I visited GBC (The Great Burger Company) in Greenstone last week for dinner. The restaurant looks similar to a take-out joint or diner; simple tables and chairs inside and out, flat screens above a bright counter and behind it 4 guys working in the open kitchen flipping the burgers and making milkshakes and waffles – it’s casual, bright and fresh.
We’re greeted by a waitress and invited to take a seat; we’re given order forms and pencils and taken through the menu: a basic burger will cost you R49 and that gives you the choice of 150g patty (beef, lamb, chicken and veggie), choice of bun (seeded, plain, low GI and ciabatta) and any number of the free toppings (basic sauces, tomato, lettuce, pickles and red onion.) Then you can choose any optional extras you want at an extra cost: premium toppings and sides will cost you between about R7 and R20 and include bacon, various cheeses, guacamole, curly fires, sweet potato fries and onion strings. There are also 5 ready-made burger options to choose from if you don’t feel like getting creative.
In terms of a drinks menu there’s the usual soft drinks and milkshakes as well as a few entry-level wines by the glass, but in terms of beer they only supply craft beers (which I do find a bit tricky as the majority of South Africans going to a relaxed diner to have a burger probably won’t want to fork out extra cash for craft, craft beers also tend to be a lot richer than the usual SAB options and when paired with an indulgent burger can leave you feeling a little overstuffed.) I opted for a Naked Mexican (a lighter craft beer – which was delicious) and to eat, my partner and I ordered a make-it-yourself burger (beef patty on a low GI bun with tomato, gherkin, mayo, BBQ sauce, red onion, emmentaler and bacon) with sweet potato fries and a Great Mediterranean Burger from the ready-made burger menu (Lamb patty with tzatziki and feta on a ciabatta bun with lettuce, tomato and red onion.) with onion strings. We also ordered some curly cheese fries and jalapeño poppers.
The poppers were fantastic, oozing melted cheese and coated with an extremely light and crispy batter, they just hit the spot. The burgers were hit and miss though; the beef burger was absolutely delicious: thick, juicy and packed full of flavour, generous toppings and great tasting mayo, I almost inhaled it. The lamb burger patty was wonderful and the flavour combination worked really well, but the overly-dense ciabatta bun absorbed all of the tzatziki and much of the moisture from the feta, leaving it too dry and quite heavy – with a different bun the burger would be so much better, in my opinion, the ciabatta has to go. The sweet potato fries were soft inside with a light outer crunch – perfectly cooked, and the onion strings were seriously good; light batter, lightly fried, such a great alternative as a side. The cheesy fries were a bit too much for me along with my gargantuan burger and fries, but if you want a plate of fries covered in decadent melted cheese – they’re going to hit the spot.
We tried a milkshake and a waffle for dessert and they’re both really good; the milkshakes are thick and indulgent, made with soft serve and fluorescent flavourings that give you that real, old-school roadhouse feel, and the waffle was nicely crisped on the edges with a rich and bouncy consistency – it’s served with soft serve and syrup and is seriously appealing.
This is a great, casual, burger spot, but if I was looking for an ‘evening out’ I would opt for a restaurant with more service and ambience – it’s extremely simple and more of a quick in-and-out style diner, but, having said that, the burgers and quality offered are great–they also offer free delivery within 5 kms. In a nutshell GBC is rather similar to Rocomamas in terms of ambience and style, but with a more gourmet-slant to their burgers and burger patties.