Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Burger Night #3 Cafe Neo

The pursuit of the ultimate burger lead us to one of East London's most recent entrants into the restuarant market, Cafe Neo.  You'll find it above the bastion of burgers in Slummies, the Windmill... The telephone number is : 043 722 4531.
It was with interest that I arrived, given the ground-floor heritage in burgers, it could prove to be an interesting meal.

This month's dress up theme was Glamour.  After celebrating International Suit Up Day I resisted the temptation to Suiting Up, in favour of a shirt and tie... and jeans - its Burger Night after all. We saw some awesome committment from the 31 people that rocked up for the eating.  Well played Burger Night attendees.

Ironically, as I walked into the restuarant I spotted a table of suits... realising that they weren't part of our group, it became clear that we had made a major move upward in the social areena from last month's visit to Buccs.  Time would tell if Cafe Neo could unseat Buccs as the current title holder.

We were a big group.  The popularity of eating Hamburgers on a week night seems to have taken off, or maybe our friends just enjoy suiting up, or maybe there wasn't much on TV - whatever the case, we had 30+ attending, and for any restuarant that presents a problem.  We'd been assigned about a third of the floor space, but were dissappointed that our group had to split itself into four groups, tables in relatively short supply.

I opted for a beef burger, the original.  I did spot a couple of chicken burgers and housemate Nic put away a dagwood.  Well played Nic.

The food arrived without much delay - just enough time to become fully eager.  Our waiter, faced with a swarm of mobile patrons did fantastically to make sure everyone had a drink infront of them, and even remembered an hour and a half later that I'd ordered an Amstel - my empty long gone.  Well played Our-waiter.

The Burger?
Interesting point this... bear with me.  I've realised that being an impartial food reviewer is tricky - you experience your meal in the context of the restuarant you're in and then there's the compounding issue of price.  The burger wasn't what I was expecting, given the decor/atmosphere, but it was still good.  Very similar to the offering from Buccs, it was large and the pattie was well sized.  Plenty of garnish too.  More attractively presented and definitely not as messy as the bar.

The chips were on the thin side, not crispy - more in line with expectations.  Downstairs you get a punnet of artery busters, but the Cafe provided a more classy, manageable variety.  Portion could have been a little larger, but satisfactory on the whole.

Cafe Neo has a great vibe and the 20-something crowd only had good things to say about the atmosphere, decor and its inherent similarity to all things Cape Town.  Its upmarket, but casual - and you'll feel comfortable so long as you're wearing shoes and a clean shirt.  No small feat.  Pants advised.

This has been our most successful burger night s far.  The venue was great and we'll all be going back soon - Cafe Neo is definitely filling a niche, and doing it better than anyone else in town.

Final bill was R55 for a burger, Amstel + tip.