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For the longest time, the only burgers Kolkata could call its own were those sold at regular confectionaries – an innocuous minced meat (usually chicken) patty and some soggy shredded lettuce shoved inside a limp bun with a stingy smear of mayo. The city has been craving the real deal for too long (more choices of meat, the frills, etc.). Finally, those days are gone, and now Kolkata has its very own burger scene (beyond chain outfits such as Irish House and Smoke House Deli) that it is proud of.
These are a few places that have tapped into the city’s hankerings for a good burger and they are delivering just that. These you have got to try.
Rubi’s Grill, a charming little eatery on Dover Lane, was perhaps the first place in the city to serve up burgers with character. Their signature Meat Lover’s Burger (loaded with bacon, ham and sausages) has been the talk of the town. But their Burger Grande takes things to a whole new level. This one has a giant minced-meat patty topped with grilled onions and mushrooms, a mound of barbeque chicken and an egg sunny-side up between the buns, and comes with a heap of fries and a spicy salsa.
Or head to The Wise Owl Steakhouse on Purnadas Road. A few months old, this rooftop steakhouse has earned rave reviews for their juicy steaks, but their selection of burgers is equally tempting. Ask for the Jacobean Beef Burger if you think big is beautiful. This beauty comes with a whopping half-pound fried beef patty topped with gouda and cheddar cheese, and some potato wedges on the side. Add some extra toppings of bacon and a fried egg to boost the drool quotient.
While The Wise Owl Steakhouse is a smart rooftop restaurant, Burger You (Kasba) looks like one of those unassuming, neighbourhood takeaway joints, except owners Mark (also the chef) and Patrick Biswas are dishing out some great burgers from here, the kind that drips fatty juices! There is the straightforward Cheesy Slim that has a quarter-pound beef patty topped with melted cheddar, mustard and grilled onions, or the flamboyant Morning Joe, which has toppings such as baked beans, bacon and fried eggs along with a quarter pound beef patty (or pork sausages). But if you want something different, try the Texan, a tall burger in which the beef patty is teamed with crisp onion rings, grilled onions and generous drizzles of barbecue sauce.
The Joint in Santoshpur has been praised for their pizzas, but their burgers are equally good (we hear their pizza and burger chefs are in constant competition). The 48-cover restaurant that started out as a small takeaway joint a couple of years ago has some good options on the menu. Their signature The Joint Specials – grilled minced meat (chicken, mutton or pork) patties topped with bacon, cheese and a fried egg – are especially popular. They also have a variety in which the minced chicken patty is generously stuffed with cheese that oozes out when you bite into it. And their grilled pork patties are loaded with bits of fried bacon.
The menu at La Maison des Délices, a quaint patisserie cum bistro, comprises a host of European and Mediterranean classics with an emphasis on French and Italian cuisine. While burgers are not the highlight of their menu, they do make a neat minced lamb burger – the Délices classic mutton burger. The subtly seasoned, shallow-fried minced meat patty is topped with grilled onions and classic cocktail sauce spiked with Tabasco and sweet paprika. The burger buns are made fresh in the in-house bakery. There is also a vegetable burger with mushrooms, cheese and caramelised onions. Purists might cringe, but this keeps the vegetarians happy.
An independent journalist based out of Calcutta and a dedicated food enthusiast, she writes mostly about food and travel, and has worked and written for publications India Today, The Telegraph, Live Mint as also Lonely Planet India’s website. She also loves to experiment in her kitchen and runs a food blog – allthatsdelicious.com. But mostly she eats, frets about how much she eats and then eats some more.