Java Cafe – Merguez Burger
A mix of merguez sausage (lamb, beef and spices) with their beef burger, topped with feta cheese, fresh mint and basil, served with lettuce and tomato. All together in a homemade brioche bun, served with mayonnaise, cheese, fresh veggies and fried potato wedges
Hailing from a city consumed by gourmet burger chains, I’ve grown accustomed to craving pimped-up patties. In this series, I hit the streets of Phnom Penh to sniff out the very best burgers on offer.
The Burger Joint
Near independence monument, Java Cafe & Gallery operates a gallery and art lab, It works to sustain arts practice for artists, researchers, curators and other creative practitioners and has provided a launching pad to many emerging artists who have since gone on to become prominent figures in the contemporary art world.
I like the mix things up, so naturally I went for what I perceived to be the most unique and interesting flavour combination on the menu. The Merguez mixes in lamb and beef amongst a variety of spices to create a tender patty, topped with cubes of feta cheese and garnish. Most other burger options were as you’d expect, Classic, Bacon, Veggie, Pork – although the Coriander chicken burger with honey-mustard bacon was a contender for today’s review. Perhaps I’ll revisit sometime.
On the Side
I mildly misinterpreted the top of the menu. On the side it’s some crinkly cut potato wedges, with a tomato sauce dip. These are fantastic, I was tempted to order another portion of them – although I’d admit when I read ‘fresh veggies and fried potato wedges’, I hoped a salad would also appear on the plate.
Visually, it looked great. The meat had a vibrant red, angry look to it – showing the spice-lamb-beef fusion was ready to get all up in my taste buds. The cubes of feta cheese pushed the bun up too, making it stand taller and overall more appealing – sort of like when they spend hours rearranging burgers for the camera with cocktail sticks and other ingenious methods. The first bite was absolutely one to be savoured. There’s an excellent kick, reminding me of a whole host of Mediterranean delights I’d had in the past. I’m usually in the habit of being able to inhale burgers, but the sheer mass of the patty slowed me down and showed real value to the portion size. Towards the last third I did daydream of a more prominent sauce, purely because I don’t like the overall combo too dry – but the ketchup offered worked well enough. The hint of mint aided in the overall gourmet feel, an excellent addition.
I’m always tempted to go for a classic beef patty, because that’s the quintessential burger taste – however, having mambo’d with the merguez. I’d give the Merguez Burger 8/10 – excellent flavour combinations, generous burger size and a reasonable price. The overall charm of Java cafe and it’s mission give it that extra nudge into the good books.
56 Sihanouk Boulevard