Has my quest to find the best burger in Pakistan finally paid off?

Published: April 17, 2016

The Wrestlemania of foods: a beef burger unabashed in its grandeur and a world of flavours packed between two buns. PHOTO: SOMETHINGHAUTE.COM

My quest to find the best burger in Pakistan has taken me far and wide. From the lines at shacks to the experiments at labs, from the classics to the pretenders, the quickies to the gourmet, so far I had the Gouda cheese burger at Pantry as my number one pick but it may have been just ousted by an outsider.

The Outpost BYOB lies out of plain sight. A small sign board marks its existence at the outskirts of Lahore. Even Google Maps struggled to find it leading my car into a merry-go-round and racking up my Uber bill for the ride. Finally, I made my way down a small dirt road and found a horde of cars parked in front of a garden. A few lawn chairs and a horde of flies greeted me as I walked in. There is not much to go by but hey, at least there is a jumping castle for kids.

My expectations fell even lower when a photocopied piece of paper and a pencil was handed to me by the server. Was I taking an exam that I was not aware of? Am I required to fill out a questionnaire for the right to eat at this establishment? Is this my will in case I die from a heart attack? As the name suggests, you get to build your own burger, something that I feel more restaurants should encourage. I regard myself something of a food connoisseur. I never seem to find the right combination of flavours for a burger on a preset menu. No frills on a frigate here. You tick the boxes and they make the burger. If it does not work, it is your fault as much as it is theirs.

The Outpost’s photocopied menu.

A single, medium beef patty with sautéed mushrooms, caramelised onions and tomatoes were my choice. Despite my huge reservations, I went with the honey mustard sauce based on a recommendation from a friend. I also ordered the chicken bites in buffalo sauce while I waited for the food. The chicken bites came quicker than they should have. Any time food is served to me before the required prep and cooking time, alarm bells start ringing in my head regarding the freshness of the food.

Chicken bites in Buffalo sauce
Photo: Trip Advisor

As feared, the bites did little to tantalise the taste buds. The breading was bare, the chicken was not tender from the inside and the buffalo sauce lacked the punch of hot sauce with the buttery texture that one expects. The sauce seemed oily if anything. By this point, my expectations had plummeted but the sight of people flocking to this literal outpost still managed to keep me excited.

What about this place is making huge crowds of people flock from the city to this newly developed area?

The burger must be worth it.

I even saw a celebrity walk in with his child; surely it was not just for the jumping castle.

After what seemed like an eternity, the beast finally arrived and I jumped with joy. Now, I am not one to Instagram my food but the burger looked too good to not snap.

Is this the moment I have been waiting for?

I took a bite out of the french-fries to prepare me for the feast; nothing to complain but nothing to write home about either.

My Creation.

And then it was time for the main event. The Wrestlemania of foods: a beef burger unabashed in its grandeur and a world of flavours packed between two buns.

One bite and I was ready to hand over the championship belt to this eatery at the edge of town. From the simplicity of the streamlined process to the efficiency of the order; Outpost nailed it all!

The most essential component to a beef burger is the patty. A lot of restaurants do not seem to get the meat right; the problem is either with the meat supplier, or the incorrect cooking temperature or the fact that the meat has been frozen and reheated too many times. Outpost got my meat temperature just right; slightly crispy on the outside with tender beef on the inside that gave a juicy flavour.

The smokey texture of the beef perfectly complemented the toppings. The caramelised onions provided the sweetness and surprisingly the honey mustard sauce was also a winner. I was afraid it would overpower the other tastes as honey mustard sauce tends to usually do but there was a slight dabble of the sauce, just enough to balance the flavours.

Within five minutes of being served, I had an empty plate and a happy tummy. The glutton in me wanted another one but for the sake of my heart I decided against it. All I know is that there is definitely a place I must necessarily stop by every time I go to Lahore. Not for the chicken bites or the jumping castle but for the chance to build my own dream burger.

Outpost is in.


Shehzad Ghias

A graduate from the LUMS Law School and is running his own theatre production company, Cogito Productions.He works as a theatre teacher at various schools. He tweets @Shehzad89 (twitter.com/Shehzad89)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.