Foie gras, surf ‘n’ turf and colorful buns
When it comes to burgers in Shanghai, this city does not play around, with plenty of serious contenders who are constantly upping their game in the fight to create the best burger in town. With such heavy competition, things might seem a little daunting for newcomers, however, Sunny’s Burgerland, a compact new eatery sporting brightly colored buns, has all the confidence of a seasoned burger baron.
Sunny’s is spearheaded by Haiwen, an enthusiastic newcomer restaurateur. Behind the burger creations is Jeno Racz, the chef de cuisine at Michelin-starred Taian Table. The two previously set up Lick It, a gourmet ice cream pop-up on Changle Lu. This time around, they’re focusing on budget-friendly burgers, offering inventive variation using high-quality Australian Angus beef, all while managing to undercut the prices of their more famous competitors.
They currently offer seven different burgers with more on the way, ranging from about RMB60 to RMB88. You get to choose between a “butter”, “beetroot” and “bamboo charcoal” bun, brightly colored tops that exist to make your meal more social-media-friendly rather than actually enhance the flavor.
The Amigo Burger (RMB68) is Sunny’s take on a Mexican burger. It comes adorned with a customary layer of smashed avocado seasoned in a lemon-herb dressing, and topped with pinto beans, jalapenos and fried wonton skins, which are made to look like tortilla chips. This burger gets points for creativity and it’s one of the tastier burgers, what with a lively avocado smash and crispy wontons.
Another standout is the Surf ‘n’ Turf Burger (RMB78). Instead of lobster, Sunny’s has opted for helpings of tiger shrimp. Lightly fried, these supple and plump shrimp complement the Angus patty well. The stand-out element, though, is the homemade citrus mayonnaise, which elevates the burger to the upper echelons of their menu.
The Budapest Burger (RMB68) is a nice personal touch from the Hungarian chef, inspired by the lángos, a typical Hungarian food much like pizza but topped with cream. Here, the main filler is a breaded chicken schnitzel, smeared with a heavy pour of garlic sour cream and grated parmesan. It’s an interpretation that is easily hits home with those who know what a lángos tastes like, but is lost on those who aren’t familiar and comes across as bland.
Of course, a menu isn’t complete these days without the addition of foie gras. It takes some finesse to serve a foie gras burger that goes beyond the mere novelty, and Sunny’s is going all out to deliver with the Royale Burger (RMB88). It consists of a patty, two satisfactorily large cutlets of foie, a few rashers of bacon and sautéed mushrooms. The towering burger being a logistical nightmare to eat, but the foie makes for a perfectly decadent showpiece and gives a comforting touch to an otherwise standard burger.
ll of the burgers are accompanied with a side salad and a generous helping of crispy, thick-cut French fries. You can also order a small pot of their vanilla cream (RMB10) to dip your fries in, though we weren’t fans. Drinks include soft drinks for RMB15, and fizzy concoctions and beer for RMB30.
The wait times can be longer than expected, as the staff is still getting a feel for the tiny kitchen, and speaking of, you most likely will leave smelling like grilled patties. Though, the burger are of a high enough quality at prices that are perfectly acceptable, making Sunny’s a very attractive alternative to the glut of overpriced eateries around Nanjing Xi Lu. Also available for delivery via Meituan.
What: Sunny’s Burgerland
Address: 286 Fengxian Lu (near Nanhui Lu) 奉贤路286号 (近南汇路)