By Ahmed El-Semary
Driving around Cairo 15 minutes before sunset in Ramadan looking for a place to try a new meal may not seem like the wisest thing to do, since you need to make reservations days ahead of having iftar at many restaurants in Ramadan. But, here I was taking my chances. “I just heard of a burger place nearby that is said to serve some mean burgers,” said my friend. “Burgers for iftar?” I replied. “They better be good!”
And that is how we ended up having our iftar on the intersection of 26 July and Hassan Sabry Street in Zamalek at a place called Burger Factory.
It was an easy place to find, overlooking the 26 July Street. The inside of the place looked like an old garage, with unpainted concrete walls and graffiti art that gave it a back-alley feel: the sort of informal, laid back atmosphere you would associate with burgers. Size wise it was not the biggest place I have been to, with barely enough room for five tables, but the space was filled neatly with round metal tables and high metal tables that you would normally find at a bar. It gives you an engaged feel, like you are in control of your orders and menus.
Speaking of menus, they were printed simply onto white paper in old typewriter fonts, with interesting names and detailed descriptions of each item. I found the layout easy to use and the prices more than reasonable.
“I’ll get the cowboy burger,” my friend said, which included beef, cheese, beef bacon, fried onion rings and barbecue sauce. “Sounds delicious! I will give the Morocco burger a try,” I said. On the side, we went for fried mushrooms with garlic mayo dip.
Just as the call for Al-Maghreb prayers sounded, the side dish was delivered. Crunchy, flaky and freshly fried, the mushrooms were delicious and the portion was satisfactory.
As for my burger, it was by far the most creative one I have ever had, without exaggeration. How many times have you had a burger with walnuts, date syrup, cinnamon and prunes? And the taste was just as creative and impressive as the combination. After my first bite, a drama of conflicting flavours erupted in my mouth with an exhilarating mix of sweet and savoury.
My friend’s sandwich was just as mouth-watering as mine. The beef patty was juicy and the flavours were very well proportioned which made up for a scrumptious and very filling meal. Both our burgers were served on metal cookie sheets surrounded by crispy fries, another way the presentation was distinguished.
“You couldn’t have been more right to bring us here! This is definitely worth every bite, every calorie,” I told my friend. Yes, to be fair, it was pretty calorie packed, so it won’t win any awards for health. But you can always burn the calories later.
All in all, I would recommend the place to anyone, anytime. The burgers are great, the place was neat, the waiters were friendly and well informed (they knew their burgers), and the prices were more than fair. Even if you are not a huge burger fan, give it a go and take my word for it, you will not regret it.