Like a reckless Nissan GTR on the race track, the mercury in India seems to be accelerating at a dizzying pace these days. But has that stopped the Indian junta from enjoying their summers? Not in the least!
Summers in India are analogous to vacay time and in this country, the word “festival” literally drives people bananas. Being the smart cookies they are, food industry businesses deftly combine these two together in the run up to milking the proverbial cash cow that the Indian populace is.
Nearing the end of the summers when the din over the food festival frenzy is about to die, comes the grand daddy of all these festivals – Hard Rock Cafe’s World Burger Tour.
A two month long goliath of a burger festival, Hard Rock’s World Burger Tour kicks off today and goes on until the 31st of July .Phew! That’s way too many burgs down the road. But do I hear anybody complaining? No, I don’t think so!
So I recently attended the preview lunch for the World Burger Tour at the Hard Rock Cafe in Worli, Mumbai, and judging by the preview this looks like an event you simply cannot miss!
So an HRC is an HRC wherever you go and the dim lit ambiance is simply perfect to highlight the memorabilia that’s there on display. That being said, they’ve not refocused the place setting to scream burger fest at you and the little tent cards and standees do a good enough job telling you what’s in store.
That little element of quirk and the casual conversational touch the staff has towards the patrons has been HRCs signature element for quite a while now, and every time you end up talking to the staff it’s just like talking to an old friend. I absolutely love that about them.
Coming to the main element of the world burger tour – the burgers. The world burger tour in India is showcasing 8 signature burgers splitting them equally into vegetarian and no-vegetarian variants.
The vegetarian burgers include – Mediterranean Veg Burger, Lebanese Veg Burger, Caribbean Veg Burger, and Mexican Quesadilla Veg Burger.
MEDITERRANEAN VEG BURGER – A mildly spiced patty made of slow roasted Mediterranean vegetables that is dolled up on the bun with a fancy looking mango aioli and of course, the generous helping of cheddar.
Did I like this? The roasted vegetable patty was a doozy in terms of the texture. The patty simply seemed to crumble away at even the slightest touch. It tasted pretty ok, if you’re a beetroot person and the slight bit of char from the grill could be felt in the aftertaste. I absolutely loved the mango aioli and it brought a creamy finish to the spiciness of the burger patty.
Would I recommend it? Might not!
LEBANESE VEG BURGER – A larger than average falafel was used as the burger patty and was placed on a bed of lettuce, tomato, and cheddar. With a garlic aioli and hummus sauce as condiments for the entire construct.
Did I like this? Absolutely! The falafel was slightly softer than its usual self but I totally loved it. While I was totally expecting the garlic aioli to go well with the falafel patty, I was surprised how well the hummus sauce complemented the aioli and the patty.
Would I recommend it? Most certainly!
CARIBBEAN VEG BURGER – Although the patty was a tad bit beanier than it should have been, I thoroughly enjoyed the burger. For once the jerk spices were kept in control and managed to build the heat without causing a burn on your palette. I didn’t quite get the quinoa relish though, seemed like unnecessary innovation to me.
Would I recommend it? Worth a shot!
The non vegetarian burgers include – Istanbul Kafta Chicken Burger, Italian Chicken Burger, Indian Tandoori Chicken Burger, Miami Cuban Beef Burger.
ISTANBUL KAFTA CHICKEN BURGER – A Turkish kafta (kebab) inspired patty with a typical shawarma spice mix to liven things up a bit. The construct was quite similar to the Lebanese Falafel Burger although the kafta patty was way more succulent and richer in taste (quite obviously).
The only sad part was that the sautéed onion in the burger wasn’t caramelised properly and failed to balance the feta’s saltiness, making you reach for that glass of water far too many times while eating.
Would I recommend it? I’d shave off some of the feta, but I would definitely try this again!
INDIAN TANDOORI CHICKEN BURGER – A mince patty marinated in tandoori spices and grilled to succulent perfection. The spiciness and tang of the marinade was perfectly balanced by the cucumber and mint mayonnaise, allowing you to savour the spice without having a spice burn.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely, this cannot be missed!
ITALIAN CHICKEN BURGER – A slightly over herby mince patty that was partially saved by the wonderfully balanced sundried tomato aioli. A touch of difference was the panko crusted cheese and it complemented the Italian relish perfectly well. While most of my co-diners really enjoyed this burger, it was a little too herby for me, bordering on bitter.
Would I recommend it? I am equivocal on this burger. I wouldn’t stake my life on it but I wouldn’t say no to it either!
MIAMI CUBAN BURGER – A 6 oz beef patty infused with Cuban spices (I don’t really what they are). Served in the simplest form a burger can be served, with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheddar cheese. This burger is a delicious testimony to the adage – Beauty in simplicity. The patty was medium cooked and had a very mild ring of char on the outside. The no frills burger simply brought out the best of the ingredients and the meat.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely! For me this was the best burger from the World Burger Tour menu.
The burgers were also accompanied by an assortment of cocktails created specifically for the World Burger Tour.
EL MATADOR – Basically, a strawberry mojito topped up with a measure of beer. The beer being light stays on top of the glass and helps cut out a bit of the sharpness from the white rum, which is a nice thing for new drinkers.
Other than that, just your everyday strawberry mojito!
ALL JACKED UP – If only spiced rum and honey weren’t awesome enough, the HRC folks have gone ahead and added a measure of Jim Beam to it. Topped off with pineapple juice, this drink is quite a potent concoction and not for the weak bellied souls.
WATERMELON HOEDOWN – Again, a simple concoction of vodka, watermelon, and lemon juice, albeit topped with beer. A well balanced cocktail that combines sweet, sour, and bitter elements in the right balance, except that the beer sort of disintegrates the watermelon juice a bit which looks slightly unappealing.
MELON PALOOZA – Someone’s worked quite hard in developing this recipe and if I’m to be the judge, that hard work’s paid off. Everyone knows how well Bacardi coconut pairs with pineapple juice, but throwing in some Midori into the mix was a sublime touch because the flavours just balance each other so well. The honeydew sweetness of the midori balances the sharpness of the coconut rum and the Bacardi white really well. I thought this was the best cocktail by far on the preview menu.
CITRUS SUMMER SHANDY – Orange shandies have become quite common these days but adding the hard to find Bacardi Orange to the mix was an amazing idea. It somehow seemed to wake the lazy orange shandy up and kick up the party by a couple of notches. Though I felt the passion fruit syrup was totally out of place. Still, loved it!
SWEET N FIERY – Everything about this concoction was spicy. From the pepper vodka to the ginormous jalapeno pepper plonked into the drink. I loved how the curacao and the lemonade worked with the spices although the ginger was a little too much for me. But this was a very well constructed drink both in terms of how the elements were layered and how it tasted.
With such a wide assortment to try from and of course their regular a la carte menu running in parallel, this is a burger lover’s dream come true. In my opinion the world burger tour is certainly something that’s not to be missed and the fact that it runs right until the end of July, gives you ample room to belly up for the challenge and take down some of these bad boys on their own turf.
Do check it out!