Given that Last week was the premier Nairobi Burger Festival, I thought it would be nice to talk about burgers. The sandwich of the late 19th and Early 20th century, had a ton of people claiming its invention. But it was mainstreamed soon after the first world war by companies like White Castle (Harold and Kumar fans Mpo?), and adapted later by larger companies later on in the 40’s including the giant, Mc’Donalds.
The basic idea is to have a bun, a patty, a few veggies, sauce, and maybe some nice cheese to go along with the burger.
As a chef, I dislike store bought patties, I feel like they lack the love that ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and my special burger spices (which is a family secret) has. Store bought patties are always disappointing. They always need more seasoning and they break easily if you are the type to fry your burgers. The one good thing about them is the time saving factor, otherwise they’d never make it on to anyone’s shopping list. But the Kago Burger, (my real name is Leon Kago just for those of you who don’t know) always leaves people doing an impression of Samuel L. Jackson saying, “Damn!”
Growing up, the burger spot was Steers, then they started using corned beef to make their burgers and corned beef is not the freshest beef out there. So my dad and I started scouting Nairobi for the best burger! Java tried but they’d always tinker with the thickness, and it would never taste the same. Sometimes there’s not enough pepper on the burger, other times its too salty so Java got locked out due to lack of consistency.
Later in my highschool days, my dad told me that he found the best burger in town, in Westlands. Right next to where the Steers used to be – Nairobi’s best burgers are served at a little burger joint called Burger Hut. I’m dead sure that you know where it is but you just can’t place it. And no it is not a combination of Burger King and Pizza Hut.
I know, it doesn’t look like much. However, your mom has told you not to judge a book by it’s cover. This is my go to burger joint in Nairobi. Its absolutely affordable (300-700 for a burger), service is quick, and they bake their own buns. They also have this sauce they put on their burgers which is to die for. One bite melts the flavours all together, and the burger simply disintegrates with every bite into an perfect balance of flavours. The zing from the sauce, the sweet of the tomato, the bitter of the lettuce, and the salt of the patty end up leaving you to crave another bite and another one. It is a crazy experience.
Also, for the people who have been to spots like Brew Bistro and News Cafe or, Seville Lounge, the burgers are great! I just wouldn’t pay 1000shs for a damn burger… I can buy mince meat for like 200 bob, use the stale bread to make breadcrumbs, buy an egg, get my spices in order, there’s always cheese in my fridge, and make an incredible patty and still have enough money to buy a couple of cold Bavarias.
Until Next #TastyTuesday! Cheers!