Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Burger Hub Review: Take Two

Exactly one year ago I wrote a rather long, rather thorough review of the Burger Hub in Kuwait City. In that review, I presented a point-by-point assessment of what I considered to be constructive criticism for a place that showed a tremendous amount of potential, but that I thought just missed the mark in a few key areas. Well, after hearing from several people that they had really improved, I decided to go back yesterday with some friends to try it again. And I am really glad I did.

First off, they now have outside seating which is really nice (although it's too hot to enjoy right now). It helps take care of some of the space issues (in my last review I mentioned that the bar wasted a lot of space that could otherwise be used for seating). Also, this time the bar seemed smaller than before. I'm not sure what they did differently but the interior space seemed better coordinated. Anyway, on to the important issues.

The service was a drastic improvement. The staff was friendly, efficient, and seemed to really care about the place, which is important. Our waiter was named Reagan, and if I'm not mistaken he was the same man I mentioned at the end of my review from last year who I really liked - and he was great this time too. The rest of the waiters this time were also excellent.

Another major improvement I noticed was with regard to their branding. I'm still not thrilled with their logo, but they have since changed their placemats, menus, etc. The placemats and take-out boxes are really nice. The menu still has a few type-o's and seems to have been done more haphazardly than the other printed items, but it is still a dramatic improvement from last year.* And the clipboard (to which each menu is attached) is a nice touch. The new branding materials finally standardize the colour scheme and create a single identity concept across the board. Oh, and the English text has been edited!

And the most significant improvement: the food. Our food this time was excellent. The meat was much better than it was last year, as was the bread. I can't remember the name of the burger that I ordered but it came from the "classics" section and had mushrooms in it. Overall, I would say that the burger was one of the best I've tasted in Kuwait. If you read my review from last year, you'll notice that's a major change in perspective on my part!

There were still some aspects of the interior design that I wasn't to keen on (i.e. the textured walls and the porcelain eyesore in the toilet), but now that there were so many other improvements, they were barely noticeable to me. It just goes to show that a little extra added effort here and there can create a dramatic overall effect. I loved all their different serving dishes, which I didn't mention last time. I'm not sure how many of them are new and how many were used last year as well, but when you're otherwise happy - with good service, good food, and a music volume that is satisfying to the eardrums - you become more inclined to notice the positives.

I must doff my hat to the guy(s?) who run this place. I have no idea whether or not they read my review from last year, but it seems like they really identified some of the areas that needed improvement, and worked on them. From what I hear, the place is always crowded, and I'm really happy about that. And once again, I must mention that I am really proud of the fact that this place is a homegrown private venture done by young Kuwaitis who decided to risk it all and go their own way. In a country that is so totally franchise-obsessed, I absolutely love seeing local businesses like this succeed. Now that there are quite a few small places like this opening, I think I will officially boycott anywhere that is a non-local establishment (except Johnny Rockets of course).

Kudos, Burger Hub people, whoever you are!

* Update: The menu has also changed since I wrote this post and it is yet another major improvement. It looks much better now, and goes well with the rest of the printed stuff. (Oct. 9, 2007)


  • Welcome back! I always get confused by the names of all the burger places. I've been to Burger Hub once and didn't see what the fuss was about. I don't get the whole burger craze.

    By Anonymous Tooomz, at 8/30/2007 6:52 pm  

  • Johny Rockets was, is and will be Da bomb. I remember when I was younger and when all my friends were single, we used to have lunch there on Friday afternoons, it was really quiet and we enjoyed the atmosphere.

    By Blogger Traveleer, at 9/02/2007 11:26 am  

  • Still catching all the typos, ey?
    Just kidding- an excellent habit :-)

    Hope you're well. Miss you loads!

    By Anonymous Harmonie22, at 9/04/2007 1:17 pm  

  • Nice to hear that...it seems you became more objective & more stable & not emotional with last year anger & mixed jealousy feelings.I thought also you 've been paid last year by a boyfriend or a girlfriend??? Happy Halloween

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/20/2007 3:50 am  

  • Tooomz: Yeah, there is quite a burger craze going on in Kuwait these days. And a mini-burger crazy especially. I certainly didn't see what the fuss was about when I first went to BH, but it has really improved and the burgers are now really good. Worth checking out a second time. Maybe we can all go sometime this week together.

    Traveleer: JR is the best, for sure. I still go there around once or twice a month. I still prefer the atmosphere in the original location best. The one near Salhiya is not bad either. But I hate the crowd that goes to the Marina one (actually, that goes for all of Marina!).

    Harmonie22: Yes, I am a typo junkie! :) Miss you loads too!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/20/2007 2:09 pm  

  • Anonymous: What on earth are you talking about? First of all, an OPINION is, by definition, never objective. Therefore, both last year's review and this year's are both entirely SUBJECTIVE and based solely on my own opinions and experiences. I think that needs to be clarified because I don't think you really understand the meaning of the word "objective", nor of "review".

    As for being "more stable" and "not emotional" as compared with last year's "anger" and "mixed jealousy feelings", where did you get all that from? I think you have problems reading and properly understanding the content and tone of things you read. I was not angry or emotional, I was simply stating an opinion based on my own experiences. Yes, my first visit was very disappointing, and I reviewed the place accordingly. As for jealousy, again I don't think you know how to read properly. Throughout my old post I clearly said that I was very proud of the place and saw a lot of potential in it, and was highlighting the areas in which I saw some fundamental flaws for the purposes of improvement. Jealous people, by definition, don't want to see other people succeed, whereas I clearly stated that I hoped BH did succeed. Also, several people actually agreed with my original review, both in the comments section and people I spoke to in real life. And the owners themselves obviously shared some of my critical observations (whether they read my review or not) because they ended up changing precisely some of the issues I raised - such as the branding, the text editing, and even culinary improvements like the bread. Now, this new review is based on my experience after these many changes were made, and is just as subjective as the last one.

    I totally did not understand your last statement about being paid by a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Paid for what, my review? I don't get it. Why would someone pay me to write a critical review? And why a boyfriend/girlfriend? That part just didn't make sense at all.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/20/2007 2:23 pm  

  • HI! I just love your review. I have been following reviews for many of the Epicure group restaurants and I am always appalled by how many people dont know the definition of constructive critisicm. In my humble opinion and even though I loooove burger hub, you are the only blogger to date that writes so respectfully of his opinion. Ofcourse, the Internet is an open media (for teh most part) and people are allowed to be as nasty or as biased as they would like. But to actually take the time to write a review that is both honest and respectful is truly a feat! I know for a fact that any proprioter would be glad to read your reviews whether positive or negative. Keep up the good work, sir/madam. Have a great day! (excuse the spelling mistakes, second language speaker that cant turn on her spell check!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/30/2010 11:49 pm  

  • Hi there. Thank you for your kind comments! To me a review, even if expressing a negative experience, should always be even-handed and honest. And since writing this follow-up review Burger Hub has actually turned into my second favourite restaurant in Kuwait (the first being Edo). I haven't been there in a few months but I can honestly say that it's one of the few places in Kuwait whose standard hasn't gone down and in fact just keeps getting better. That to me is the sign of a successful business. Better to start off shaky and keep improving than start off well and go downhill from there (which so many places tend to do). Another thing I love about Burger Hub is the staff - they really love the place and care about its success, and treat their customers well.

    Anyway, thanks again for your generous review of my review! And your spelling and English were absolutely fine without spell check! :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 1/31/2010 12:10 am  

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