August 05, 2012

Aniki Burger

Address: No. 1, Lane 238, Section 1, Dūnhuà South Rd, Daan District
Telephone: (02) 2711-6077
Hours: Mon - Sun 11am to 9pm
Price: $$

Sometimes, I visit food porn websites. I'm sorry you had to find out this way. Getting lost in the images of cinnamon buns, steaks, cupcakes, and eggs Benedict, I think, "How is it possible to take a photo of food like that?" Well ladies and gentlemen, at Aniki Burger I came as close as I possibly could.

Aniki Burger was established in 2010 near a small SOGO on Dūnhuà South Road. From the front, it looks a little like an Asian restaurant. Only upon closer inspection do you notice the small English sign proclaiming delicious burgers live here. The interior is a mish-mash of several themes (though the owner was trying to go for the "American diner" look): modern and minimalist meets wannabe diner. I actually think that this works out in Aniki's favor. Too many places here try to replicate that 1950s Americana look and Aniki would just be "one of many"; the modern vibe offsets that.
The menu is outrageous. I spent a solid 10 minutes flipping through the menu, debating. The appetizers range from cheese fries to calamari ($100 - $180 NT) and the salads ($120 - $180 NT) are among the biggest I've seen in Taiwan. The eggs Benedict ($220 - $250 NT) come with a variety of toppings like smoked turkey and smoked beef, and the omelettes ($220 - $270 NT) are equally as diverse with fried beef, salmon, Mexican chili, and Provence chicken.

The sandwich and burger section is extensive (chicken burgers, fish burgers, tofu burgers) but one burger stood out to me: the peanut butter hamburger ($230 NT). Now, I'm no maverick burger connoisseur who dreams of burgers with truffles or caviar or fine Italian mascarpone lightly added on top. But I do like to see inventive burgers and people thinking about a traditional American food in a new way. I've heard of peanut butter burgers back home and thought today was a good day to jump out of my comfort zone.

Good news, unlimited refills! Or at least unlimited soda, coffee, and red tea refills. I opened up my laptop and logged onto Aniki's Wi-fi while waiting for my burger. I noticed that some of the tables are retro Plinko games that you can actually play. I saw at least three patrons making great use of these games while waiting for their food; it got quite competitive at one table!
The moment I'd been waiting for. The peanut butter burger arrived at my table in all its peanut buttery glory. It was fantastic. The bun was sweet, lightly toasted, and the size of a small plate. The fries were crispy, flavorful, and hot. And there was peanut butter everywhere. I mean, absolutely everywhere. It was dripping down the plate and my hands and face. ... I looked like a small child and enjoyed every second of it.
While it's true you can't really taste the burger (or the cheese for that matter), there would be bites that had a greater meat to peanut butter ratio and that's when you would taste the juicy, flavorful goodness of the burger. It was the perfect marriage of peanut butter to burger. Yes, the peanut butter was the main focus, but the kitchen didn't throw any ol' patty on that bun. I highly recommend it.
Aniki has a policy of no outside food or drinks (honestly why would you want to?!) and you need to spend  a minimum of $100 NT. There's no service charge and the Wi-fi is good and reliable. It's password protected, but everyone speaks English and asking for help shouldn't be a problem. Also, there are milkshakes on the menu! You can look at the menu here or stalk photos on their Facebook page. It's definitely worth a visit.

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