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The Great Burger-Capade

The search for a good burger is a lot like looking for unicorns. A unicorn is a mythical beast that looks like a horse and has a single horn on its head. Everyone has a story about where it was last seen and a tale about how to find it. In legends, the unicorn never materializes but the hunt always begins anew.

So why the seemingly futile search for a burger? First, a delicious meal is always worth a journey – good food has helped my sanity more than anything in this world. Second, the hamburger is universal. Shanghai to Istanbul, Kigali to Lima, New York to Kampala – there is always a hamburger. In Cairo they will deliver a hamburger to your doorstep. In Uganda, a menu at Chicken Tonight or The Sheraton will have hamburgers listed. A good hamburger is a refuge the world over, and whether it reminds you of America, or Iguanas at 4am, the search for a burger is a search for comfort.

The burger has to be “good.” A really bad meal sinks your soul. The definition of good will change from person to person and culture to culture, but there are some basic considerations:

The Meat

The Bun

The Sides

The Toppings

Each of these represents an essential part of the meal. This monthly burger review will focus on these four rankings to determine the overall quality of the burger. Each ranking will be on a scale of 1-5.

Deciding on where to do the first review was difficult. After sampling burgers around Kampala for a while now, there has been a fair share of great hamburgers along the way. While the perfect burger still remains elusive, a few have come pretty close.

Le Chateau restaurant is in Le Petit Villages, a collection of shops and eateries on Ggaba Road. It’s been a staple for burgers in Kampala, back when their lunchtime burger was relatively inexpensive (the price of the lunch menu has increased dramatically in the past year). It was one of those meals where the client always knows what to expect. Though it may never equal up to the best of burgers, it is an investment that engenders confidence, something many restaurants fail to do. Consistency is always important, a dish you could trust equals far more than potential.

This is a series about finding the best, and sometimes that means setting a benchmark for what good means along with the realization that good isn’t quite great. Le Chateau had always been a stalwart ally, held a place of greatness for a long time. There is no better way to begin this tale of how to find a unicorn than to revisit an old friend.

Le Chateau, the restaurant, has two menus: the lunch (sometimes called the snack menu) and the dinner menu. The burger is on the lunch menu, so if you don’t see it at first, don’t worry, it’s there. There were originally two burgers, the Swiss burger and the regular burger. The only real difference, you guessed it, is the Swiss cheese.

Given that many have a proclivity for cheese, the Swiss option seemed the obvious choice this time around. After a short while the plate came out, good looking burger with a side of chips and salad. One bite proved to be a surprise, this burger was a lot better than expected. Not great, but pretty good. Well then my friend, perhaps we shall be seeing each other more…

The Meat- Really good, probably one of the better patties around. It was a juicy burger with a nice crispy outside. With a bit more flavor this would have been a 5.

4 out of 5

The Bun- This wasn’t great. The bun fell apart a little while eating. It was pretty dry. It took away more from the meal than added.

3 out of 5

The Sides- The chips, as usual, were great, but there just weren’t a lot of them.

3.5 out of 5

The Toppings- Lots of cheese, but not much else. It’s hard to give a high rating to toppings when there aren’t any options other than a kilo of Swiss.

3.5 out of 5

Total Score

The total score is……3.5! Above average with a really good patty, and confirmation that eating a burger here is a pretty sure bet.

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