One life to celebrate!
Cuisine: American fastfood
Location: Select Citywalk, Saket, New Delhi
Do you remember your first burger? I had mine in school in Lucknow, and it consisted of a tiny bun, a small aloo tikki, a thin slice of onion and a water-y imli chutney. The old lady who made them at home sold each for one rupee, (it was the ‘90s) and I LOVED them.
When McDonalds came into India, these home-style burgers were quickly forgotten, and having a burger became synonymous with a visit to this chain. However, in my opinion, there is only so much ‘Mc’ stuff that one can eat…and even with all the Indian variations they introduced, I don’t like the food that much. Though they’ve kept the prices low (there’s a burger at Rs 25 also), the size of the burger is also really small…two bites and it’s finished.
What then is a good burger?
I thought the newly opened Johnny Rockets (JH) in Saket would give me the answer. Honestly, I was not aware of the brand when they opened, but as my sister, who has travelled extensively in the US, had liked their burgers, I decided to pay them a visit.
Don’t know how this name came about, but JH is the quintessential vintage American diner, bright and cheery, with typical “booths”, individual jukebox stations and staff dressed in white military-inspired uniforms. You would have seen such diners in old American movies or comic books. The menu comprises of burgers, hot dogs, wraps and shakes. There are also many side dishes like onion rings, mozzarella sticks, cheese fries, chicken wings and sausages.
We decided to go with the Original Chicken burger (Rs. 375), the panko paneer wrap (Rs. 375) and decided to split a strawberry-banana shake (Rs. 250). There was an option to choose from two sides for each dish and we chose a side salad and French fries. For my niece, we ordered a meal from the kid’s menu – mini chicken hot dogs, fries and a strawberry shake (Rs. 275). Yeah, it’s expensive!
Alas! With sky-high expectations, I was slightly disappointed. No, there was nothing wrong with the food, but it wasn’t sensational either! The Original burger had a large bun, with a roasted chicken patty, the usual onions, tomatoes, lettuce, besides pickle, mustard and mayo. It wasn’t bad, but I’ve tasted similar stuff elsewhere as well. The paneer wrap was also BIG and very generous with paneer, cheese, tomatoes, capsicum and a signature “red red sauce”. For a paneer lover, the wrap was gratifying, but the red sauce was too ketchup-y for me and almost made it very sour to eat.
So while I was expecting a whirlpool, I just got tepid water. Still, I’ll be going back to JH and here’s why:
1. The shakes – simply put – TO DIE FOR. Thick, creamy, strawberries and bananas hand-blended to heaven, the malt added that delicious texture, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. They also give you the extra shake from the shaker. So drink up, experience heaven and forget about everything else!
2. Fries – maybe it’s just me, I’m so done with frozen fries that I had just stopped eating them. But the fries here are something else – chunkier than other versions, crisp and very well seasoned. I relished them even after they had turned cold.
3. The service – Truly exceptional. They genuinely seemed happy to see us, and were extremely polite. The server was really really patient while explaining our order and made sure we were comfortable. All this with a smile and an extremely hospitable attitude. Twice during our visit, they suddenly broke into a song-and-dance and grooved to a peppy number. But not once did they flinch or seem embarrassed. They enjoyed it so much that we did too. I was very happy with the service and I’ll them five stars!
So overall, there were some exceptional moments at Johnny Rockets and I enjoyed a heavy meal. I will go back and maybe order something else and then decide. But do try it once. And don’t miss that shake!