Burgers go gourmet: Pink Bicycle

I love a good burger, and am always on the hunt for a great one. Having heard some good things about Victoria’s first restaurant specializing in burgers, I decided to give the Pink Bicycle a try.

Aside from the usual beef and chicken, the menu offers some more adventurous options for the carnivore including lamb and mutton.  There are also several interesting vegetarian choices, including the Portobello Burger and Moroccan Veggie Burger made of garbanzo beans and dates.

While the Blue Cheese Lamb Burger was tempting, my companion decided to try the less common Mutton Burger our waitperson recommended.  I had the Pink Bike Cheese Burger, a triple-A certified Angus beef topped with smoked cheddar.  The mutton was lean and beautifully seasoned with a little kick, the richness of the meat balanced nicely by the sharp Gruyère cheese.  My beef was a nice solid cheeseburger on a Bond-bonds Bakery sesame bun.  Both came with a choice of sides; we had the fries, which were crisp and delicious.  While the mutton was exceptional, I wouldn’t endorse their classic as the best I’ve ever had.

It is not a large space, but well decorated in a modern and spare style which compliments the posh burger menu.  I am a huge fan of Vera’s Burger Shack, a small chain of burger joints in Vancouver.  Their tagline is “you can’t beat Vera’s meat” and while their food lives up to the hype – the decor keeps them strictly fast-food or take-out.  By contrast, the Pink Bicycle is the kind of place you wouldn’t feel embarassed to take someone out on a date.

Now the bad news.  I am rarely one to let service decide whether I eat somewhere, and am generally willing to put up with some neglect and brusqueness in favour of great food, but this place just might be the exception to the rule.  The first time we ate there, we were put off by a server who was far more interested in the personal conversation she was carrying on with several acquaintances at the only other inhabited table than in helping us, but another staff member stepped in and redeemed the service with her warm smile and efficient help.  The second and last time we wanted to eat here, we actually left to eat elsewhere.  This place is busy and I don’t mind waiting, but we were one of 3 parties that stood at the door in excess of 30 minutes while several tables sat empty right in front of us.  We counted no less than 4 floor staff circulating through this very small room, not one of which would deign to clear the tables and seat prospective diners.  Or even acknowledge us, except to shoo us aside when passing through to the upstairs kitchen.   It was no surprise to me when a couple sitting at the window next to where we stood left without food after waiting an hour.

With less than 20 small tables to serve and more than ample service staff, this kind of neglect borders on abuse.  It seems early days in this competitive foodie town to treat customers like you’re too cool to care, IMHO.

We went down the block to Valentino’s for a burger & beer for $12.  Their burger selection and diner style can’t match Pink Bicycle, but we were seated promptly, treated well, and enjoyed our meal.

Fellow blogger Vicburgers recommends Glo for the best burger in town – minus the attitude.  Stay tuned for that report!

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~ by Dee's Cheap Eats on January 16, 2010.

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