ACHOLA ROSARIO’S TAKE ON THE NAIROBI BURGER WEEK
By Achola Rosario, Contributing Editor of www.ATCNews.org
(Posted 14th March 2021)
Habit is the enemy of adventure, because it informs that you already know what you want and therefore are not willing to try something new. Even the arrogant sound of it, I KNOW (I No), sounds like a negative in the heart of the creative. This is why Nike became so popular with their slogan Just Do It. I think I will create t-shirts that say Just Taste It.
I speak from experience, I am one of those people who orders the exact same thing each visit when I find what I like in a particular restaurant. This is why events such as Nairobi Burger Week that took place from Feb 26th to March 7th 2021 are important. Not only does it encourage you to try new eateries, but also the action of compare and contrast forces more mileage out of the humble burger. One gets to appreciate it for what it is, or decorate the hell out of it. This time, the offerings were more classic but very different in scope from each other. First up came Ballpoint Social Club in Village Market Gigiri, a riot of color from the start, tastefully aligning giant kitenge lampshades and mismatched sofas with state-of-the-art electronic games, black pool tables and an impressive mural depicting street life covering every inch of the wall. Target clientele is the German School teens across the street, college students and some ‘hip’ 30 somethings although one guy seemed a little too old and creepy to be haunting these parts. I hope they were not saying the same thing about me…
When the burgers came on two wooden paddles, I had ordered a classic cheese burger and a falafel burger, I was delighted to see that it came with a side of salad, green and purple lettuce, cucumber and thousand island dressing. I started with the cheese burger which was a good size and chunky patty with melted cheese, onion rings and thousand island dressing. The bread was some rather basic buns of the kind we used to take to school that crumble easily and the beef patty could have done with some more seasoning like garlic and herbs, but the burger was soft and juicy and did not fall apart which was a bonus. The falafel burger was surprisingly tasty, as a carnivore I always get surprised by tasty vegetarian food, but could have done with more sauce such as garlic and hummus mayonnaise for example in order to keep with the Arab theme. The Nairobi week offer was shs850 for meat and shs750 for a vegetarian burger ($7-8). Mustard was thankfully available because a burger isn’t a burger without it in my books, but they only had those annoying little ketchup sachets, purportedly as an anti-COVID measure. Personally, I think sanitizing the client at the entrance is good enough but that is just me.
Next came Grill Shack in Westgate Mall Westlands and once again they took me to school. The target market for this eatery is older males 35+ especially, and those who love their meat. The offer for burger week was TWO burgers (your choice of combination) for the price of shs1250 ($12). The burgers are flame-grilled in front of your eyes as you enter the restaurant. And they ask you how well done you want it. I opted for Medium Rare.
First, I sampled the cheeseburger. A revelation in itself, the bread was soft, chewy and aerated, tasted just like a croissant with sesame seeds generously scattered. Juice dripped down my hand and I had to lick it before it reached my elbow while simultaneously processing what was going on in my mouth. You would think that it was nothing out of the ordinary, just a cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, house sauce and some mustard, but complex layering of flavors that hit your tongue spoke of a chef lovingly basting the beef patty as he flame-grilled the already seasoned patty to moisture lock with the marinade.
And then I tried the House Burger. I died and went to Heaven.
Check out the video review below for a more accurate description of what I felt. I cannot find words suitable enough that would not come out with too much double-entendre.
Suffice to say, I am never enjoying an overcooked burger again. And neither should you.
Ballpoint Social Club:
To watch The F.O.M.O. Travel Show Episode 62: