Thursday, March 10, 2011

Burgers at eNuf

Just lately various issues have called my wife and myself away from home more than usual. As a consequence we have also eaten out more often. I'm so intrigued by the range of take away, or casual eating foods about that I am considering writing some articles for our local newspaper.
One place we came across was last Sunday. Driving along a major arterial road to Glenelg we sighted a place we had not seen before. An old corner shop had been turned into a Burger place, but from its location in an up market beach suburb I expected it would be above the usual. Another attraction was that there was a line right out the door onto the footpath. People must like the food.
After taking the dogs for a beach walk we drove back to test the wares. The line had mostly gone but there were still several people waiting and as we looked at the menu, others came and went. Popularity was ensured because of the location amid a mass of high rise apartments, up-market flats, holiday homes etc. The age of residents within walking distance would be in the 20's, young married, few or no children yet. Perfect targets for a burger joint.
What a good idea! Someone had decided to produce a 'Burger joint' above the run of the mill. The menu included some really interesting changes from the usual things. Tandoori chicken burger was my choice and my wife went for Chix. I also ordered the standard version of the house special the 'Enuf' burger as a take away.
But all the burgers looked very good. A nice description of content, which also turned out to be accurate, rather than just the hype one sees at the mass market burger joints. Most tastes were catered for from vegetarian to seafood, steak, chicken, lamb etc. Then within those choices was a choice of style. Cajun, Indian, American, Thai, European, or a traditional Aussie burger. Lots of different sauces to choose from and three styles of bread roll.
Layout of the shop was very good. An old colonial air to match the old corner shop and that it was near where the first colonists had landed to found this state. The lounge style seat I sat on was less than comfortable but I think that was because in their desire to give comfort there had to be some sacrifice to elbow room. So the seats of that style were a bit cramped. Other seating was good, the tables were clean and the general appearance of the whole premises was of cleanliness. One problem was that popularity has its problems and the amount of seating available was obviously not enough for the people who wanted to use it.
My seat faced the open cooking area and ordering counter so I had a full view of proceedings. Very, very busy! Lots of coming and going.
But that also had a price. I could not help but feel the staff were unable to cope. A woman in her 30's and a man of the same age did all the cooking. A somewhat bewildered looking teenage girl took the orders.
The female chef obviously had to look at the orders hanging on a rack and in doing so was looking toward the customers. She must need glasses because every time she did it, she squinted and frowned. The effect of a scowling and sometimes bad tempered looking chef was projected out into the shop. Although laid out excellently in most other ways, I would recommend a short glass partition would let people see what was going on, but eliminate the scowling chef. And she scowled a lot, so it was more than just a minor thing.
Next problem was that in finding it hard to cope, the service was therefore quite slow. An additional problem seemed to be that the scowling chef got things mixed up a lot and projected blame back on the girl taking the orders, the male chef, or the customer. This did not work with one table where a well dressed and self assured young man made it very clear what he had ordered and insisted he get what he ordered.
The male chef seemed to know what to do, but looked confused a lot due to comments from the scowling female chef.
Service for tables was slow. The burgers were placed on wooden platters, and these set up on a counter. But as to who was supposed to take them to the customer seemed a bit confused. The bewildered young teenage girl did several, but so did the two chef's from time to time.
Table service was confusing. There seemed to have been no provision made for distinguishing which tables had ordered which hamburgers and which customers where which. Take away or eat in, all got the same treatment of being bandied from table to table asking if the occupants had placed that order.
When we finally got our actual order….and we did go through a couple of false starts….the burgers were presented in an excellent manner. The wood platters seemed to help keep them warm, there were nice table napkins and even cutlery provided.
Taste? Well I remarked a mere few moments before my wife made the same remark, that the product was probably the very best burger I had ever had. And that was only after a couple of bites. Very nice combination of ingredients. Excellent burger buns that were of high quality. Burger filling was generous and the sauces of high standard. Being more used to the rather tired salads of the mass burger joints, the freshness of the salads on these burgers was strikingly different. They had also gone beyond the usual, so there were salad vegetables not normally seen in McDonalds unless they were in someones shopping bag! Good fresh and tasty stuff.
Potato chips….of French fries to the Yanks….were probably right up there with the best I have ever been served anywhere. Crisp, tasty little potato morsels. A popular item at several tables were the house special onion rings and it was easy to see the customers with those were really enjoying them.
Looking about it was obvious that every burger served up was hitting the mark with each customer. You could see the looks of satisfaction on their faces and pick up snippets of high approval conversation. Due to the kitchen being not really able to cope, our stay was quite long so I had plenty of time to observe customer reactions. They were always high in praise of the food and this seemed to placate some of the tension from slow service.
There was one health issue that concerned me. Surprising in such a well laid out premises, that is obviously kept scrupulously clean. That was the scowling chef. At one point she wiped her liberally perspiring face with the front of her hand, then immediately picked up a burger with that same hand and placed it on a platter. That made me shudder a bit.
I watched that burger sit there across many minutes and was relieved it was not one served to us. After some twenty minutes sitting around, that burger was put into a brown bag and placed in a warm position. I did not see it picked up, but it was gone thirty minutes later when I looked.
All up we probably spent at least an hour at the shop. I put half of that down to the confusion in the kitchen as to who ordered what. That's a long time for a burger joint. Half an hour would be acceptable. An hour far too long.
Would I eat there again. Oh most certainly. The sheer quality of the food and its healthy presentation will see me returning. But probably in non busy time slots!
Price. My wife felt it was rather on the expensive side for a burger. However she did concede that each one was an excellent meal, of high quality and certainly the best she had ever eaten. A fairly standard burger was just under ten dollars. The huge 'eNuf' special was nearly sixteen dollars.
Side dishes were similar to other places, but on the higher side in price.
All up it was very enjoyable, but I hope the staff get their act together soon or those long waiting times and confusion about orders will cause many of the young people living in those flats, to walk five minutes down the road to a conventional mass burger joint, walk back the same five minutes, and still he back home and have eaten their meal in the time they would have still been waiting at eNuf.

No comments:

Post a Comment