I am a huge fan of burgers – HUGE. I love everything about them. The soft bun, the juicy pattie, the creamy/crunchy/fresh toppings. The way you can pick it up with both hands, put it into your mouth, take a big bite and instantly find joy. Burgers are versatile, quick to make, adaptable to different appetites and diets and you can find them just about anywhere. And in general most – not every – restaurant or take out can offer up a decent one.
Over the last few years, the “Gourmet” Burger has gained fame and awe from foodies around the world, and we have seen Gourmet Burger Joints popping up all over the place. At first, I was intrigued, excited and eager to try as many of these larger than life burgers as my stomach could handle. Topped with anything from bananas to bacon to bourbon sauce, I’ve seen the likes of strawberries, salsa, saltine crackers and seafood taking center stage. The classic burger has grown into a gastronomic event, with even men battling to finish the meal. A few years down the line and I am, to be honest, a little over the fuss. When deciding on a burger place to try out, I find myself leaning towards the more down to earth, classic joints, where I can confidently order a burger without worrying about whether or not I will be able to fit it into my mouth. I’ve also noticed that the trend is moving away from the hype and going back to basics.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve taken on the epic task of finding the perfect burger (you can thank me later). Below is a list of places that came out tops. Not for their fancy décor, or overly huge meals. But simply for their honest to goodness, salt of the earth offerings that left me happily sated.
This new little place located on Jan Smuts Ave in Rosebank is the epitome of the good ole American classic. Offering only burgers, soft drinks and soon to feature frozen custard, BGR is my go to for a quick and delicious cheese burger. They use fresh hand formed patties, preservative free buns baked in house and locally sourced toppings. As soon as you take a bite you feel the softness of the fresh bun, while enjoying the taste of the pure beef pattie. The combination of the bun, pattie, cheese and grilled onions simply melts in your mouth, with their freshly cut fries being the perfect accompaniment. The décor is simply and the place is still a work in progress. But if you are in the area and in the mood for a good burger, then pop into BGR for a quick bite.
ROCO MAMA’S – SMASH BURGER
Fast becoming one of the best burger franchises in Joburg, Roco Mama’s hits all the spots when searching for a great burger joint. With stores opening up all over, joburgers can easily indulge in one of their famous smash burgers without going too far from home. I’ve only ever been to Roco Mama’s in Bedfordview, but I have heard rave reviews from just about every franchise. What I love about Roco Mama’s is that you are the master and creator of your burger, with toppings to suit every taste imaginable. With options like blue cheese dressing, Italian relish and saffron chilli chutney, you can build your burger to your hearts content and in no time be indulging in one of life’s most simple pleasures. Not only are the burgers amazing, but they also offer ribs and chicken wings that will knock you off your feet. The vibe is fun, the music upbeat and the service good. All in all a great spot to spend a couple of hours feeding your belly.
Although Joburgers have been treated to the cream of the crop when it comes to great restaurants and take outs, there are still a few classics that are close to my heart. Whether it’s because of childhood memories, or simply because they have stood the test of time, these two deserve a mention:
This South African classic has been around since 1967, with its first restaurant starting up in Durban. Since then this franchise has grown in leaps and bounds, and today it’s a many South Africans go to spot for a Saturday morning breakie, a lazy Sunday afternoon Sundae and of course for their never disappointing burgers. It has been a family tradition to stop at a Wimpy en route to our yearly holiday destination. And even now, with endless burger options available, I still find myself craving a good old Wimpy burger from time to time.
Another South African classic, operating for over 50 years now, offering the juiciest flame grilled, pure beef burgers. And who can deny that after a long day at work, with little energy and even less interest in cooking a meal, that a stop at your local Steers ordering one of their legendary King Steer burgers, chips and a coke, is a very good idea. Just one bite and I’m transported back to high school, where a Friday night spent at the mall was a sure thing and our first stop was always a Steers.
HOME MADE IS LEKKER TOO
Lastly, if you, like me, enjoy spending time in your kitchen coming up with something delicious, then give this recipe a try. It’s fail proof, quick and easy to make and may just leave your guests wondering what else you have up your master chef sleeve.
Bacon and Brie Burgers (serves four)
- 4 Pure Beef Burger Patties either grilled or fried (I love popping mine onto a braai for a few minutes)
- 4 of the Freshest, Softest Buns you can get your hands on
- A Round of Fresh Brie Cheese (sliced horizontally)
- Woolworths Caramelized Onion Relish
- A few Sprigs of Rocket
- Sliced Tomato
- Sweet Potato Fries
Simply arrange your buns on plates, add your juicy patties, top with slices of brie, a spoonful of caramelized onion, a sprig or two of rocket and a slices of fresh tomato. Serve with crispy sweet potato fries and a bottle or two of Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir and you have yourself a delicious, quick and easy summertime meal.