Elvis didn’t eat quiche before banging seven bells out of Linda Lovelace. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t take a bite from a Big Kahuna pizza before spraying lead into a feckless drug trafficker (SAY WHAT again! And I dare you, I double dare you motherfucker!). And, Mohamad Ali didn’t squander his fortune launching a chain of salad bars.
No, the object of their epicurean affection was a beef burger. There’s no denying it, burgers are a man’s food.
Gripping a fat hamburger in two hands, taking a colossal bite of body-heat flesh and washing it down with a slug of cold beer, conjures a carnal satisfaction you simply don’t get from dipping carrots in humus.
Ever since Genghis Khan’s horsemen pillaged their way into Europe carrying the first minced meat, men have gathered around open fires to debate the composition of the perfect burger.
So, it was, I gathered some men. We left our womenfolk and white collars at the door and set out to test the self-proclaimed declaration of the #bestburgersinhk.
Despite the slow creep into artisanship, the burger remains reassuringly fad-free. On the night of our visit to Electric Ave we had the option of one patty or two and Cheddar or Stilton. We also had the option of Golden Ale or IPA and rosemary fries or bone marrow chips. I went for two, Stilton, Golden ale and rosemary fries (in a crushing disappointment, the bone marrow chips had sold out).
The fries and beer both arrived very quickly. Both were wonderfully flavoursome and we had finished both before the burgers had time to arrive. Which gave us some time to admire the décor.
Electric Ave recently reopened in an old Italian restaurant on Queens Road West. The checked table clothes, Florentine landscapes and wicker baskets of chianti may now be in the skip, but the yesteryear Italian fittings remain. The faux-brick décor will probably incite rage in the Instagram Red Guard, but we were more than content in our surroundings.
The burgers really are a labour of love. Anyone who follows Electric Ave on Facebook will know that Rob, the owner, wears his heart on his sleeve and considers every tiny aspect of the burger. The meat was imported British 21 day aged prime beef. A trio of homemade condiments were rich, fruity and well balanced and the bun was a rare example of tolerable Hong Kong bread.
However, squashing the burger was like wringing a sodden Cormorant that had been caught in an oil slick. The juice was seductively slippery and the Stilton – a man’s cheese if ever there was one – was sufficiently melted as to imbue the grease with a tasty farmyard pungency.
The inability to hold a burger together is a damning indictment on one’s masculinity. A dismantled burger is a sign of a mollycoddled, sexually incompetent pansy of a man.
However, that’s an indictment that we all faced. The meat is plump and juicy but not tightly packed. This lead to a fatal error in the structural integrity of the burger and a crumbling mess in your hands (albeit a delicious crumbling mess).
So, is it the best burger in Hong Kong? I’m not sure it is, but I’m also not sure we need to ascertain which is. To compare burgers is to compare Scarlett Johansson and Gal Gadot – they have their merits but really we should just celebrate the fact that they both exist. So, we shouldn’t pit Electric Avenue against Big Ferdinand and Quarter Master. We should simply celebrate the fact that they all exist. In world of exaggerated sensitivity and namby-pamby finger food we should rejoice in a brotherhood of burgers.
How much? $780 for three burger, three fries and six beers
Where? 301 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
Who goes? Men