Pauly’s Hamburger and Milkshake: Where’s the Beef?

There’s a new kid in burger town folks, this time in lively Eaux-Vives! But before you get all hot and bothered about it, be warned: even a tasteless book cannot be judged by it’s pretty cover. Pauly’s: Hamburgers and Milkshakes opened up not so long ago in the old Mairie des Eaux-Vives, boasting a 1980s video game website and an Americana diner theme… but let’s be honest, a highway trucker would have a hard time locating the patty. Here’s the biopsy:

The menu: Off the bat, a reading of the menu illustrates some novice mistakes: first in line is a fancy-named simple hamburger or cheeseburger, and right behind it comes Pauly’s Senior, a “double patty double cheese bacon coleslaw onions”. No option for the all-time classic bacon cheeseburger. Ok fine, you can ask for the Pauly’s junior with bacon (but then that doesn’t come with coleslaw) or for the Pauly’s Senior without one of the patties… but let’s face it, Geneva’s restaurants are not known for their flexibility. After some longwinded explanation of what I actually wanted, they granted me my one true wish (see description below). Other than that, a nice variety from “italian” style burgers with zucchini and mozzarella to a more alluring “Chuck Norris” chicken burger with philadelphia and crispy bacon… And of course, the milkshakes.

The burger: I was somewhat satisfied that the waitstaff got my “complicated” order right, so imagine my shock when they brought me what looked like a plate fries with a huge, dry looking bun on the side. It was only after I lifted off the colossal bun top that I found some fixings smeared over something thin and brownish underneath… ah yes. The hamburger patty! Because that’s what we’re here for right?

Spot the bacon

Ok, the patty was puny, we get that. But it was also unpleasantly fatty. Not the good kind of fatty, no no. The cheap, badly grilled meat kinda fatty. As for the taste? To be completely honest, the quantity of bread was so overwhelming that I had a hard time sussing out any kind of texture or flavor to the beef. The bun was dry in texture, absorbing a lot of the flavor from the meat, and covered in toasted sesame and poppy seeds… too much even to capture any kind of cheese or bacon or coleslaw flavor. Basically I ordered burger flavored bread. Maybe it was my fault for ordering just one patty, but puhlease.

The fries: I can’t quibble as much about the fries… they were fine. Nothing to write home about. They seemed to be fried in peanut oil, which I usually like, and they were the right thickness (no thicker than a pinky finger) but they were too oily to my taste, and lacked a little in salt. Of course, I might have just been suffering from the barely-there-burger blues.

The green factor: I whisked out of there too quickly to interview the waiters about the origin and quality of the products. Something I’ll have to fill in some other time, but in any case, they do not bill themselves as particularly local or sustainable or organic.

The setting: Contrary to the food, the decor is delightful! Clear plastic chairs and very streamlined tables surround a very slick wood and metal bar with a slated rock base. The lighting is dim and modern and they show a slight sense of humor with backlit bottles of dishwashing soap against the back wall. But hang on a sec, wasn’t this supposed to be a burgers and shakes joint? Rumor has it though that the minds behind the restaurant just stuck with the decor from the restaurant that was previously at this location… a little lazy perhaps? But I can empathize. Only question is, with a decor like that, why go with menu and theme that’s just gonna come up flat?

Price/Quality: Burgers start at 18chf for what are usually 120g burgers, making it just a bit more expensive than the city’s best, for 40g less burger… not to mention quality and taste. But hey, it’s a scene! We’re ok with paying for a scene, right?

In sum: 1980s videogame website, burgers and shakes theme, classy contemporary decor.. all the ingredients there, but I beg of you, where is the beef?? Next time in Eaux-Vives, you’d be better off checking out Inglewood’s new location on rue de Montchoisy…. mmmmmmmm…

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