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De Vrije Burger

De Vrije Burger
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Cost
R60 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Kids, Quick meals
Food
Burgers
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

Food
De Vrije Burger takeaway in the heart of central Stellenbosch is the latest venture of Eat Out Top 10 chef Bertus Basson, in partnership with his wife Mareli. This creative and hardworking duo is behind popular eateries such as Overture, Spek en Bone and Bertus Basson at Spice Route.

The difference here is that De Vrije Burger’s menu features only one thing: a seriously good 200g free-range beef burger with all the trimmings – lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and double cheese – at R75. Diners can choose a patty done medium or medium-rare. Additional toppings can be ordered to build the burger, such as Melrose cheese and biltong, smoked chilli sauce or bacon. Hand-cut chips in three flavours are optional extras (R30–R42.40): barbecue, cheese or peri peri. The latter, made with fresh chillies and sweet-and-sour spices, should come with a warning for being highy addictive.

Bertus’s menus often feature a thread of authentic South African flavour. In this instance the salad option, uitpakslaai (unpacked salad) will bring back memories of gatherings with friends and family (especially in Afrikaans communities) of the 80s and 90s. It indicates a salad that is not tossed, but can either be composed of layers or, more commonly, ingredients packed in neat rows with different salad ingredients on a large, flat, often foil-covered tray. De Vrije Burger’s uitpakslaai (R35) is simple but highly recommended, with a creamy dressing at the bottom and layers of crisp lettuce, peas, tomato, olives and onions.

Drinks
Water, soft drinks, and a small but adequate wine list featuring wine by the bottle (R120–R135) or carafe (R40–50), and two craft beer brands (R35) can be enjoyed on the premises.

Service
Food is served takeaway style, with a friendly and welcoming reception. Owners Bertus and Mareli might pop in.

Ambience
Minimalist, with a palette of white and blue. Four small rectangular wooden tables and chairs spill out onto busy Plein Street, where patrons can enjoy a drink or finish their burgers straight from the grill.

And…
You are entitled to a free draairoomys (soft-serve ice cream) with each burger. Otherwise buy one for R5, topped with 100s and 1000s sprinkles.

(December 2017)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • The hype surrounding the opening of De Vrije Burger had my mouth watering for a great burger! Unfortunately I left disappointed. The patties were underseasoned and over-cooked (my husband’s was charred and tasted burnt). The buns were good (but mine was burnt as well) and the burger toppings were generous. The chips were were so-so. Perhaps we visited on an off day. However, if you are a burger-only venture, your burgers need to be great - all the time.
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  • I must recommend De Vrije Burger. We shared a burger over the weekend without adding any extras just to try it out. It was delicious!! The burger and the chips!! We each had a glass of wine, sitting on Plein Street (on the already mentioned uncomfortable high chairs) and watched the world go by.... and then I had a draairoomys. Go NOW!
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  • Definitely rates as my best burger of 2017! But diners need to know that this is a casual take-away/'food truck without wheels' vibe, done very stylishly. There are a few high tables inside and on the pavement, maybe seating 10/15 people or so on bar stools (which I found quite uncomfortable) but you receive your burger and fries in a brown paper bag as a 'take-away', although a tray with glassware is provided for wine. This is not a sit-down restaurant for a long lunch, but if it's a good burger you're after - you will not be disappointed!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways

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