Such a young establishment and already impossible to get a table. Is this kind of popularity even sustainable in Geneva?? The only other place I can think of that demands to be reserved a week ahead of time is my favorite fondue place… and that’s been around for years already!
So, overrated or worth the hustle? In this gourmande’s opinion, Inglewood brought to us a heavy weight champ in the Geneva burger ring. Though they still have some work to do to clean up their service and floor management, their burgers (and their fries) are truly scrumptious and are brought to you in a dynamic and casual setting. Here’s how it breaks down:
The burger: In this sitting, we got to try the Cain Cain (bacon, cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato and BBQ sauce) to try some of the basic components and compare to the equivalent at Holy Cow, and the Honey Goat (bacon, goat cheese, honey, lettuce, mustard) to try one of their creative menu options). The overall experience in both cases was wholesomely delicious, from bun, to patty, to freshness and preparation of ingredients.
The beef patty they served was about 3cm thick and fit nicely tucked into a homemade poppyseed bun. The beef was of very good grade Swiss cows and cooked medium rare = exactly as a burger should be in my mind! The bun (pay attention now) possibly made the whole burger though. It is perfectly sized to fit all the ingredients into it, and it is soft and airy in the middle, while the crust is structured juuuuuust enough to keep the whole mess of sauces together without falling apart. Though I usually prefer sesame seed buns, this poppy seed topped one just might have converted me, as it lends a slight bitterness that, for whatever reason, makes these burgers distinctly Genevois 😉
Next up, the toppings: the bacon tends to be disappointing in Geneva, but this one stood out as being both tender and crisp, which they seemed to achieve by grilling the bacon rather than frying it. Bonus points on the health factor (ok ok ok, it’s still bacon. We get it. Live a little!) The cheese provided a tasty counter point to the bacon on the Cain Cain, though I wouldn’t rave about it. What was nice, especially for a tepid BBQ sauce appreciator like myself, is that the BBQ sauce was subtle. Unlike at the Holy Cow, I find it did not overwhelm the other ingredients.
Turning to the Honey Goat, although honey, goat cheese and mustard may seem like a crazy idea to locals, it is actually a New York deli staple (and yet another combo that I was never a big fan of!) In this case though, the grilled bacon and the goat cheese married beautifully. I found the mustard they used to be too acidic though and found myself wiping off some of the excess… at which point the honey was able to step up and show its true flavors, serving as a titillating counterpoint to the salty bacon and goat cheese. But then it was a bit on the dry side. My advice would be to find a slightly sweeter mustard that marries a bit more smoothly with the honey…. but really, an overall great alternative to the normal bacon and cheeseburger.
The fries: Alright, I am a french fry fanatic (how original, right?) My standards when it comes to this are…. shall we say….. exacting 🙂 These fries were an absolute joy to eat. They are so light, crisp and flavorful, you almost completely forget you are eating fries. They are cut “a l’ancienne” with the skin still on, and about the size of a MacDonald’s fry. The combination of the skin, the oil they use (peanut maybe?) and the perfect balancing of salt gives them a wonderful earthy flavor and a light, fluffy yet crisp consistency. Really, is there any more one could ask of a fry? Give me potato…
The dessert: Sorry folks. To be avoided. Dry brownie with store bought custard poured over it, or a dry looking cookie of some sort.. a real shame for a place that hits such high notes on every other scale! I am considering talking to the owners about rectifying this problem… until then, BYOC(hocolate)!
The menu: Inglewood made a smart move in designing their menu. The selection consists of 9 beef burger options, 4 chicken and 3 “special” burgers (including veggie, bison and salmon burgers), which gives them the opportunity to cover the classics, and throw in some well thought out creative concoctions. What I like is that their creative options all use somewhat classic flavor profiles. The Camorra gives roquette lovers their mozzarella/tomato/mayo pesto and balsamic combo, the diehard Swissies can have their raclette cheese and cornichons on the Valaisan, and if you’re travel bugging you can dip into the guacamole of the Mexicano or the feta, aubergine and tzatziki of the Ouranos. The chicken burgers have the Mexican corner covered as well, and also propose the Frobleu that just might convert the beef extremists with its roquefort, pear, grilled bacon AND mayo! Definitely one to test out next time around. Lest I let myself be tempted by the Nordique salmon/caper/dill mayo and lemon mix….. Yeah, I think I may have to go back once for each of these after all. AND (and and and and) don’t forget to try their burger of the month! They seem to use it wisely 🙂
The green factor: If the Holy Cow prides itself on 100% Swiss, Inglewood clearly came in through the back door to make their products 80% GENEVA (whose the patriot NOW, huh??) Beyond the meats, they don’t give a break down of what’s from where. I would be specially curious to find out where the salmon comes from. Though they don’t pretend that the products are grown sustainably, the fact that they are so local definitely supports local economy and dramatically reduces energy that would have been spent on shipping/transportation. I would also be curious to find out who makes the buns and with what flour… because seriously, those buns are just….
The setting: With rustic inspired but modern looking white tables and chairs, the place could be seen as a bit frigid… but it’s not, mostly because of the colorful and eclectic decor. Since we didn’t manage to get a reservation, we sat at the bar, which I usually don’t like doing… but in this case it felt right. The food is not particularly fast, so having a few beers and making it a bar experience is really quite nice.
Price/Quality: It’s very simple. For 15chf-20chf, you get 160g of meat served up in all sorts of delectable ways. They probably top up their income on the bar – a beer (also from Geneva) is 9chf and a glass of wine runs about 5chf. The service is youthful (read: 20 year olds) and very friendly (read: very casual). If you’re ok with a hint of unprofessionalism as a biproduct of being young, friendly and new to the business, then you’re in good shape!
In sum: Excellent for a delicious burger and fries in a casual, dynamic setting. Calamar, don’t even be trying to compete, you’ve been knocked out of this race. But word to the wise…. call at least one day in advance to reserve. This place is still a bit of a victim to its popularity, and until they get the floor management back in gear, be prepared to exercise a bit of patience. Oh, and consider staying healthy for once – skip dessert!