Stansandrou 20, 22759300, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Reviewing a new opening on the first week or month can be risky for the following reasons:
– the food and/or service might be excellent but deteriorate later on, or;
– food and/or service might be average but improve along the way
If, a year after the restaurant’s launch quality has remained impeccable, service has improved and the number of regular and loyal customers has increased it is surely not by chance, but proof that the restaurant that is here to stay.
Artisan’s Burgerbar is a prime example of this phenomenon: even though its service had some issues during its first few months, I didn’t hold it against them as the food quality, dish variety, attention to detail and value for money was and still is, of the highest standards. When one meets the father of Artisan’s Burgerbar and picks up on his level of perfectionism, one can easily understand what it takes to do this job well.
One of the things I like about the whole concept of Artisan’s Burgerbar is that it is specialized. This makes it possible to focus on making a product the best it can be, rather than trying to have many dishes that are “quite” good. If it weren’t specialized I am sure it would be difficult to maintain its quality by importing the Black Angus beef from USA chilled and not frozen as it does now, and by making the burgers every single morning rather than freezing them overnight. Even the potatoes are brought in every day, cut, fried, boiled or mashed twice a day!
Even though it is specialized in making burgers it doesn’t prevent it from having a large variety of them. When a year ago I complained about the lack of a simple cheese and bacon burger I was kindly told that, making your own combo is always possible, but the large list of more creative combinations is there to give incentive to people to try out different burgers. Apart from the “number two”, my favourite, with gruyere cheese, perfectly crispy pancetta and BBQ sauce which (I take on the side), I like the one with smoked cheese as well as the one with fried egg on top (a recent entry to satisfy demand). I particularly like the fact that the beef itself is full of herbs and spices giving it a strong aromatic tastes, and also that the minced meat is not ground completely but the minced meat is still “grainy”, something that it my opinion makes it more “real”. Together with the beefburgers there is a good choice of “alternative” burgers that include a fantastic shrimp burger made in house, a vegetable burger made daily with fresh vegetables, and a surprisingly good and flavorsome chicken burger which is not, a chicken fillet (even though that option exists as well), but minced chicken burger. What isn’t immediately obvious is that one side dish is included in the total burger price and one can choose out of crispy freshly fried potatoes, freshly prepared mash potatoes, salads and vegetables. The selection of starters is also appropriate with must-try (and all time best seller) fried “halloumi” and home made pomegranate sauce, as well as interestingly tasty stuffed Portobello mushrooms.
I must respond to whoever says that it is expensive. 12-14€ for a freshly prepared Black Angus burger in a freshly baked bun is not a lot if we look at it relative to its quality. Paying 12€ for a standard goats cheese salad or an average pesto pasta that other restaurants may charge is different than paying it for good quality beef.
All in all I can conclude that the Artisan’s Burgerbar experience is an all-rounded one. A lot can be learned from the way they work, including the benefits of specialization, the attention to detail and quality and how important it is to maintain your standards rather than lower them once you get comfortable.