A burger is many things in the lives of people who love them. One, it's comfort food. Then, hunting for the newest, biggest, craziest burger in town is your favourite weekend activity. The biggest talent you possess is biting through one without the ingredients oozing out on the plate and on to your clothes. There's a burger for everything - first date, heartbreak, promotion, impossible targets. There's a burger for the several stages of your bank balance across the month.
So when someone decides to fool with a burger, you don't take to it kindly. Taking cue from Japan, where Burger King launched a Kuro (black) burger, some Indian eateries decided to launch their own version of coloured burgers.
So, with the fast food gods smiling over them, Barcelos, a South African eatery chain, ushered in the black burger, making India the third country to launch this bizarrely-hued burger. Alongside black, Barcelos introduced red and white burgers as well.
Monkey Bar soon launched a black burger, Global Chaos and Mumbai Myx in Mumbai also launched some coloured burgers.
I first headed to Monkey Bar in Vasant Kunj. Given the chain has done some interesting fusion recipes which actually taste good, who knows, a coloured burger may also taste great here, I thought.
However, my robust spirit of adventure sank a bit, when a waiter apprised me of the fate of the black burger. "Yeh burger serve nahin karte hain. Iska taste customer log ko pasand nahin aaya toh bandh kar diya (We don't serve the burger anymore. Customers didn't like its taste)," a waiter informed me, shuffling nervously.
So, I left for Barcelos, which has a outlet at Khan Market.
After hesitating for a while, the manager at Barcelos informed me that the black burger gets it colour from cacao powder mixed in the bun dough. The white burger had coconut milk in the bun and the red burger bun was made from beetroot juice among other things.
He also informed that the black burger is fairly popular among their patrons, thus lifting my spirits.
After spending a few moments wondering where my red burger was, I was told that the brick coloured bun was the 'red' burger. In fact, it looks exactly like any bun or pav, maybe a wee bit over done.
I tore off a tiny piece of the burger bun to see what it it tastes like. It's quite dry and tastes a bit of raw beetroot. However, on needs to dunk it in something before consuming it, it's that dry. When one takes a bite of the entire burger, there's no great difference in taste from regular brown burgers.
I picked up the white burger next, can't say without much trepidation. I mean, how often do you want to bite porcelain? Or whitewashed walls? The burger's chalky whiteness brings such unpalatable thoughts to mind but you have your inner hero to take the first bite. The good news is, it gets better from there.
The strong coconut flavour of the bread is actually quite refreshing, especially because slices of orange are slipped between the buns along with the patty and stuff. And like you know, coconut plus orange is always a win!
If you are wondering how that combination works with the meaty patty, you should have probably watched me polishing the whole thing. With the piri piri sauce inside, this one's a winner!
Finally, I prepared myself for the black burger. The problem with the dark colour in certain savouries is that, it looks burnt. For example, no one minds a blackish truffle cake at all, but when it's a burger, it just looks charred.
Unlike the Kuro burger, which had black cheese and sauce as well, the Barcelo's black black burger just has breads of that colour. I remember that the manager telling me that the colour was achieved by mixing cacao with the bun, so I am slightly reassured despite the colour.
First bite and frantic chewing later, I can taste chocolate. Actually, no, I imagined that. Because, not only can you not taste anything remotely chocolatey in the burger bun in isolation, with the rest of the stuff, it tastes like just any regular burger.
Now this was a downer. I was prepared to be either appalled or have my mind blown by the black burger. You know that feeling when your parents decided you are old enough to not get Christmas gifts anymore and told you Santa Claus doesn't exist and their gifting budget now covers EMIs for the new car in the family? Or when you watched the Fifty Shades movie and there wasn't half as much sex as in the book? That deflated feeling hits you.
Moral of the story: black goes perfectly with little dresses, not breads.
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