When it comes to food, I’m not a difficult gal to please – give me a juicy burger, fries, and a shake and I’ll be as happy as a clam. Yes sure, I love a good 5-star dining experience but the kid in me could eat burgers and fries every day. My love of burgers and shakes definitely comes from childhood memories heading to the roadhouse with my family and as I remember it those burgers and shakes were the best I have ever had. They tasted like happiness and carefree fun which is why when I’m heading to a new burger spot I always love to see a little bit of a nod to the burger joints and roadhouses I grew up with. Gibson’s is that kind of place for me – while it may look slick and modern it’s got the heart of an old-school burger joint where the order of the day was great food and good times. If you haven’t been to Gibson’s at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town yet then let me just say now is the time! That’s right, I dare you (double dare you) to read this review and look at the pictures of the yummy treats on offer and not make a plan to visit this weekend.
The sister restaurant to oh-so-fabulous Belthazar, Gibsons Gourmet Burgers & Ribs is well known for its oh-so-delicious gourmet burgers. Burgers are a big deal at this spot and customers in the know often line up at the door to get a taste of burger perfection (in fact, the line is often out the door and 5, 10 people deep). Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the menu offers an almost endless list of gourmet burgers to try. There are so many that you simply cannot visit once, because each time you visit you find yet another burger or two that you HAVE to try, and before you know it you’ve visited twice in one week (yes, I visited twice in one week, I’m not even sorry).
The menu lists the burgers under three categories: Gourmet, Designer and Roll’s Royce Burgers and you can choose from delights such as the Banting Burger (a classic burger patty topped with cheddar or swiss cheese, feta, avo, and bacon and served with a side of coleslaw and Cali-mash – R125), Mr Chutney (a classic burger topped with cheddar, chutney, and bacon – R109), and the Upmarket Doll (classic burger served with cranberry and camembert sauce – R135). All the burgers are served with thick cut potato fries, sweet potato fries, or baked potato.
Because I adore chutney (I’m South African, how can I not?) I opted to go for the Mr Chutney and what a good choice it was! The burger was delightfully juicy and almost as big as my head! I also love that they give you the choice to have half-and-half sweet potato and regular potato fries so of course, I went for that option. While R109 might seem steep for a burger and chips it’s completely worth it as this spot – the burger was huge and full of flavour and you feel like you are getting your money’s worth indeed.
The boyfriend decided to skip the burgers (shocking) and opted for ribs instead. But I couldn’t judge him for too long because then we found out that Gibson’s also pride themselves on serving some of the best ribs in town. Diners can choose from pork, beef and lamb ribs, all marinated in their special smokey BBQ sauce. He chose to go for the Smoked BBQ Pork Baby Back Ribs (600g – R170) (which I stole a bite of) and I must say, he made a great choice. The ribs were tasty and oh-so-tender and come with a side of thick cut fries as well, making it a great sized meal for a growing man.
I must also confess that I started off my meal with the Gibson’s legendary Onion Blossom (their signature giant onion seasoned and deep fried, served with a secret sauce – R45). I just had to try this starter because everyone I know that had already been to Gibson’s told me I simply could not visit without trying it. While the onion blossom might not be the perfect starter choice for everyone (it’s super oniony) I absolutely loved it! I love fried onions and onion rings and this was like onion rings on steroids. The crispy bits of onion on the top of the blossom are the stuff dreams are made of but be careful, this delight is far too large for one person to eat on their own so make sure you order it as a group starter.
And lastly, a visit to Gibson’s is not complete without trying one of their 52 different gourmet milkshakes – yes, that’s right 52! Choosing just one shake is a bit like Sophie’s Choice but the boyfriend and I managed to agree on one to share as dessert. I love that Gibson’s offers all the shakes on the menu as regular sized and in an extra big ‘Lover’s Glass’ with two straws for R10 more. The milkshake menu includes options like the Salted Caramel (vanilla ice cream with salted caramel toffee – R50), Cinnamon Doughnut (cinnamon doughnuts and vanilla ice cream – R60), and Lindt (real Lindt chocolate and chocolate ice cream – R45).
After much deliberation, we opted for the Cinnamon Doughnut in a ‘Lover’s Glass’ and were super surprised when the shake arrived with a full-sized doughnut on top! The doughnut was sweet, moist and soft and the shake super creamy and decadent. I would definitely recommend this as a must-try if you’re planning on visiting soon.