New Delhi has a new burger delivery brand. Early-bird tasters are deeming it the best burger in town. Poems are being written about the buns; heaps of cheeky innuendo. Songs are being dedicated to express feelings as it robs burger lovers of speech. Which is all well and good.
We, on the other hand, spotted something else. CHARD isn’t just a burger brand, oh no sir. CHARD is a public display of affection towards a grill. It’s a true love story for charcoal cooking. And like every great love story, this too is complex, hot, messy and frustratingly great.
See, the thing about cooking on a charcoal grill is the minimal room for error. No amount of Sriracha mayo can hide the flaws and inconsistencies. This method of cooking isn’t for those easily distracted by animal memes. A charcoal-fired grill demands your focus, presence, understanding the intricacies of temperature, searing, texture and that perfect flip.
CHARD is the latest concept by Hanisha Singh and Jamsheed Bhote, who enjoy a cult-like following courtesy Plats (also a Power Packers awardee). The brand offers an expansive range of delivery-friendly burgers, grilled chicken and sides. Jamsheed shares, “We wanted to offer the greatest burgers from across the globe, the way we love it. It’s hard to mimic that great char, unless cooked off the grill!”
True to form, they’re sourcing quality ingredients and treating them in their inimitable style. One bite in and we’re committed to this serenade-in-the-form-of-a-patty. It gets better – the bread, marinade, dip, dressing is made from scratch. Let’s talk buns, shall we? Whilst you fetch your mind out of the gutter, these burger buns are the best in the business. We’re placing a substantial wager on a boulangerie vertical (just do it). If, like us, bun:filling ratios hold great value, then this.is.it. folks. These are light, fluffy, large (size, always matters), have a faint sweetness and bounce just right (really, bring your mind back to these burgers). They junk the typical butter paper covering for a half-open branded sleeve which is then placed in a spacious container with vents that prevents the burger going soggy during transit.
Whilst CHARD maps the global-bests on their burger menu, India’s food consumption map is witnessing a tectonic shift in purchasing habits. India’s Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) market is projected to grow at 18% CAGR, where a scalable chain model is pegged to be the highest growing sub-segment in the food services market. This is powered by a c. 370 million strong millennial base that seeks frequency, ease and variety in food. Singh and Bhote’s entry to this casual-and-quick dining segment is well-timed and thought through.
The CHARD non-vegetarian offerings showcase freshly pounded, delightful meat:fat ratio, grilled beautifully on a Josper. The sizes are generous – pick any burger and you’ll notice double the meat, a crispy beet patty that requires a two-hand grab, a complimentary side of skin-on thick-cut fries. The Peri-Peri Chook (holy moly) comes with charred corn on the cob, jacket potato, slaw and hot sauce.
Bonjour (Rs. 545), a smoky lamb burger with slow-braised pulled lamb, lamb jus and sautéed onions is what we’d like to say hello to every weekend. The Pork Bun Cha (Rs. 495) is a Vietnamese spiced burger that comes with a chilli caramel Sriracha that they should bottle and sell. The Philly Melt (Rs. 525) is a generous tenderloin burger with grilled steak, caramelised onions, mushroom and cream cheese. The Crispy Beet (Rs. 375) and The Shroom Steak (Rs. 425) are easily the best plant-based burgers in town. The descriptors may sound overwhelming, but it comes together like a perfect symphony. This multiple-ingredient-rule sounds obvious on paper, but often nixed in actual execution.
Is there one thing we’d edit? The word, gourmet. If you’re familiar with Hanisha and Jamsheed’s cooking, then you know their work triangulates quality, refined technique and balance. Three words neatly summarised into an often abused term, ‘gourmet’. When quality is embedded into your culinary DNA, this tautology can be rendered defunct.
So, jumping back to the very start. Is this the best burger you’ll eat? Possibly.
Is this a blockbuster love story for a grill-flip? Most certainly.
Grilling from – 12.30pm to 10.30pm