A few years ago if you had asked anyone for a burger recommendation in Joburg, without a doubt they would have said Dukes. The times have definitely changed with Dukes now facing stiff competition from The Wolfpack, Hudsons and Rocomamas.
When I think Greenside I think grunge. Dukes is certainly no different and definitely fits right in. The decor is much rather suited to night time setting. A couch lines the front wall of the restaurant with a mix of cheap plastic outdoor chairs and mismatched chairs with more character. Around the corner is a dark oddly shaped section lacking any atmosphere. The restaurant is small but I find it to be neither intimate or buzzing.
My previous occasions to Dukes have not got down well. I have tried the La Bella (R90), a lean lamb burger served with tomato, rocket, mozzarella cheese and cucumber. The patty was dry, tasteless and
in desperate need of sauce. The chic chick (R73), chicken fillet served with tomato, chopped basil, olive pesto, fried haloumi, tomato salsa and cucumber ribbons was equally bland. Undercooked, dry, flavourless and lacking seasoning pretty much summed up my previous experiences. Having seen it pop up on the Entertainer app I decided to give Dukes one last chance, this time in a non group setting.
The bf had “The Big Cheese”, a hearty beef patty with tomato relish, melted cheddar, mozzarella and feta topped with homemade gherkins and a cucumber ribbon for R78. The cheese combinations were a simple topping choice that helped bring out the flavour of the burger but can’t be considered a substitute for the mayo which it lacked. It was a well cooked patty with good not great flavour that should probably be ordered well done to avoid eating raw patty. The bf rated it 7/10, thought it better than The Wolfpack but wouldn’t eat it again. I approve of the chips here which are served in a portion enough for two.
I decided to play it safe and chose a simple burger this time around. “The Big Kahuna” has a chicken fillet with tomato relish served with grilled pineapple & onion, crispy bacon topped with melted cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, gherkins and a cucumber ribbon for R74. I asked for the burger to be BBQ basted without the bacon. It was definitely more edible than my previous visits, I didn’t like the bun they used so I stuck to just eating the chicken which wasn’t basted in BBQ sauce like I had asked. It’s quite funny because the bf and I usually agree on food. I hated the buns but he thought they were great homemade buns. My burger was just okay, nothing worth recommending or returning for.
Sweet potato fans will love the sweet potato fries which are sweet and melt in your mouth soft. The balsamic vinegar reduction on my plate really irritated me as it served no purpose other than to make both my cutlery and fingers impossibly sticky. I don’t eat beef but I have come to realize that it’s probably only beef burgers that can be good. Chicken and lamb just don’t quite translate the same way.
The one thing that Dukes does well at is offering you variety. With options including beef, chicken, ostrich, lamb and vegetarian, everyone can find something to try from the menu. There are a stupendous amount of burgers to choose from. I also love that they have collaborated with local artists to come up with their own burgers.
I believe that the people who love Dukes are those that pick quantity over quality and taste. Those who are not fussed about eating a proper burger because this certainly isn’t one where you can fit all the toppings in one bite. A burger plus side for R74 is a good deal if you value price over taste. The safest choice here is to pick something simple and make sure it comes with mayo. I personally think a better vibe and burgers can be had at The Wolfpack or Hudsons.
Ring: (011) 486 0824
Hop: 14 Gleneagles Road, Greenside
Burgers & Fries,