During my almost 6 years in Bulgaria, finding a great burger in Sofia was my Moby Dick. I followed every recommendation I was offered about the best burger in Sofia or Bulgaria for that matter only to be consistently dissapointed. These suggestions were not completely off base, but they were exactly what they said, “best burger in Sofia” meaning just that it was the best Sofia had to offer. I asked myself, was it a good burger outside the Bulgarian boarder, no, but it sustained my yearning till my next trip to the US. Then a little birdie suggested Boom Burger N Steaks…
When you go to Boom Burger, you are there for just that… a burger. The menu is small and the owners Tom Malloy and Adel Zakout, founders of OpenBuildings.com & Despark.com, want to keep it that way. Their goal is to focus on the burgers and make them great; not just the best burger in Sofia, but a burger that could hold it’s own in London or elsewhere. The concept of the place is hip, clean and classic burgers. When the owner are both trained as architects, you would not expect anything less than good design. The straighforwardness of the interior mirrors that of the menu.
The premise is simple… hamburgers, but Zagout says “the devil is in the details”, which is a popular idiom coined by Mies van der Rohe, considered one of the fathers of modern architecture. Personally, the biggest challenge I have faced with creating a good burger at home or even finding one out and about is the quality of the beef… good beef is almost non-existent in Bulgaria, but in general Bulgarians prefer pork as their primary carnivorous staple. This too was an obstacle for Malloy and Zagout, who tried over 100kg of Bulgarian beef before they decided outsource their bovine need to Ireland, but the buns are made fresh locally and daily.
My first experience with Boom Burger was a bit precarious. On the menu they state that all burgers come medium, but you can request how you want it done. I like my burgers medium rare, so that is how I ordered it, but when the burger arrived it was straight out rare! It the burger fell apart in hands and it was just disappointing. My husband who ordered his straight off the menu was happy. The flavors were good and it was obvious that the meat quality was high, but the temperature and density were off. I was relaying my experience to a friend and he was a bit shocked that I made such a rookie mistake. My error being that I forgot the rule of Bulgarian meat cookery. The general guideline is that for all beef, chef tend to cook one level lower and for pork they cook one level above culinary standard. The other point of contention was the unmelted cheese… The melting brings out the aroma of the cheese and the creamy mouthfeel, which is just what you expect from a good burger.
Lesson learned, I returned a few days later and knew that it was not about the quality of the ingredients, it was knowing how to order. This time around, I accepted the medium level of doneness offered on the menu, but requested that the cheese be melted on the burger, while cooking. Night and day! It was what I was looking for… craving satisfied!
To round out their simple menu they offer hand-cut fries and onion rings. They are promising, but not top notch. I find that Bulgaria doesn’t have an abundance of high starch potatoes, such as the Burbank russet. You need a high starch potato to get the perfect crispness on the outside and fluffy texture on the inside. A double frying process also helps to achieve that goal with the right potatoes. Onion rings are a fickle beast. If they are interested I have a great recipe for beer battered onion rings that I would be willing to share 🙂
Sides aside, you go there for the burger. They’re early opening time is perfect when you roll out of bed at 11am and are in need for a juicy burger to chase away the debauchery of the night before or just a casual night out for burgers and beers. The price points are a bit high for the average schmo on an ordinary Bulgarian salary, but it is worth the occasional splurge or habitual indulgence.
15 Kurnigradska, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Hours: Mon – Sun: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Phone 089 442 0440