Fun and full-of-flavour food is the order of the day. Starter bites include truffle mac and cheese, chilli poppers and pulled-pork pancakes, but you’re really here for the burgers. Choose yours with juicy beef, chicken, pulled pork or mushroom patties, each stuffed with a variety of cheeses, and served with trimmings like whiskey barbecue dip, hoisin and miso, basil pesto and crème fraîche, or chilli-pineapple salsa. Sides are exemplary curly fires, sweet-potato fries, a side salad or kale chips.
On Friday afternoons they serve deep-fried chicken bites with honey butter for you to slather on. Eating with your fingers is a must.
End on the trademark house cheesecake or cake in a mug.
Buckets of beers and local ciders suit the food perfectly. The jam-jar milkshakes in flavours like mango and coconut, coffee or chocolate-cookie will please the young at heart.
Friendly enough but can be a little distracted when it’s busy, which is often. The food comes quickly, which is great, because your mouth will start watering the moment you enter the room.
The main dining room is now up a few steps into a rustic space with face-brick walls, exposed beams and wooden floors. It feels cosier than the bright, stark room that used to share space with the kitchen. Find a seat at one of the high counters or pick a table for a more leisurely meal.
Look out for the EAZI specials of burgers for only R70 or two burgers and bottomless fries for R120.
IYO Burgers started as a mobile enterprise with the emphasis on what you put in – into the environment, into the community and the burger (patty) itself. Here you’ll get the best ethically-sourced locally-grown meat and vegetables on soft, well-made buns in their upstairs eatery on Bree Street. Expect unusual and of-the-moment flavours.
Create a burger and sides to suit your mood by ticking the options on a slip of paper that the waiter will leave on the table after offering you a jug of iced water. While there are small bites of pulled pork pancakes and veggie croquettes, don’t get distracted before the main event. The Quick Dip is the plainest burger on offer, with a smoked cheddar beef patty, crispy onions and a house sauce. You can elect to have this with or without a bun. The curly fries are made from Van der Plank potatoes and sprinkled with rosemary salt (disappointing if you prefer skinny fries with more body) or you can even try kale crisps.
There's also the Kimcheezy – the same patty topped with a slow-roasted slice of caramelised pork belly and kimchi. There’s a rotating burger of the month and a chicken and vegetarian option too.
A fairly good selection, with bottled beers and local beers on tap, like the Soweto Gold. Most wines are available by the glass. There are also regular and healthy shakes, fresh pressed juices and kombucha.
The service is quick and the food arrives promptly too.
The colourful wooden furniture makes the space feel like a playful kid’s canteen rather than a hip burger bar, which could be the point. It gets hot and noisy here in summer – opt for a table by the window.
For the die-hards there’s a cookie ice cream burger on offer for dessert. They take no reservations so get here before the lunch crowd.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
Katharine Jacobs and Linda Scarborough
This Bree Street burger joint was voted the best in the Western Cape by our readers at the inaugural 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries. Considering the prices – which are in line with other burger spots in town – it might come as a surprise to learn that all the burgers here are made with grass-fed beef, and everything else seems to come with the prefix ‘organic’ or ‘home-grown’. There are home-grown alfalfa and sunflower sprouts; organic homemade pickles; and chicken burgers made with free-range chicken thighs and legs, from a small farmer in Stellenbosch. The unique selling point here is that all patties are stuffed with ingredients, usually cheese, which is a principle we can really get behind.
The small bites menu includes some interesting titbits like pulled-pork pancakes, chicken wings, veggie croquettes and even a plate of little sliders, but you might not have space for the main event if you indulge too much here.
The Kimcheezy (R93 with a side included) oozes with Sriracha mayo, kimchi and something called caramelised pickled apple purée. The sauces are delicious, but on this occasion the beef patty is a little dry and crumbly.
A good beginner burger, the Quick Dip (R58), boasts smoked cheddar and crispy sweet onions, and is perfect if you don’t like too much funny business. Other favourites include the Whisky Braai-BBQ (R84), which features a smoked cheddar-stuffed beef patty, organic bacon, avo, wild rocket and whisky-barbecue sauce, and the Umami BBQ (R82), which has a boerenkaas cheddar-stuffed patty, pickled cabbage, toasted sesame seeds and peanuts, coriander hoisin sauce, miso mayo and yuzu dressing.
They please varied meat-loving palates with chicken, ostrich and pulled-pork patties, and vegetarians are looked after with a choice of a patty comprising goat’s cheese, roasted beetroot and bean, or a whole roasted portobello mushroom. Every month there’s a limited edition special burger, which could be topped with spicy chorizo and peppadews or a creative combo of pickled cauliflower and carrot, fresh mint, garlic mayo and mango chutney.
Burgers come on good, glossy wheat rolls, but are also available bunless or on rye rolls, and all are served with a side and a little dipping sauce included; the sweet potato fries with aioli are our favourite. You may not have space for dessert, but we urge you to try your darndest: the cheesecakes (salted caramel or Oreo) really are outrageously delicious.
Like the food, these are local and lekker. Try one of the colour-coded juices or Kombucha by Cape-based Brew. Sip on a pomegranate, rosemary and cinnamon gin and tonic made with Inverroche gin, or a Cluver & Jack Cider. Some lesser-known craft beers are available on tap or by the bottle. Wines feature Hartenberg and Alphabetical; both are fairly decent options. Our only gripe with this rather colourful beverage list is that the drinks are served in glass jars, with a rather thick rim. They’re cute, but ruin the experience of sipping good wine or bubbly. There are also shakes made with excellent ice cream from Moro Gelato – though, to be perfectly honest, we've never had the stamina to order one!
