Burger King, which started its journey in Florida over 60 years ago, arrived in India about a year back. Burger King’s debut in New Delhi made India the 100th country for the hamburger giant. Now, the home of Whoppers is all set to start serving burger lovers in Hyderabad. Burger King India is stepping into the land of the Biryani with an outlet at the Forum Sujana mall, Kukatpally. It’s expected to soon have a presence at GVK and InOrbit mall.
Burger King India’s menu is distinctive from its international counterparts. It didn’t just tweak its dishes for the Indian palette, instead it created new dishes from the ground up to appeal to Indian customers. The result is an interesting fusion of tastes that’ll appeal to wide sections of the society. Burger King is a QSR that dishes out burgers starting from Rs. 35 in less than two minutes. So, it’s important that you temper expectations accordingly. Burger King’s burgers can’t be compared with gourmet burgers, and it shouldn’t be. That being said, there’s a lot to like in the menu.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of Indian flair in the menu. Besides the regular fries there’s the option of Cheesy Chicken Fries (spicy chicken keema and cheese) and Cheesy Italian Fries (olives, ketchup, and cheese). Both of these options were tasty and a good pick if you are bored of regular french fries. The most basic burger in the menu is Crispy Veg, which costs Rs. 35. The potato patty is spiced with various Indian spices, which made it a lot more interesting that I expected an entry level burger to be. Chicken Keema Crunch is another interesting creation that’s a very good VFM at Rs. 59. It doesn’t have a regular patty. Instead, it’s stuffed with cheese, spicy Chicken Keema, and crushed onion rings. Chicken Tandoor Grill burger comes in an elongated corn dusted bun with a nice mint mayo sauce. The Chicken used as patty is sourced from the leg of a chicken and flame grilled in traditional tandoori marinade. Even though Burger King is a fast-food restaurant, some of its signature dishes are flame grilled in the kitchen, instead of being simply heated in an oven. And this makes a world of difference. The Tandoor Grill burger delivers oodles of flavour at just Rs. 129.
The signature dishes of Burger King are its Whoppers. The Chicken Whopper is priced at Rs. 119 and the Mutton Whopper is priced at Rs. 169. The Whopper comes in a 5 inch seasame seed crusted bun. The patty, which is 100% meat, is once again flame grilled in the kitchen, which lends it a hint of smoky flavour. Both the Whoppers are good, but as expected, Mutton stole the show. However, I’d highly recommend opting for a double patty, since the flavour of a single patty is easily masked by the bread and the sauces. An extra patty will add Rs. 70 and Rs. 90 to the Chicken and the Mutton variants respectively.
There’s a lot on offer for vegetarians too – around 40% of the menu is vegetarian. That being said, I’ve never been a fan of veg burgers, and Burger King did little to change that. Nevetheless, Veg Chilli Cheese, which belongs to Burger King India’s “Melt” series of burgers, was pretty decent. These burgers use a specially processed cheese, which remains molten even as it cools down. The Veg Chilly Cheeseburger was spiced aggressively and paired nicely with the tangy flavour of jalapeño. The other variants available are Paneer Melt and Chicken Chilli Cheese.
The only items that Burger King India has adapted from its international menu are the XTRA Longs. These are 7 inch, submarine shaped burgers available as Mexican Veg (beans patty) and Chicken. Without the Indian tadka to spice them up, both of these burgers fell flat. If you are going to attempt to do Burgers the way they are done in the west, you have got to use better source of protein than beans and chicken. Without beef or bacon or even some steak sauce, what you have are seven-inch slabs of boredom.
Burger King also has a selection of drinks and desserts on the offer, but both of them are perhaps its weakest segments. Baring the Chocolate shake, the other beverages weren’t particularly impressive. The 180 degrees is a fun cup of ice cream mixed with oreos or gems that’s served upside down. However, beyond the presentation there’s not much that’s particularly surprising or impressive.
It’s difficult for fast food chains to server really good burgers in India, as practical considerations put some of the most interesting sources of protein beyond their grasp. Burger King India’s tactic of going ahead and aggressively embracing Indian flavours pays rich dividends. The fact that the signature burgers are flame grilled instead of simply being reheated also helps. Burger King’s menu might might annoy the purists, but I couldn’t help but enjoy it. What remains to be seen now is whether they can retain the consistency.