Saturday, November 25, 2017

Frank Bar & Burgers (Sainte-Marie-Sur-Semois, Belgium)

14, rue de la gare, Sainte-Marie-Sur-Semois, 6740 Luxembourg, Belgium

Frank Bar & Burgers, formerly Frank Frites & Burgers, is a highly acclaimed  friterie and restaurant in a small town in Wallonie. It serves a whole number of original burgers and for the rest just fries - no usual Belgian snacks.

I get a bacon burger (€9.50), which comes with fries, sauce, and a small salad. The fries are very tasty but a bit too tough on the outside. The burger is prepared on the griddle and is real ground beef, on a very thick bun. It’s good, but the bread is too dominant.

VERDICT: 86/100
Good but too dependent upon the real burgers, which are no longer that special in Belgium.

Uulits Tänavargurmee (Tallinn, Estonia)

Soo tn 1B/6, Tallinn 10414, Estonia

Uulits Tänavargurmee is a hip and modern upscale burger place with two locations in Tallinn. Operated by real chefs, it has a wide variety of original, gourmet burgers - not classic US varieties - as well as salads and wraps. Its sides are mainly various versions of potato wedges. Unfortunately, the hipster inside, including swing-seats, comes with irritating hip-hop music in the background.

I get the Chicken Burger (€7.90), which is grilled. The brioche bun is a bit too dry, the grilled chicken thin but nice, but the sandwich is drenched in too much herbal mayo and pesto.

VERDICT: 82/100
Maybe the burgers are better, but they put far too many sauces on the pricey sandwich.

Fafa's (Helsinki, Finland)

Kauppakeskus, Citycenter, Citykäytävä, 00100 Helsinki, Finland


Fafa’s is a Finnish chain of high-quality falafel restaurants with more than 10 locations in Finland, mostly in and around Helsinki. It serves a broad variety of vegan, vegetarian, and meat pitas as well as mezes and salads, most built around falafel, humus, and kebabs. Prices are pretty steep, as is usual in Finland.


I get the most basic Falafel & Humus (€8.90), which comes with 4 or 5 well-prepared falafel balls, humus, matbuha, tomato, pickles, lettuce, cucumber,  cabbage, tahini and parsley, all on a big gluten-free pita. I top it with spicy red sauce, which makes it all even better. It tastes fresh and pretty authentic.

VERDICT: 90/100
Good falafel, big sandwich.

Naughty Brgr (Helsinki, Finland)

Lönnrotinkatu 13, 00120 Helsinki, Finland

Naughty Brgr is a hip new burger restaurant chain, founded by a Top Chef winner, which currently has three locations in Finland. It serves several types of burgers, mostly based on American favorites, available with 1 to 3 parties. There is also a vegan “burger” option. Sides are mostly fries and sweet potato fries.

I get a Bacon & Jalapeño Burger (€12), which comes with a 180gr perfectly prepared (medium) patty, really crispy bacon, pickled jalapeños, lettuce, mustard and spicy ketchup on a fresh slightly toasted bun. Absolutely delicious! My Pimped Fries (€4.90) are thin fries covered with hot sauce, scallions, crispy fried onions and thinly sliced fresh jalapeños. No ingredient is particularly good, but together it is a great binge.

VERDICT: 94/100
One of best burgers I ever had. Sides ok. But pricey (even for Helsinki).

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (London, UK)

102 Baker Street, London W1U 6 TL, UK

Gourmet Burger Kitchen is one of the many upscale burger chains that have emerged in London in the past decade. Founded by New Zealanders in 2001, GBK has been bought and sold by various big restaurant companies, who have now created some 60 locations cross the UK. While the main thing are big burgers, they also sell fancy snacks – like Haloummi bites – and chicken, salads, shakes, etc. The burgers can be made with beef, bison, lamb, or veggie patty.

I get the Bourbon Street (£8.95), which is a mustard grilled beef patty that comes with jalapenos, bourbon glazed mushrooms, sriracha mayo, salad (I ask for no mature Cheddar). The burger looks impressive: the bun is big but fresh and therefore not overpowering, the patty is thick and perfectly grilled (medium), and the various toppings give it a good kick. One of the best burgers I have ever eaten! I also get a side of Chunky Fries (£3.30) with Garlic Mayo (£1.25). The fries are thick and tasty, but a bit lukewarm, while the garlic mayo is creamy and thick, but far too expensive.

VERDICT: 95/100
Bit too expensive, but exceptional quality.

Woody Grill (London, UK)

1 Uxbridge Rd, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 8LJ, United Kingdom

Woody Grill is a London-based chain of “Turkish restaurants” with currently six locations. I visit the one in Shepherd’s Bush, which is a relatively small kebab restaurant that has both two skewers (chicken and lamb) and a stone grill for freshly made kebabs. It has a good offer of kebabs and shawarma.

I get a Lamb Shawarma (£5), which comes in a wrap. The meat is actually lamb and tastes good (not too chewy), the vegetables (cabbage and salad) are fresh and the sauces tasty. Overall a very good shawarma sandwich.

VERDICT: 87/100
Good and plenty

Leon (London, UK)

Western Concourse, King's Cross Station, London N1C 4AH, United Kingdom

Leon is a relatively new chain, founded in 2004, which has a growing number of franchises, almost all in London, but also in Birmingham, Oxford and Utrecht (Netherlands). They serves “natural fast food,” which mostly consists of exotic lunchboxes of rice and noodle dishes but also some sandwiches. I visit the small place in King's Cross station.

I get the Korean Burger (£5.75), which are big chunks of grilled chicken with shredded cabbage and pickles on a burger bun covered with a slightly spicy sauce. Overall not bad at all, as the chicken is moist and the bun not too dry, but could have been a bit spicier.

VERDICT: 86/100
Interesting chicken sandwich, which could make you feel healthy.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Daily (Potsdam, Germany)

Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 31, 14467 Potsdam, Germany

Daily is a new, self-declared “trendy” restaurant in downtown Potsdam, which serves burgers, coffee, and many other things, including ice cream – which can be ordered from outside in a special stand. I get two scoops (€2.80): hazelnut and limette. Both are remarkably bland and mainly creamy. At a certain point in time I couldn’t even distinguish the two anymore.

VERDICT: 74/100
Mediocre. Hope the food is better.

First Kebab (Potsdam, Germany)

Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 99, 14467 Potsdam, Germany

Around since 1996 First Kebab mainly serves Dinner kebab, in wraps or Turkish bread, as well as falafel etc. Nothing particularly special, they have two skewers: chicken and “lamb” – although they do offer whole wheat bread.

I get a regular Döner Kebab (3.50) with garlic sauce, onion, tomato, cucumber and some spicy flakes. the bread is a bit too crispy and there could have been more meat on it, but overall it tastes pretty good.

VERDICT: 85/100
Pretty good Döner.