In case you didn’t already know, I am no fan of the mini-burger (aka slider). Which is strange because, in theory, it shouldn’t be any different than a tapa-sized version of a regular burger, and I LOVE tapas. But to me a mini-burger is just a squashed meatball on a small bun, usually being sold for 4 – 5.50€ a pop. Unlike montaditos, which are little hot toasted buns stuffed with fabulously flavourful fillings for about 2.50€.
I mean, if you tried to get away with selling a one-meatball tapa at those prices – with bread and maybe a few chips on the side - well, you wouldn’t. People would laugh in your face and rightly send the offending overpriced ball of meat straight back to the kitchen for the rest of it. Yet mini-burgers have become an unfathomable craze in Sevilla over the past two-three years. There are at least two establishments I know of that specialise in these things. And I keep asking myself… WHY??? As in, why do people go to these places and pay a stupid amount of money for a meatball in a bun?
Some argue that these little burgers are worth it because of the “gourmet” toppings, but seriously, how much extra can you fit inside a mini bun before it becomes an unmanageable mess? At times I have ended up with more toppings than burger meat, such as the “forest mini burger” I tried last week. I was told it came with mushrooms, goat cheese, arrugula, cucumber & celery but all I could make out visually was “a bunch of stuff” on top and all I could taste was cucumber. And then I had to ask for condiments because the bun was so dry.
As with everything, if it’s worth making it’s worth making well. Also, there are always exceptions.
These three mini burgers pictured here are exceptional indeed. The bulltail burger by super-chef Dani García at Manzanilla in Málaga was the first time a slider blew me away (though I actually first tried it at La Moraga – Dani has since moved on but his burgers remain). It’s a gorgeous combination of slow-cooked oxtail topped with melted havarti cheese and – get this – mayonnaise made from the oxtail drippings. Sublime. Later on I got to try the langoustine burger at Al Aljibe, which some sticklers may argue isn’t a true burger as it isn’t served in a bun. I don’t care, call it a minimalist burger or whatever you like, but just go and try one. The grilled langoustine burger is perfection, served with a poached quail egg and spicy huacaína sauce on the side.
Last but not least is the AMAZING beef mini burger at La Brunilda. The meat is lightly spiced (or herbed?) with I don’t-know-what and is served on a soft brioche bun with a dollop of soy mayo and a bit of sun-dried tomatoes. And it is heaven. I call it the “crackburger” because once you have had one you have to keep going back for more. Though the same could be said for all of these exceptional exceptions.
As for all the others you’ll find scattered about on Sevilla Tapas… well, I ate them so you didn’t have to. But if you have a favourite you think I should try let me know.