The modern Hamburger is believed to be an American invention inspired by the "Hamburg steak" which sailors brought with them from Germany - a type of meatball, which was popular in this European port city. With a steady rise in the amount of 'gourmet burgers' that appear on restaurant menu's lately, the days of bland patties and soggy tomato on stale bread rolls, fortunately seem to be over. But what makes a good burger? In my opinion the patty - preferably medium rare and flavourful - probably plays the most pivotal role, although various other ingredients are essential too. One that should definitely not be undervalued, is the hamburger roll: it should be fresh and soft but sturdy enough to support the patty and it's trimmings, and be topped with lightly toasted sesame seeds. And then there's the toppings which can include anything from the classic onion rings and tomato sauce, to chutney, mushrooms, guacamole, sour cream, bacon or a variety of cheeses. In Cape Town, the gourmet burger is almost enjoying celebrity status and can even be found on menus across the city.
At the quirky Royale in Long Street, a wide variety of gourmet burgers are served in such inspiring variations as ostrich patties with beetroot relish, chicken breast with brie and cranberries, or even the plain 'Royale' with caramelised onions and garlic aioli. The house speciality of sweet potato chips served with sour cream and chili jam adds a delicious twist. The meanest burger on the menu at the trendy Cafe Caprice in Camps Bay, is also called a 'Royale', but here it's done with bacon, cheddar, chilli and onion rings - with an added bonus of consistently good looking clientèle and beautiful sunsets. Opposite the swishy Metropole hotel, in lower Long Street, is the retro but sleek Gourmet Burger where the name says it all.
And it's the perfect spot to sit and watch Long Street's cosmopolitan inhabitants stroll by. In the heart of De Waterkant village in Greenpoint, the cosy Cafe Manhattan serves a deliciously straightforward 'skyscraper' cheese burger, while in downtown Sea Point, Saul's Saloon boast the biggest burgers in town. Not Cape Town's most gourmet burger.
and probably best enjoyed in the early hours of the morning, when your stomach desperately needs something to absorb those numerous beers. But if it's a classic burger you're after, don't despair, they are still around. At the popular Spur steak ranches deliciously smoky char-grilled beef patties accompanied by onion rings and excellent fries, is served with astonishing consistency throughout the country.
Whether you're an adventurous foodie or simply ravenous after a long day's sightseeing, the delicious array of gourmet burger's in Cape Town will surely satisfy your hunger. .
By: Kobus van der Merwe