Staff are friendly, but laid-back. Place your own order on the checklist provided, and behave yourselves.
Located on the first floor, with lovely windows overlooking Bree, this white, bright space is peppered with plants and orange highlights. Pale wooden tables and chairs are spaced quite close together, the kitchen is open, and there aren't many soft furnishings, so it can feel a little hectic and loud, but it’s all part of the easy-going fun.
Have you heard tell of a land where burgers are stuffed with cheese, where patties were made of grass-fed beef, and curly fries from organic potatoes (double-fried and served with rosemary salt)? Bree Street is abuzz about brand new burger hotspot, IYO Burgers.
But owners Jonah Lewis and Jean Marc Lenferna don’t want to be just any burger spot: the ethical sourcing of their ingredients is part of a sincere desire to grow the local, sustainable farming industry.
Says co-owner Jonah, “We want to grow [IYO] so that ethical farming can grow in this country. We hope that people will see the beauty and honesty in what we’re doing.”
So far, they’ve grown from tiny beginnings in 2013 as a stall selling burgers at markets into a fully-fledged restaurant in Cape Town’s buzzing Bree Street.
What do the burgers taste like? The Eat Out team sets out to investigate.
If you’re the ambitious type, kick off with one of the small bites. The veggie croquettes – carefully seasoned spinach and sweet potato in a light batter ¬– are rather delicious. The gluten-free pulled pork pancakes, meanwhile, come with a jar of whiskey-honey that transforms the starter almost into a dessert. (Not a complaint).
But you’re here for the burgers, so leave room for one of the incredible sounding options (R58-R87).
The Whisky Braai-BQ burger conceals crispy bacon bits in a sweet, whisky–barbecue sauce that contrasts nicely with the mildly flavoured guacamole and smoky cheese. Then there’s The Quick Dip, which is accompanied by a small bowl of ‘IYO house dip’, a somewhat confusing addition with a watery consistency and a subtle barbecue flavour. The B.B.L.T (Better B.L.T) with a boerenkaas cheddar-filled beef patty boasts a firm crumbed tomato, bacon-and-onion jam, butter lettuce and garlic mayo (which wasn’t really in evidence). The Brie Street comes with an ostrich patty stuffed with brie cheese and topped with red onion, wild rocket and a red wine and cranberry reduction. The balance of sweet and savoury is spot on and the ostrich patty cooked to a perfect medium rare.
The patties are almost too thick to get your mouth around – again, not a complaint – and come perfectly cooked, with a touch of pinkness in the centre. The grass-fed beef is chewy and flavoursome on its own, and not too finely ground. There are also pork, chicken and vegetarian (beet and bean) and vegan (lentil, aubergine, flax seed and sweet potato) patty options.
The standard sesame buns are light and not too obtrusive, but you can also order the burgers bun-less, in which case they come on a generous bed of salad topped with bean sprouts. (The team’s planning to bake their own gluten-free rolls in the future.)
As for the cheese fillings, we’re in favour of the concept, although we did note that in some instances there could be more cheese. (There can always be more cheese.)
The satisfying sides come in the form of sweet potato fries, light and crispy curly fries, and surprisingly tasty kale chips crumbed in what resembles cheddar cheese. There’s also a seasonal salad on offer.
If you’ve still got room (portions are not small), share a slice of the cheesecake for dessert. The flavours rotate depending on what’s in season, but ours is flecked with raw cacao powder and melted dark chocolate, resulting in the board being scraped clean. There’s also a vegan option made with desiccated coconut and cashews.
A selection of craft beers – four of which are available on tap – is complimented by a handful of good-quality spirits (Inverroche gin, La Muerte tequila) and a handful of house wines, available by the glass for R30 a pop. There’s also Fairtrade coffee by Bean There, kombucha, green juices (the one we try is a little watery), shakes and the ginger shot, a cute corked vial of ginger juice that feels as if it would burn any lingering cold into smithereens.
Located on the first floor, this smallish space seats just 35 people. They don’t take bookings, so send an advance emissary if you have a large group. The varnished FSC-approved wood forms a prominent feature in the otherwise light, bright space. Tables have inset pot plants and a wall planter hosts a variety of lettuces and herbs. The space becomes quite noisy – in part due to the open kitchen – but this could easily be remedied with the introduction of some soft furnishings.
Friendly, swift and simple. Mark your order on the sheet of paper, pay at the till, and await your burgers. Burgers come out quickly, and not having to pay at the end is a boon, particularly if you’re trying to squeeze in a workday lunch.
The sauces and topping combinations are glorious! The four of us did find the patties themselves a bit dry though - they crumbled apart as we ate -perhaps they need to look at that recipe. Still extremely delicious though. The salted caramel cheesecake is magnificent, too.
This is a cute little spot for a lunchtime bite with friends. Lovely bright space, with a welcome breeze coming in through the windows (complete with little window boxes of herbs). My sweet potato chips with aioli were delicious, and all the bits and pieces inside the burger were good, but my patty was a little too compact and dry for my tastes. I have had a good burger here before; maybe this one was just left a little too long on the grill. I like how the burgers are served with little cocktail spears to keep everything together in the event you want to eat with your hands.