The Balcony Cafe in Chennai has some of the best burgers in town!
Burgers and beer at noon — with no need to worry about a breathalyser after? You might say our lunch at The Balcony Cafe in Nungambakkam put us in high spirits recently. But this was only because our ‘Malt beer’ (malt syrup, Angostura bitters and chilled soda) tasted almost exactly like the real deal — frothy white foam et al. “We can even add some hops (the plant used in brewing beer) on request if a customer wants it to taste even closer to what they are used to,” says owner Arun Kumar, as we chug away.
Beet pink buns, for fun!
This comes paired with a degustation platter of five mini burgers with buns in bright colours of green and pink, made using natural colouring agents like broccoli and spinach juice and beets respectively. We jump right in — starting off with one filled with a slow-cooked beef shoulder — that by no means lets us down. Tender, flavourful, but not overpowering (you might want to opt for the Korean BBQ chicken for a stronger kick) — this bun is delicious, and not as messy to handle, given its miniature version. For those who like crunch with their patties, we recommend the fish and chip variant — which literally has crisp French fries on the inside of your burger, as opposed to waiting on the sidelines, by the ketchup. Vegetarians can look up the Broc ’n’ Roll (expect a patty of broccoli, peas and potato) oozing with the indulgence of melted cheddar.
Our personal favourite, however, is the Na Na Nando’s — inspired by the now-closed down chain in the city. The chicken chunks are succulent and saucy with peri peri and shout out vinegar-y flavour notes — that are spot on, quite like the original. So, it doesn’t take much guesswork to figure that Arun, who studied hospitality at Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, used to be a regular there.
Our burger platter, interestingly, is in stark contrast to the Bruce Lee poster on the wall — given that this 2,000 sq ft café also doubles up as Orange Wok. True to its name (The Balcony Cafe), there is a balcony outdoors with a smaller seating section which is breezy and pleasant, given our cloudy weather with spells of rain at the moment. “We’re planning to host some live music events here soon,” Arun informs us, as we attempt to digest all of those burgers with a quick walk around. This 31-year-old, also owns Bobacha, which might sound familiar if you are a fan of bubble tea.
Scanning the menu, we spot plenty of café staples including salads, small plates for those feeling peckish like nachos and cheesy fries, as well as larger plates with Chicken Parmigiana or Crumbed Coconut Prawns. But we find ourselves leaning toward a slew of all-day breakfast choices instead, when Arun, tells he is going to be expanding this menu soon, with plans to make breakfast available starting at 8 am, by next month. Enter lush, fluffy Japanese-style pancakes (courtesy the extra egg whites) with berry cream and Nutella. And later, creamy scrambled eggs with a sprinkle of paprika on a bed of mushrooms and grilled chicken sausages. The final touch for a dash of pizzazz is a zig-zag of orange bell pepper coulis on top. Our eggs went from ‘yum’ to ‘OMG’ in seconds.
Meal for two INR 500 ++.
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