In search of the perfect burger, we ditched the regular commercial burger spots and tried some peculiar restaurants with unusual burger recipes. Join us on our taste-test adventure!
We heard a good burger should be a thing of beauty, craftsmanship, and maybe...magic. Here at Pulse we believe that a good burger — the perfect burger — should be rated based on a number of things: flavour, juiciness, bun quality, value and uniqueness. It should leave you satisfied to the point of speechlessness, with no doubt in your mind that you'll be returning for another bite pretty soon. It should leave you wishing you could replicate the same at home, but the gag is, a good burger should be tough to replicate — an original piece of design.
There are a number of popular commercial burger spots in town. If you're asked where your favourite burger spot is and why, we can take a pretty good guess on where it would be and the reasons might not be as substantial. Let's just attribute this to the high demand for burgers at these spots. Johnny Rockets, for example, opened its Lagos franchise in 2012 and was a hit back-to-back with their wide variety of highly-priced burgers, but lately, customers have said, "they fell off" and described the burgers as "not it". Not to talk of the pricing, which is actually the basic range for most burgers in town. In contrast, Chicken Republic, known for its cheap and filling crunchy chicken burger, does not make a bad burger per se, but is not exactly right for this review.
To avoid all that wahala, we decided to skip the regular spots people are used to and try out some "upscale" restaurants who claim to be big burger contenders.
If you're reading this review, you're already in big trouble. Why? Because when next you eat a burger, you're going to notice all the tiny details — how soft or crunchy the caramelised onions are, the extent to which the beef is done, sloppiness, or how full and filling it is. And the fries. Because what's a good burger without fries?
To be fair, one would be joking if they said they covered all the burger restaurants in the mega-city that is Lagos, so we admit this review is a bit incomplete since the burger spots here are on the Lagos Island, but keep your suggestions coming!
Let's get down to it — who makes the best burgers in Lagos?
Address: 2 Olawale Daodu Road, Off Kingsway Road, Ikoyi
Burger: Ultimate Burger
Meat: Beef and shredded barbecue Chicken
Samantha's Bistro and Grill is a cute, cosy space with a spontaneous kitchen and a chalkboard menu. Depending on how you want your food, there are normal tables and chairs, as well as comfortable sofas to let down your hair a little bit and read a book. Did we mention it also doubles as a bookstore? Safe to say, the ambiance was quite right.
Down to the menu, Sam's Bistro boasts of a four page menu for burgers alone! After ordering, there was a long wait before the burger finally arrived to waiting stomachs. It looked delicious, because we eat with our eyes first. The burger itself was served on a slab with a stick right through the middle, which kind of made the burger difficult to manipulate at first. It was served with a side of fries, of course, homemade ketchup and sriracha* sauce.
The burger had the essentials — sticky cheese, tomatoes, salad, chili — with some surprises like lardon bacon and avocado. There was something unique about the taste of the burger, but the chef was being so secretive so no points (kidding). The fries were sort of bland but were slim, crunchy and soft enough. The only downside to this burger was that though it was full (which can be a good thing), the bun wasn't big enough to cover up so it got very sloppy with lots of napkins needed.
All in all, it was a good and filling burger, and Sam's Bistro has definitely gained a customer from Pulse Lifestyle.
Bun Quality: 4/10
Address: Block 26, Plot 10 Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1 105102, Lekki
Burger: The Eatalian
Meat: Medium well beef
The Harvest's name precedes it. The rustic vibes and loud music might have you thinking you're having lunch at a luxurious ranch, and in a way, you are. The best seats are by the indoor pool, the bar or by the windows (don't say we never did anything for you). Either way, get comfortable because you might have to wait long for your burger.
This burger consists of roasted tomatoes, caramelised onions, mozzarella cheese, tomato aioli* and a side of fries. Don't let the simplicity of the burger deceive you though, it packs one hell of a punch! Their "sauce of a thousand seas" is so delicious, it might have you dreaming about the burger, days later. The meat was accurately cooked, juicy, especially coupled with the perfectly caramelised onions. No sloppiness here — the quality of the bun was great too!
It might have been smaller than usual though, but nonetheless filling. The downside were definitely the fries. We might not be able to describe what they were going for here but they were doing... something. The fries were hardly remarkable, chunky, probably to make up for the burger, and were fried with the potato skin. Maybe that's how it's done in "Eataly"...
Bun Quality: 9/10
Address: 22B Musa Yar' Adua St, Victoria Island, Lagos
Burger: La Brioche Burger
Meat: Medium well sirloin patty
La Brioche is more than meets the eye — cute stop at the corner of the street popular for its pastries but serves a mean American Burger. Packed with the juicy flat top sirloin patty, lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickle, sticky cheese and bacon, this burger truly looked like a masterpiece.
The fries... oh the fries! We cannot sing the praises enough! Crispy enough, salty with a taste we can guarantee you haven't had anywhere else, and such a perfect texture that makes us forgive the fact that the burger was very sloppy. Is there a concept like too juicy? The American style of burger packs a lot of meat and rightfully so, but the wet vegetables and cheese (lots of cheese) made it a struggle to hold everything together. It was tasty though, especially since there's no chef but the kitchen is run by a cute couple who are nice enough to converse with their customers.
We'd like to point out that for the price, the La Brioche burger is very full and filling, and will give you a feeling of your money's worth. Would we go back? Definitely.
Did we mention the fries?
Bun Quality: 6/10
Uniqueness: 10/10 (extra points for the fries)
Address: 9 Eletu Ogabi St, Victoria Island 101001, Lagos
Burger: The Burger
Meat: Beef Patty, medium well
R.S.V.P is a popular upscale restaurant hidden on the streets of Victoria Island known for good food and orgasmic desert. The burger consists of a beef patty served with tomato relish, not-so-caramelised onions and Gruyere cheese with a side of fries.
Most of the ingredients are imported from Australia, including the beef, which accounts for the high price. The burger was juicy, and salty in a good way, but the Medium Well order wasn't quite right, as there was still a bit of blood in the meat.
The fries though, were bland and too crunchy, so a complete no-no. It was filling though, but it is highly unlikely that it will leave you awake at night staring into space and craving.
Bun Quality: 7/10
So, who do you think is our favourite so far and who do you think makes the best burgers in Lagos?
*Sriracha sauce is hot sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.
*Tomato aioli is a tomato and mayonnaise mix often used as a dip.