Anyone who visited this year's Karachi Eat, the city's biggest food festival at Frere Hall, has surely heard of Jucy Lucy.
Their cheese-stuffed, perfectly marinated patties, house sauce and fresh arugula made them one of the most popular stalls at the event. When I found out they had opened up an eatery that was ready to provide this cheesy goodness all year round, I was ecstatic!
Rayyan Durrani, the man behind the latest burger joint on the block, explains why he opened a place that does 'just burgers and hot dogs': "In terms of burgers in Karachi, it’s an ever-growing, ever-expanding fast-food staple which has great potential for growth when done right and I wanted to tap into that."
No stranger to the demanding world of hungry foodies of Karachi, Rayaan, who has already given us Simple Dimple and is a prominent partner in the ALWAYS PACKED Loco, just wants to stay busy and take advantage of the on-going growth of the city's food craze.
Psst, if you're wondering where you've heard that name before, he also appeared in the first ever Master Chef Pakistan.
Where to go
You'll spot the little eatery right behind the Thailand Embassy on 3rd street of the Khyaban-e-Nishat and Bukhari junction in Phase 6. I really like what they've done with the space.
Wooden chairs set in front of a bright yellow window wall with bar stools gave it a fun, upbeat vibe. Picture of burgers along with their classic red logo made it seem cosy and inviting while at the same time providing a funky balance to the place. It is, however, on the smaller side and can get a little congested during peak hours.
When to go
Jucy Lucy is open six days a week from 12:30pm till 11pm.
What to eat
Having had been a broke college student, the famous one dollar hot dogs of New York and Los Angeles got me through many late night ‘study sessions’. Jucy Lucy has done their own rendition of this called the Slot Dog which was a pleasant surprise! There was a good balance of relish, onions, mayo and mustard on top of a premium full-length sausage, encased in a white bread bun.
I had a mini foodgasm based solely on the fact that it was not a K&N sausage in a Dawn bun with a slice of Craft cheese slapped on. A real, actual hot dog, with caramelised onions and everything! That being said, the bread was a little on the stodgy side, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
And I think it’s the best hot dog available in Karachi. Not that there is much competition but still.
Now coming to the main attraction: the cheese stuffed meat monster burger. Unfortunately, the quality of cheese used was not as good as the one they used at Karachi Eat. I remember clearly that they used Gouda cheese at Karachi Eat. It could be possible they have downgraded because of the larger scale they are now producing at or due to the fact our beloved lazy city LOVES their take-out and home delivery. Gouda would not fare well in the delivery process.
The meat did not have the same well-marinated tenderness either and because of the thickness needed for the cheese stuffing, I felt it took away from the simple garnish. The fresh, natural flavour of the rocket and house sauce was overpowered by its sheer...meatiness. The beef bacon was of excellent quality, crispy, chewy in the right places and yet not fried to the point of flakiness. It was yummy no doubt, but not on the same level what they were serving at their Karachi Eat stall.
The one thing though that has been consistently amazing about Jucy Lucy is the level of Master Chef (unsurprisingly) perfection to which the meat has been chargrilled. There are a few seconds where the meat reaches optimum grilled perfection to keep all the juices in without undercooking it and when I’ve had the burger subsequently from my first visit, I’ve always found this to be the case.
The fries were NOT my favourite and were seriously under seasoned. The beans were a nice addition but did not help mask the blandness of the thick cut fries. On the other hand, the onion rings were a whole different story and a total game changer in terms of the batter they use! No sad bits of soggy onion spilling out, but a fully crusted and well-coated crisp ring of yum. I definitely recommend you do not ignore these bad boys when visiting Jucy Lucy.
When I went back for the hot dog, I saw they had a chargrilled chicken burger. Now before you all go up in arms about how a chicken burger is not a real burger, I fully agree. But still, food I have not tried and from a place that has brought a decent hot dog to Karachi definitely warrants a taste test.
The chicken burger was pretty average but because it did not have the same thick, meaty quality as its beef counterpart, I felt the garnish and sauce definitely stood out more. You could taste and feel the texture of the arugula and genuinely get an idea of the different flavours of their house sauce.
It was also grilled to my liking. Well-cooked without being rubbery with just the right amount of crunch provided by the tomatoes.
Damage on the pocket
The restaurant does fall a bit on the pricey side, with the burgers costing over Rs650 a pop and the hot dog being Rs450. Still, they're pretty filling so I was patting my food baby happily when the meal was over. No buyer's remorse here!