Taste Test: Beef Burgers
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
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. ★★☆☆☆
The Oberoi Hotel, Nariman Point. Tel: 6632 6210
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
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
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.