So this evening I convinced E to try out Bishkek’s new Burger House on Kievskaya for dinner. This is a man who loves hamburgers, as much as I love the first fresh salad in spring or lush dew-dropped strawberries straight from the field. Every time we visit Turkey he eats hamburgers for the first four or five days…starting in the Istanbul airport. But his last experience with a hamburger in Bishkek was so terrible (even the streetdog he offered it to wouldn’t touch it) that he had all but forsaken them until we next leave the country. It was a good thing he hadn’t completely forsaken the experience, because Burger House was actually decent. And by decent I mean not the best burger I’ve ever had, but good enough to put American fast food chains to shame, and absolutely incomparable with Bishkek’s other options.
The menu is pretty simple – six types of hamburgers (including lamb burger and chicken breast), salads, fries, milk shakes (for once not called “milk cocktails”!) and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. As you can see from the menu, everything but the alcohol was very reasonably priced.
The hamburger-man ordered a lamburger and fries, I ordered a London burger, and with beverages our total came to exactly $10 (615 som). As should be clear from the picture, the vegetables were fresh, the cheese real, the buns well-baked (unfortunately they only have white, but at least it wasn’t soggy), and the meat was actual meat. Mine was actually a bit pink in the middle – but three hours after dinner I’m still feeling perfectly fine.
Unfortunately I only got half a shot of the lamburger, because it was half-gone before I took out my camera. But – service was quick, presentation was clean, food was cheap – and the ambiance was surprisingly good.
The managers have gone for a classical industrial-mod look, with high exposed ceilings decorated in chains of artsy frosted bare bulbs and wrap-around second floor ceiling. There are actually a lot of tables in the place, but because of the high ceilings it doesn’t feel crowded or claustrophobic. One time design was done right.
UPDATE (3/28): We made a second trip to the Burger House. Man had a classic burger, which he pronounced completely satisfactory; we ordered rosemary fries (which were addicting – I just wish they had rosemary potato wedges; though probably equally unhealthy they would feel classy); we shared a house salad – beautiful fresh tossed greens in the lightest of dressings topped with raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and blue cheese in a city where there is little blue cheese – beautiful, and $2; and I got a ‘signature burger’, which had gross red sauce (it was supposed to have BBQ sauce…) and canned mushrooms and pickles. I would not try it again.
So, the basics:
Where: Kievskaya, just E of the ploshad (map here)
Price Range: Moderate (200-300 som/person).
Food on Offer: Basic burgers, fries, shakes, salads…and imported German beer.
For What Occasion: Any. Casual dinner, mid-day replenishment, hamburger-hungry expats, a break from bazaar fare for inter-stan explorers.
Seating & Service: It’s kind of a cross between a fast food joint and a decent sit-down restaurant. Minimal- efficient service. Booths and tables inside, a few tables on the entranceway patio outside.
English: Menu. Friendly staff might speak a word or two.
Vegetarian: nope (unless you can survive on salad, fries and wine).
also…OMG ACTUALLY NON-SMOKING!!!