Sometimes a burger is just a burger. I was thinking this on my way to the Hard Rock Café “World Burger Tour” last week after the GLC was kindly invited to participate. After all let’s think about it – you dare not mess with the beef patty too much or you will end up with a rissole or a meatloaf. And the bun? Buns and sesame seeds are all very well but other than using sourdough you are not going to score too many points with your bun, bud.
The event was held in the Back Room facility of the Park Lane Hard Rock, just around the corner from the busy main entrance. It’s a handy little saloon with a bar, some rock/baroque décor and good views of the street. Once there I learned the premise of the world burger tour is this: Each Hard Rock café around the world caters to local tastes by having a local burger on the menu and every year these local burgers are reviewed and four are selected and sent on tour to all the other Hard Rock venues worldwide. It’s a brilliant marketing idea and a fine example of making something big out of something rather small.
So we had a menu of the most recent four entries as follows (note we had mini-burgers – not full sized): The new English burger which included Egg and Bacon in an attempt to put a full-English between your buns. Then a Colombian burger which sported some carefully inserted Plantain and suitably local sauce. This was followed by the Jambalaya burger from New Orleans – there’s a lot to choose from in Cajun cooking and this burger did a good job representing it. Finally the Korean Kimchi burger which included some of that pickled cabbage in the mix. Delicious.
Now back to the basic question – notwithstanding all these tasty local inserts – what can you do with a beef patty? It has to be said that the Hard Rock have clearly been at this a while and it shows. The beef patty used and presented in every case was of perfectly uniform beef minus those random and mysterious tough bits that show up in the supermarket variety – which I have always assumed included bits of the animal other than the beef. Not only is the patty really pure meat but, and this is the genius of the Hard Rock – they are always cooked perfectly – medium / rare with a pink just cooked interior and a perfectly dark broiled exterior. It is a fact that the caramelizing effect of burning the sugars in meat is what started early man incinerating his meals long ago by the campfire. It’s just too good – and we are still at it today, refined palette be dammed – some pleasures just cannot be denied us.
Highlight of the evening was the competition to see how long a very tiny woman could eat 4 very large full size burgers plus bun and fillings – 12 minutes flat! But I couldn’t watch. Food, even burgers, should be enjoyed, not turned into an exhibition of gluttony – my 10c anyway.
The best burger in my mind was undoubtedly the Jambalaya with the smoky Cajun flavours adding a lot of depth to the presentation. However next up might be the English as I have always been a little partial to some ham in my burger. My guest felt that the English Breakfast burger was just a ketchup squeeze away from perfection!
So for a chance to hear loud music, see famous memorabilia and hang with a Bud with a bud, head on down to the Hard Rock and have a famous burger from a faraway place you may never go to. But then again you just might, if their burger is this good.