on Saturdays.

    Address: 8/A, Noor Mahal Building, Sir Ratan Tata Road, Opposite Old Earthquake (Disco), Tardeo, Mumbai.
    They deliver too: 022 2354 3399

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