The Ultimate Beef Show recently ran their Ultimate Beef Challenge in Johannesburg and the taste-off – in categories like colour, taste, texture and mouth-feel – resulted in a unanimous winner: Wagyu beef. Wagyu hail from Japan and the term refers to a number of Japanese breeds, the most famous exponent being Kobe, which are famously fed on beer and given massages for the last part of their fattening process. Wagyu is sold as the ultimate steak in most restaurants and carries a price premium (in Johannesburg you can taste it at The Butchershop and Grill); so it was with surprise that I found a Wagyu burger on the menu at one of Cape Town’s longest running casual burger joints, Royale Eatery on Long Street. At just over R100, the premium was there, but not absurdly so, and the patty was a very flavoursome one, also a lot richer than most. Royale is anecdotally one of the best burger outlets in town, and the choice is vast, but I again found that the quality was variable and the burgers (notwithstanding the Wagyu) are not in the league of newcomers like Hudson’s, Clarke’s and Gibson’s. Fries are poor, and even more ordinary are the low quality buns, untoasted. Nevertheless, it’s on a buzzing strip of Long Street and its mixed clientèle of young travellers and locals gives it an inner city “real” feel. The service, soundtrack and craft beers are also fun.
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Street Food meets Best in Beef