The South African chain that has been in the news for their multi-couloured burgers has finally opened its doors in Gurgaon (Sector 29). With smell of fresh paint still lingering in the air, and no other interesting place that would allow kids on a Saturday evening – you’d imagine that restaurants would expect families on weekends – Barcelos was the lucky winner to play host to a family dinner a few weeks back. This impromptu decision served my purpose well because not only did I get to review a new restaurant for you but also I finally managed to see, or rather taste, what the big deal is about all the “coloured” burgers.
Paint smell aside, I like how Barcelos is set up; the stool-table options on the ground floor and more comfortable couch based seating in the basement, their “car seating” is a nice addition – especially if you’re with kids – and while the wall decor is “touristy” it is lively and colourful.
Now, Barcelos takes a lot of pride in their 24 hour marinated flame grilled chicken which neither I nor anyone else on the table tried. So, it remains a mystery, to be tested some other day, but the one “chicken” burger – Black Magic – that did end up on the table was appreciated primarily because of the meat. The Red Meaty Lamb Burger with a fiery red bun was also liked, although I did notice that parts of it were left on the plate in the end.
Here’s the thing though, everyone is doing burgers now a days. What I wanted to try, and what has been Barcelos’ USP, are their multi-coloured bun burgers. Were they any different? Yes, I mean one of them had a slice of orange in it – who’d have thought of that – and I actually liked it. But we’re they ANY different? Ummmm… No. As much as I want to say that they wowed me and they were the best burgers I have ever had, I cannot. They were okay, nice, acceptable, different, lovely, but they lacked any holding power, made my taste buds wander, encouraging them to keep looking for more or go back to the ones I’ve had and loved in the past. The coloured buns have a novelty value the first time round and I recommend going for the 4 sliders which gives you one of each coloured bun available – White, Black, Red, and Brown – and it also lets the whole colour scene out of your system so you can get back to paying more attention to the taste. And again, because every restaurant – and food truck – seems to be doing burgers nowadays, it will take a little more than simply coloured buns to take things to a higher level.
Having said that, Barcelos is a welcomed change with a chance to try slightly different food preparations; their Vegetarian Trinchado with Rice got an Indian treatment with the addition of Paneer to it and it worked, but the Vegetarian Sizzler made more noise on the table and less once it was eaten.
I did enjoy the shakes and drinks that Barcelos serves. The Bubblegum Shake with a strong vanilla flavour is recommended as is Mint Blast. The Oreo Cookie shake, Bounty shake, and Brownie shake are all being done in one avatar or another by a number of establishments and they all seem to do just fine. I guess the novelty value of big glasses – mason jars nowadays – filled with confectionaries is starting to get a little passé. However, having one of these sugar-overloaded drinks means that one can save on desserts, so there is a silver lining to it all in the end.
The service at Barcelos is friendly, but at the time we visited it was nearly empty so I’m not sure how they will handle crowds – should be fine. I was however pleasantly surprised to note that Barcelos is quite economical with a Rs 3700,- bill for well fed 6 adults and 2 kids. Granted this is without alcohol as they do not have a license yet, but considering this was including all the various taxes, it isn’t a bad deal at the end of the night.
Barcelos is the latest addition to the now extremely crowded Sector 29 restaurant space and like all the other places in this ever shrinking area, they will have to keep up with their A game, be innovative, and experimental if they want to continue attracting punters once the “coloured” bun craze fizzles out.