BY Kuheli Bhattacharya Rane
Last week we saw the crescendo of the tourist season in Goa; high on music festivals and all the madness and mayhem of the New Years Eve. We decided to head straight for the epicentre of the storm and visited a small but talked about restaurant/shack in Anjuna. For those not in the know, there are a few things which set the restaurants in this tourist stretch apart. They are temporary establishments mostly and are closed during the summer and monsoon times. They do not rely on traditional media for their popularity. They work on word of mouth and are handed over from one traveller to the next, sometimes via Facebook or trip advisor.
Most people at these places are on holiday, so do not expect the swift service of a weekday lunch/dinner like in the cities.
All the above qualities are exemplified in ‘Burger Factory’ at Anjuna. It also fulfils another factor which is only cash is accepted in most of these establishments.
Ambience: Started by Mayank, ‘Burger Factory’ is now in its third season in the sunny state. It is situated right on the road, while you head towards Anjuna beach. Alternately, come here via Google maps. A few plastic chairs, foldable wooden tables, a wall with the menu written out on it blackboard style, and a few funky graffiti on the wall done by visitors down the years. There isn’t much in terms of décor, but the ambience is in a large part made up by the people visiting here, Mumbai and Bangalore rub shoulders with Russia and Great Britain. Mayank may not be a Goan, but he has adopted the Anjuna way of life, bohemian, open, cheerful and what you see is what you get attitude.
Food: This is a niche place serving chicken/beef /vegetable patty burgers. The options are mind boggling. We went with the popular double cheddar beef and bacon burger, and the parmesan chicken bacon burger. All burgers come with a beetroot, aioli combination. We overheard quite a few people ordering the green chilly version as well. You can ask for extra toppings of bacon as well. The place was full when we arrived, and overflowing by the time we left, testament to the huge popularity of the place. Many of who stayed in a hotel close by opted for take away options since the seating is limited. We had a 40-minute wait for the burgers. It takes time to make the burgers. The test of a burger is in the bread which can either make or break this classic dish. Mayank has his secret recipe for bread buns which the local bakery bakes for him. Weighing just 100 gms, these buns look huge. Soft and springy, they do complete justice to the patty within. These burgers are more of a compact version, only a patty within. They had blended the meat and the spices, cheese and the coleslaw all into a very compact but extremely delicious patty. Generally while biting into the stacked burgers, half the filling tends to slip right out. Not here. Every bite full is bursting with the wholesome goodness of a well made albeit homely burger.
It’s served with fries, fashioned like potatoes wafers. They weren’t big on taste, and personally I love my French fries. But one of the things that I missed about a stacked burger is the crunch of crisp bacon which was missing in the Burger Factory version, the potato wafers when put within the burger makes up for a bit of the loss in texture.
To Mayank’s credit, I loved both the chicken as well as the red meat version. In most places, the chicken burgers are a poor second to the beef version, but both our patties were moist and packed with flavours.
If you are headed to the north, want to experience what the tourists visiting Goa are experiencing, or love a well made burger, head to Burger Factory. Don’t go hungry though, because the long wait and the wafting smells of rendering fat on a frying pan can make you even more ravenous.