Sink your teeth into a Banks
Old school American diner meets trendy suburban take-away and restaurant. Situated in the popular Dean Street in Newlands, Banks Burger is the home of the original hamburger. Tuck into the most scrumptious sweet potato fries this city has to offer and be prepared to return time and time again for more lip-smackingly good grub. And their milkshakes are guaranteed to bring all the boys to their yard!
Three course meal…
I spent a lot of time playing board games when I was younger. I was particularly fond of Monopoly. I always wanted to be the banker, so that I could count the notes and neatly arrange them in multi-coloured piles on the carpet. Although I loved the process of disbursing and receiving money from the other players (aka my parents), I never wanted to spend big money on the expensive properties.
Those two dark blue ones on the one corner of the Monopoly board. Eloff Street and Jan Smuts Avenue. If you were a savvy player, you would save all your paper money and buy these two properties at the first possible opportunity, as you’d imagine they would render a very good return in the long run. I was more worried about not spending too much money at once, and always settled for the homely two brown properties at the other side of the “begin” block. Gillespie and Musgrave Roads. I proudly held onto them tightly, patiently waiting for my mom and dad to pass begin.
The longer we’d play, the more money I’d make off these two streets; the small, humble properties in a neighbourhood of expensive estates. I could afford to build multiple houses quicker, and upgrade them to hotels sooner. The money was rolling in. I believed I had the winning recipe for Monopoly. Everyone needed to pass “begin” at some point, right?!
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that Banks Burger is like the Musgrave Road of Dean Street. Hosting a handful of Cape Town’s finest restaurants, I always considered Dean Street a little bit out of my league. Except of course Butler’s Pizza on the corner with Main Road – that was as close as I’m getting to Dean Street dining!
Until my husband came home a few weeks back after a lunch with his work colleagues. They are always looking for “man-food” close to work that won’t dig too deep into their pockets as there’s quite a group of them. He told me about this tiny burger joint on Dean Street, that only has a handful of tables, but the most amazing burgers and sweet potato fries. Their 13-man party filled the whole restaurant, with some of them needing to eat at the bar counter. The way he described the food and vibe of Banks Burger convinced me that I need to investigate further. I am a sucker for a good burger, and am quite fussy about where I eat them. Target locked engaged…
So we went one lunch time after a movie. I was ravenous and hoping for a good burger. We found parking quite easy in front of the arcade in Dean Street, and it’s literally just a few paces up from there. It’s the cutest little shopfront; I immediately felt drawn to the clean lines and clever, vibrant use of colour. Everything was a crisp white, with splashes of aqua and tangerine to accentuate the décor elements. I would call it chic retro, which complements the "good ol’ days" feel of the menu items.
As you step inside, you’re greeted by a clean, open, large-ish dining area, with about 6 tables of two’s. A beautiful wooden counter and semi-open kitchen. That’s it. An eye-catching LED menu board announces the small, but proud, selection of burgers and sides. And don’t forget the cluster of friendly staff behind the counter!
We placed our order: because I was feeling indulgent, I chose the double jalaween burger with a side order of sweet potato fries and a chocolate milkshake. I have no idea when last I had a milkshake! Karl opted for the double cheeseburger and sweet potato fries. You can choose between single, double or triple burgers, and there’s even a “Buddy Burger” for the kiddies.
I had second thoughts about my choice; I’ve never been a fan of creamy sauces and a ranch dressing was really at the bottom of my list of to-eats. But I wanted the spicy pickled jalapenos that comes with it! We sat down with our drinks, taking in the surroundings. Take-aways were constantly flying out the door via Mr. Delivery, people were walking in and picking up burgers to eat at home, a small family settled down for lunch. There was a pleasant, constant buzz and the chatter from the kitchen added to the atmosphere.
I took a giant gulp of my milkshake and then another and another and…I reached the bottom of my cup! It was delicious; creamy and sweet and chocolatey, with a confident handful of vermicelli on top. I wanted, no craved (!) more of this American milky vibes, but decided to show some restraint. Best. Milkshake. Ever.
Our food arrived promptly in cute little plastic food baskets, mimicking the classic American diner style of serving hamburgers, hotdogs and fries. There was a mountain of freshly fried sweet potato chips hugging my picture-perfect double burger, and for a minute, just a brief minute, I thought I ordered way too much food. That thought passed very quickly as I tucked into the perfectly salted fries and excitedly bit into my burger. Because the burger itself is made of quality coarsely ground beef, rather than processed shoe-box cardboard, the ranch dressing seeped into the patty, adding just the right amount of creaminess to cut through the tingling bite of the jalapeno peppers. It was a feast!
Everything is home-made; from the pickle to the burger to the fries and even the gorgeously light brioche bread bun. No preservatives or additives here! For a while we didn’t speak; our eyes only met a few times above our burgers. At that point words would’ve been overrated.
I love Banks Burger’s simplistic and clean business model. It’s clever and put together with love, passion and dedication. Banks Burger has so many things going for them; quick and efficient service, an awesome team, affordability, quality products and delivery or take-away options. Most of all, it’s junk food joint that doesn’t leave you hating yourself for consuming a week’s worth of calories in one bite. They make junk food trendy; they turn the diner dinner into a festival of indulgence.
Another offering that is definitely worth a mention, is their Wednesday burger special. Grab a burger, side and drink for only R50! That’s an absolute steal. Couple that with a huddle of hungry after-school boys from the neighbouring school and you’re winning the game. Whilst everyone is saving to buy Jan Smuts Avenue and Eloff Street, Banks Burger is cashing in steadily all the way.
All in all, a review I’m very excited to share. Banks Burger is a very welcome addition to Dean Street and the larger Cape Town area. It also happens to be conveniently located on my way home from work. I have a sneaky suspicion that these classic, more-ish burgers might become an institution in The Little Hedonist household, as Banks Burger leaves you craving for more.
Meet Amilinda Wilkinson
Amilinda Wilkinson is a small town girl with big dreams. She is a nature geek, total foodie, devoted wife and mother to furry children. When she's not at the office, she explores, writes about, photographs and indulges in this fragile adventure we call life.
Read more from Amilinda on her blog The Little Hedonist.