DISCLAIMER – VEGETARIANS AND CALORIE COUNTERS NEED NOT READ BEYOND THE DISCLAIMER.
Before I get on with the post, here is a longish excerpt from a book by Dean Koontz which has lead to this post:
“Contemporary culture fit Dylan O’Conner only about as well as a three-fingered glove, and here was one more place where the tailoring pinched. He believed that a burger joint ought to look like a joint, not like a surgery, not like a nursery with pictures of clowns and funny animals on the walls, not like a bamboo pavilion on a tropical island, not like a glossy plastic replica of a 1950s diner that never actually existed. If you were going to eat a charred cow smothered in cheese, with a side order of potato strips made as crisp as ancient papyrus by immersion in boiling oil, and if you were going to wash it all down with either satisfying quantities of icy beer or a milkshake containing the caloric equivalent of an entire roasted pig, then this fabulous consumption out to occur in an ambience that virtually screamed guilty pleasure, if not sin. The lighting should be low and warm. Surfaces should be dark – preferably old mahogany, tarnished brass, wine-colored upholstery. Music should be provided to soothe the carnivore: not the music that made your gorge rise in an elevator because it was played by musicians steeped in Prozac, but tunes that were as sensuous as the food – perhaps early rock and roll or big-band swing, or good country music about temptation and remorse and beloved dogs.”
I read this book couple of weeks back and since then I have been dreaming of just such a burger and a setting in which I can dig my teeth into the burger! But all we will find are the sterile environment of Mcdonald’s and the happy shiny kids behind the counter enusring that your burger is delivered within a min and the burger would taste just like any other burger at any other McDonald’s in the country. And yeah.. not to miss the toys inside the happy meal box and various promotions with all the kiddy movies and Ronald McDonald sitting outside.
In an effort to cater to Indian palate and mindset, McDonald’s have literally taken the meat out of the patty. Got to be cheap and value for money so that everybody is ‘lovin it’.
Now I have no complains against them. Crowds in every outlet justify their decesion. I was never a big fan of environment at McDonald’s or their burgers. My mind still goes back to what I would probably say is the best burger I have had in India. 1998 it was. I had gone for a workshop to Agra and we were staying at the Maurya Sheraton. They had burger on ‘all day menu’ for the workshop. Thick patty dripping in juices of the meat and cheese.. mmmm! All four days of the workshop I had two burgers twice a day and since then I have not come across another burger like that. Couple of times I had actually snuck away from the mundane activities of the workshop back to my room and ordered the burger and it was absolute heaven!
Closest probably was Burger King in one of my travels abroad but the ambience was pretty much the same as any assembly line unit.
Did some reading up on the net and found that the original concept started with the food that was prepared for Genghis Khan’s army while it was on the move. For detailed description and evolution please click on
By the way, the closest I have come to in terms of the patty minus the bread on top and bottom are the chapli kebabs I had during one crazy adventurous night in Peshawar. Yes, you read it right… in Peshawar. It was something to drool over. It had fortified us enough (there were five of us) to actually walk for 3 kms at 11 in the night in that city!
Also not to forget one hole in the wall in Pune during my post grad years. Not exactly a place for the hygiene conscious but hell!.. it served some awesome burgers… not the same as the one at Maurya Sheraton but good enough.
The point of this post is that I am sure there exists a consumer for just the kind of burgers and ambience as suggested in the excerpt from the book. People like me who dont want the fraud perpetrated by the so called ‘fast food places’. Would love a place where I can see the fired grill and the patties sizzling on the bed of skewers and the aroma filling up the place and invading the senses… IS ANYBODY LISTENING???
Readers of this post… why dont you contribute and write about your best burger experience? or maybe recommend places in India that serve the best burgers