Burgers at Bongos (Taipei)

January 20, 2014 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel

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We went to Bongos after getting several recommendations about its awesome burgers, which are said to be quite a hit with Gongguan locals and students from the nearby National Taiwan University. Tucked away in one of the side alleys off Roosevelt Road, Bongos wasn’t as easy to find as expected, and it also as a somewhat inconspicuous exterior that could be missed if you’re not on the lookout.

Strictly speaking, Bongos is a burgers and tacos joint, but they also serve salads, soups, sandwiches and other appetizers. One thing you should know about the place is that they have cats there (they tend to roam around inside and out), so if you’re not a cat person or if you don’t think it’s necessarily hygienic then this might not be the place for you. On the plus side, they have a massive wall of used books, which you can read at your leisure, buy or trade with books of your own. It’s a great idea.

But of course, we were there for the food. The great thing for vegetarians is that for each burger you can choose either a beef or veggie patty, and each burger comes with two sides — garden salad, potato salad or fries, which you can poutinize for an extra NT$30 or add chili to for NT$50.

We ended up ordering a fish tacos (NT$190, recommended by the waitress) as an appetizer and the Deluxe Bongo Burger with poutinized fries (NT$270) plus the chicken quesadilla with normal fries. We also got a garden salad and potato salad with the sets. And here they are!

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Garden salad

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Potato salad

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Fish tacos

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Deluxe Bongo Burger with poutinized fries

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Chicken quesadilla with fries

We were looking forward to the burgers the most, but as it turned out the fish tacos was the best thing we ordered that day. Crispy tacos, beautifully fried fish with the spicy peppers and tangy mayo. Just sensational.

As for the rest, it was a bit of the mixed bag. The salad had a nice honey mustard dressing but the leaves did not feel very fresh and were a little moist from the refrigeration. The potato salad was excellent, as was the burger, which had nicely toasted bread, a very solid beef patty and melted cheese along with a solid serving of bacon, but the fries were not good. The poutine, in particular, was just too soggy and not hot enough, and even the regular fries were not crispy enough. The chicken quesadilla was not bad, a little on the dry side, but went well with the tomato salsa and sour cream.

On the whole, it was fairly satisfying and good enough to go back just for the fish tacos! I’d like to find an opportunity to head back.

8/10

Details

Bongos

Website: http://bongos.tw

Address: No. 23, Lane 283, Roosevelt Road Section 3, Daan District, Taipei (nearest MRT Taipower Building or Gongguan)

Phone: (02) 2365 2769

Hours: 11:30am-10pm

KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers (Taipei)

August 26, 2013 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel

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The Specials Board

Burger joints in Taiwan are a dime a dozen, but one that keeps creeping up in recommendations is KGB (an acronym for Kiwi Gourmet Burgers), which as the name suggests was set up by a couple of ex-pats including a Kiwi.

It’s not an easy place to find, tucked away in a tiny alley off Shida Road, a short walk from the Taipower Building MRT station. The restaurant itself is small and cozy but nicely fitted to look like a chic cafe you might find in Sydney’s Newtown.

Fancy ketchup

Fancy ketchup

So what sets KGB burgers apart from the rest? Quality ingredients, apparently. They say the only use the freshest produce along with New Zealand beef and free range chicken, and the burger buns are made fresh to order from special bakers.

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Your meal at KGB involves a few choices. First of all, you pick your patty: beef, chicken or vegetarian. Second, you pick your burger type, and third, you pick your side, be it salad or fries. They also have a range of specialty burgers such as satay, lamb, bacon avocado, aioli (the KGB), and CC Heaven — Camembert with cranberry sauce. For some burgers you can also choose the “slim”, a smaller version of the “regular”. The prices range from about NT$200-260 for a regular, which is only about NT$60-70 more than the slim. In other words, I’d go for the regular every time.

We ended up choosing two burgers — a KGB (which comes with their special ginger lime aioli) and a Satay Chicken Burger. For the sides we got garlic fries and a rocket salad.

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The KGB with Garlic Fries

 

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The Satay Chicken Burger with Rocket Salad

First up, the KGB, served on a fresh bun with tomato, onion, lettuce, cheese, a thick, grilled NZ beef patty and some of that awesome ginger lime aioli. It was excellent, and if it’s not enough flavour for you, there’s always the option to add some ketchup. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best burgers I’ve had, though it’s definitely one of the better burgers I’ve had in Taiwan. It’s indeed fresh, doesn’t overload on too many things like some of the other Taiwanese burger joints, and the size is manageable (you know it’s not when you struggle to figure out how to take a bite). But if you’re talking aioli on your burger, no burger joint can top Brodburger in Canberra (review here). It’s the best, you hear me? The Best!

The garlic fries were fairly good. Instead of garlic powder or flavouring, KGB offers crunchy fries with herbs and actual chunks of crushed garlic. Unfortunately it doesn’t taste quite as good as it sounds or looks. Not bad, but just not mindblowing.

The Satay Chicken Burger was a little disappointing, mainly because the chicken itself was overdone and not that easy to chew through (the satay sauce was good — thick and flavoursome). I’m not sure if it was a once-off thing or if their chicken is always like that, but if I go again I’m sticking with the beef. The rocket salad was fresh and crispy, but I’m not a big fan of balsamic dressing (though I know I am in the minority).

Perhaps I didn’t have the best first experience there, but I’d be interested in heading back to KGB again to give some of their other burgers a try. I like their style and the effort they put into creating burgers that are fresh, tasty, and with just the right amount of flamboyance.

8/10

Details

KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers

Website: http://www.kgbburgers.com/index_en.html

Address: No. 5, Lane 114, Shida Road, Taipei (nearest MRT Taipower Building, green line)

Phone: (02) 2363-6015

Hours: 12pm to 11pm (kitchen closes at 10pm)

 
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