This bun stays in the oven
As healthy eating gains currency, chefs keep up by serving bread-less treats. For World Hamburger Month, tuck into the best in town
Oh! So, it's not 'news' news," is a response we often cope with when we tell people we write about food. But if you think about it, food trends are a reflection of the larger human consciousness. And that's why there's the saying that you are what you eat. The interest in healthy food and clean eating seems to be at its peak at the moment, and that follows from a larger philosophy that's manifesting itself in all walks of life — slow fashion, responsible travel, zero-waste kitchens... you get the drift.
This has now found its way into the unlikely territory of fast food, too. Restaurants and chefs are being prompted to realign their thinking to accommodate these demands. And what you're left with is a healthy version of what has always been among the unhealthiest of dishes — burgers. Now, city eateries are whipping up bun-less burgers or offering patrons the choice to opt out of bread.
"There has been an increase in requests from guests who are on specific low-carb, low-sugar, high protein or keto diets, or have health issues or allergies. So, we decided to re-imagine our burgers," says chef and brand head at Smoke House Deli, Jaydeep Mukherjee. The head chef at Jamjar Diner, Sandeep Dalvi, echoes this while speaking about their new healthy menu, which incorporates trending health regimens.
"Chefs around the world are striving to make healthy food more appealing. We created bun-less gourmet burgers because a regular burger bun has approximately 21 grams of carbs. By replacing it with lettuce, we manage to cut the carbs by a whopping 95 per cent," he explains. In the same breath, Hitesh Shanbhag, sous chef at The Good Wife, tells us, "One of the main advantages of a bun-less burger is that it has fewer carbohydrates, which helps you keep your weight and blood-sugar levels under check."
Khushbu Thadani, nutritionist and life coach behind Mumbai-based wellness brand K Weigh, confirms this when she says, "There are various reasons why people are shying away from bread, like intolerance to its gluten component. But ultimately, it comes down to consumer responsibility. I wouldn't categorise bread as good or bad, but having the option means we can make choices that suit our diet." She adds that bun-less burgers are not necessarily always the right choice.
"You have to balance it out. If you have a strong gut or a person who generally eats healthy, it's okay to treat yourself to a regular burger. But if you've had pancakes for breakfast and pasta for lunch, and are contemplating eating a burger for dinner, it might be wise to stay away from bread." This World Hamburger Month, here's where you can try guilt-free burgers, whether you are a health freak or just a foodie looking to try new things.
The bacon of hope
A favourite at this eatery, the baconnator (R520) is a buff burger wrapped with oak smoked bacon, served with gherkins and baconnaise. "Buff and bacon are a perfect match and the pickled gherkins cleanse the palate and balance the patty's richness," Mukherjee says about the dish.
At Smoke House Deli (all outlets).
Time 11 am to 12.30 am
Call 9152017980 (Pali Hill)
Fitter with fritter
"Customer demand for healthy and tasty food prompted us to introduce this bun-less burger," says Subhash Shirke, chef at this gastropub, while speaking about the bun-less chickpea fritter variant (R575), which comprises hummus, pickled vegetables, lettuce, pine nuts and olive oil.
At Woodside Inn,Bhau Tatoba Toraskar Marg, Andheri West.
Time 11.30 am to 1 am
Keeping things open
"Instead of using lean meat, we use tenderloin, to which we add egg yolk, mustard and animal fat. Since the overall fattiness is higher than a typical burger, the flavours are enhanced," says Shanbhag while describing the BLT burger (Rs 525).
At The Good Wife,
The Capital, Block G, BKC.
Time 12 pm to 1 am
The beetroot quinoa bun-less patty (R499) is a healthy treat topped with a saffron-infused yogurt dip and accompanied by a salad and paprika wedges. "The burger patty is oven grilled with minimum use of fat and the yoghurt sauce helps marry the flavours," shares chef Jerson Fernandes.
At Jeon, Hotel Sea Princess, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu.
Time 24 hours
Lettuce have fun
Speaking about the keto tenderloin bacon cheeseburger (R480), which comes with a lettuce wrap at this diner, chef Dalvi tells us, "The juicy tenderloin meat complements the bacon and the melting cheddar cheese, which has a sharp taste. The hot basil aioli adds creaminess and spice to the dish."
At Jamjar Diner (Bandra and Versova).
Time 9 am to 1 am
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