Burger mania: Inspecting the 4 new burgers in town
Sara Elkamel, Monday 21 Jan 2013
Ahram Online gives you the low-down on Zamalek's four new creatively-designed burger eateries: Mince, Gourmet Burger, Burger Factory and Lido


In the graceful residential island of Zamalek, eateries are opening right and left. Seemingly unblemished by the economic crisis that pervades Egypt in its post-revolutionary turmoil, Zamalek is thriving and draws city dwellers to its countless (well, we could count them if you wanted to, obviously) coffee shops and restaurants.

Following the cupcake invasion in 2010, where Nola, Crumbs, and Sugar & Spice were fighting over sugar-addicts, there was a waffle coup and a café raid. Just when you think the island is hopelessly sweet-toothed, salad bars including Saladero and Good Cals appeared in 2012.

But the latest attack on Zamalek is carnivorous. Alongside the burgers already served on the menus of popular eateries such as Crave, Blackstone Bistro, Chili’s or the Marriot’s Roy’s Country Kitchen, four new burger joints have opened up in the past few months. Yes, four.

Determined to discover what all the fuss was about, this previously slender Ahram Online reporter tried the classic burger at Mince, Gourmet Burger, The Burger Factory, and Lido. Yes, all four of them.

Mince

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Mince, located on a quiet sidewalk on Ahmed Heshmat Street, has rallied quite a bit of hype since its launch last September. Its décor is hip and creative with a distinct diner feel; and there’s a choice of indoor and outdoor seating.

You know there’s mouth-watering taste, and there’s mouth-drying hunger. I was experiencing the latter, and so I waited impatiently for the burger to arrive. Well, spoiler alert, it wouldn’t arrive I would go pick it up outside. But let’s start at the beginning.

At least for Egyptian city dwellers, who like things comfortable (come on, we’ve earned it after having spent hours stuck in #CairoTraffic to actually get to the restaurant) the system you go through to get to the burger is a bit disorienting. You pay at the counter, and then wait for your order’s number to appear on a tiny screen on the wall, and that’s your queue to go pick it up at the outdoor counter. Every time the bell rings and the number changes, your heart beats a little bit faster. But for some reason, it was all a bit too confusing and I rushed towards the outdoor counter a few times and looked up at the screen at least seven times. Still, I guess that was the workout I needed to render the meal guilt-free.

Let’s talk about the burger. I had the regular cheeseburger with mushrooms, and it was a more that adequate reward to my long and winding wait. The meat had a perfectly juicy centre, yet it was slightly bland, and could use a pinch or too of salt and pepper. Yet the Swiss cheese and golden caramelised mushrooms drizzling on the burger added just the right among of flavour. For the experimentalist, Mince offers a range of toppings and cheeses that you can mix and match; anything from sliced avocadoes to grilled pineapple. Mince is a little too pricy though; I paid LE52 for a burger, fries and a coke.





Address


13 Ahmed Heshmat Street




Hours



Saturday - Wednesday 12noon - 1am

Thursday and Friday 12noon - 2am





Telephone

Delivery? Yes



0227361156





Internet



None





Smoking



Nonsmoking indoors, but
people can smoke in the outdoor area





Price range



LE110 – LE130 for two people









Gourmet Burger

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Located on a calm side road off Brazil Street, Gourmet Burger is disguised as a warehouse, with wooden chairs and barrels for tables. One wall is adorned with illustrations of meat, which is slightly disturbing, particularly because I am the only one at the tiny bistro.

As my burger descended the stairs I noticed that it is quite small. As I took my first bite a question popped into my head; where did I taste this before? A few more bites in and it hit me; it possessed an eerie resemblance to my grandmother's kofta. The meat was mixed with what tasted like parsley and coriander, which made it taste more homey but less of "burger."

The bread was delicious, soft with a crisp crust. But the end of my attack the poor thing was completely disemboweled. Curls of onion, tomato and lettuce were scattered across the plate.

I paid around LE30 for the burger and a soda, which is reasonable.





Address


12 Brazil Street




Hours



Every day 12pm - 12midnight





Telephone

Delivery? Yes



0227361834

Downtown, Zamalek, Dokki, Mohandessin, Garden City





Internet



None





Smoking



Small nonsmoking section





Price range



LE60 – LE80 for two people










Burger Factory

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These new burger places are creatively designed, I’ll give them that! The Burger Factory is nothing lavish, but it’s cozy and creative; it bears spray-painted walls and a mix of high and normal tables. Located within the closest proximity to Tahrir Square, this eatery clearly carried the spirit of revolution in its design. You are slightly surprised at the BBC world broadcast on the flat screen TV hanging on the wall; the atmosphere demands a tear-gassed Al Jazeera broadcast. A sink with the largest roll of toilet paper I’ve ever seen and a big bottle of Dettol is a nice and considerate touch.

But if you’re going to spray paint “Burger revolution” on the wall, you risk raising the bar too high. The burger was bleeding with grease, and the bread was soft, bland and inconsequential. But the meat was cooked well, and the Burger Factory sauce gave the sandwich a rich flavour.

The menu is original and varied, with a sushi burger option - don’t gag on your poor laptop, the name is merely referring to the wasabi mayo - an intriguing ingredient. There is also a range of desserts, including cheesecake, chocolate fondant, lemon mousse crunch, and an upside down apple pie. The burger alone cost LE30, so a full course would probably cost around LE70.





Address



114 26 July Street, on corner with Hassan Sabry Street





Hours



Sunday - Wednesday 12noon - 3:00am

Thursday - Saturday 12noon - 4:00am





Telephone

Delivery?
Coming soon



01001759085





Internet



Yes





Smoking



Nonsmoking





Price range



LE130 – LE150 for two people








Lido

##

The fourth day of burger hopping led me to Lido, the burger bar literally on the street of Shagaret El Dor.

Lido’s burgers are modeled after Zamalek’s Gezira Sporting Club burgers, which have been served for decades and loved by all its members.

These burgers are more modestly priced, you can eat a burger for LE 10, but all you get is the bun, the meat and a choice of Ketchup, mustard or Tehina­- a creative Gezira club creation. The burger is not laden with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, let alone Mince’s “grilled pineapple,” but that’s perhaps for the best, for it would be too messy to devour on the street. The meat is just the right amount of juicy and deliciously smoky, and a squirt of tehina is all it takes to give your taste buds a workout. Of course, only one burger is not enough (especially if you’ve built up a burger tolerance after four consecutive days of burger-dinners); and the menu also offers hotdogs, fries, ice cream and iced juice.

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