Monday, June 22nd, 2020
Reviewed by Jeanette Clark
Now this is the way all fast food should taste! Celebrated chef Bertus Basson added De Vrije Burger to his restaurant repertoire in 2018 and it has become a favourite for visitors. The feel is reminiscent of a New York-style hole-in-the-wall burger joint, but with a quirky South African flavour (take some time to study the logo art on the wallpaper inside). Purists can choose a De Jonge Burger with no trimmings – just the beef patty, cheese and bread – but why miss out on the joy that is the De Vrije build-your-own-burger experience?
When placing your order, you can choose whether the patty should be rare or more well done. Optional add-ons include smoked chilli sauce, bacon or Melrose and biltong – as in ‘Mom remembered Melrose’. The limited menu is littered with such nostalgic references. Try Uitpakslaai – with a helpful description for those who don’t remember South African-style Sunday lunch salads at your tannie’s house with creamy dressing. Or draairoomys with hundreds-and-thousands for dessert. The hand-cut potato tjips come three different ways – BBQ-spice dusted, cheesy or peri-peri.
The burger is overwhelmingly big when you take it out of the branded brown bag. The size of the 200g, 100% free-range beef patty easily equates to what some chain takeout spots would offer as a double, and comes with lettuce, tomato, double cheese and pickles. Word of warning: This is messy eating, so probably not ideal for a first date!
With every burger bought you get a voucher for a free draairoomys. Bargain.
Wines are available by the bottle or in a 250ml carafe. The very reasonably priced carafe of 2018 Gabriëlskloof Chenin Blanc rounds off a burger meal perfectly. Craft beers on offer are Windpomp Lager and Leiwater Ale from Black Mountain Brewery.
You order at the counter and take your own food to your table (seating available for about 20 people max).
Trendy and alternative – in line with the music that drifts from the speakers inside. De Vrije Burger draws customers of all ages but appeals to a discerning younger crowd who appreciate this fusion of a fast-food joint and ‘Posh Bosch’ staple.
Late-night munchies – gourmet-style.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.