It was time that NoGarlicNoOnions try the Smoking Bun – a small burger joint making waves today. Located on Mar Mikhael avenue, Smoking Bun, cannot be missed. All you have to do is find a blue Volkswagen, parked at the entrance, and you’ll be sure that you have reached one of the country’s trendiest burgers.
A small place ready to satisfy your craving for burgers. Metal and wood take over the space, which looks like an industrial factory where glazed concrete, rugged metal and fresh wood panels blend perfectly well to create a redefined simplicity.
We were welcomed into their world where one single item is sold. Yes, one burger without any sophistication. The Smoking Bun can be purchased alone, or upgraded to include two patties and two slices of cheese and surely enjoyed with fries and coke... And I thought the burger trend was on hold until I tried the Smoking Bun.
Start by the cashier where a wood signboard reminds you to pay here. Ask for your choice and move along the bar for your order. Soft drinks (Pepsi) are included but not beer. 961 Lager draft beer is an additional LBP5, 000 on the bill.
You will suddenly find yourself craving for your order as the smell of mouthwatering aromas from the freshly grilling meat along side the fried potatoes.
- Burger: LBP12,000
- Meal: LBP16,000
- Double patty: LBP18,500
Looking at the burger being prepared activates your every sense confirming that the guys at Smoking Bun know what a burger is all about. A 120grams of patty is taken out of the fridge, sparkled with a special mix of salt and pepper then placed on the grill to cook on each side. It was then ready to welcome the cheese. After that, and for the first time in Lebanon – or at least the first time I see it happening- the patty was covered to isolate the heat, aromas and juiciness allowing the cheese to homogeneously melt on the round piece of meat.
This technique makes the patty look bigger and thicker. 120grams look like a 200grams meaning the mix doesn’t contain an overdose of fat. On another hand, the buns, which were lightly grilled, were prepared with a thin slice of tomato, lettuce and extremely thin sweet pickles. To complete this masterpiece, a spread of the secret sauce -mayonnaise and ketchup and other condiments, and you are ready to enjoy.
Understanding that Smoking Bun is a street food concept, I found their burger close to perfect in its category. A bun, crafted by Prunelle is unique of its kind. A certain fluffiness and richness makes the buns melt under your teeth majestically holding the inner ingredients. The meat is just awesome; just meat, ground beef which crumble under your teeth without squeaking or leaving an unpleasant aftertaste. You won’t feel any add-ons, any sauces, or any breadcrumbs… The patty is really great. As you bite into it, you’ll feel the salt and pepper as a welcome note ending the experience with a light subtle sweetness the pickles add to the experience. My suggestion, enjoy it MEDIUM and feel its red heart.
While enjoying the nice decoration, the stainless utensils decorating the walls and the spicy music, I took a bite of the one patty burger followed by a bite of the two-patty burger. I found out the double patty to be too much. Next time, I would order two burgers with a single patty each and enjoy the proportional mix of ingredients and not the double dose thick one, despite the fact that it is easy to eat without going into pieces.
As for the fries… I would say no. The burger was so good and so enjoyable that I wanted to keep its aftertaste for the day. The fries covered with an overdose of spices including garlic powder mask all the enjoyable ingredients. A great cut, a generous portion but unfortunately a bizarre taste. Would surely prefer them simpler without that much sophistication. PS: The bag of fries was a mix of an old batch served chewy and cold with a new one crispy and hot. Pay attention to this small detail that’s a turn off.
I loved the burger, loved the ingredients and loved Smoking Bun… Remember, it’s a simple place that’s not to be compared to its neighbors like Happy Prince or Frosty Palace; Enjoy it independently.