Friday, 25 November 2011

Kua 'Aina

I’ve walked past Kua ‘Aina several times and always thought it looked a bit naff. Not to mention lurid. And what do tiki culture and burgers have in common anyway? 

like the real thing...

But one day I had an absolute craving for a burger in the Carnaby area, and it popped into my head - not being a fan of The Diner or Carnaby Burger Co. And so once that was settled, I began to obsess over pineapple burgers.

Of course, it’s not strictly tiki, more classic 60s North Shore Americana. And so the burger connection starts to make more sense. It’s a small place, styled like a surfy beachshack with a very American grill station and no table service. It’s no-nonsense burgers in diner baskets, but they also do loads of great looking sandwiches – teriyaki chicken, clubs and so forth.

I had the pineapple burger with extra cheese (£8) – a 1/3 pound patty cooked medium-rare (I requested this, but they were very pleased to oblige). The meat is from Devon via Smithfield Market, and the same supplier does for John Torode also. It’s good stuff. 

I was glad of the paper in the basket, because this baby was juicy. Probably because it was nice and pink. But it could have had a little more charring.

Cheese was American and the pineapple (two rings) was nicely grilled, giving off its own sweet juices into the mix. Bun was a mix of sesame and poppy seeds, which was unusual but worked very well. I love poppy seeds and I devoured the whole lot in about two minutes. 

gherkin not included

When I visited, the fryer was off so no fries sadly. They offer sweet potato fries too. I ordered a gherkin which was extra (99p) – perfectly crunchy, tangy and delicious but surely integral to the American burger experience? Just as surprising was the massive carrot piece served with the burger. I ate it of course, but quite random all the same. Music wasn't Beach Boys or surf rock, but curiously The Lion King. 

Not much else to say really – a honest, un-gourmet American burger and best within a fairly small Carnaby radius. With added Point Break interior. Mahalo.

pineapple godliness
Food – 8/10
Drink – 7/10 (some wine and Asahi on draft)
Service - 8/10 - food brought to table quickly, no frills and happily so.
Value – 7/10
Tap water tales – 0/10 (didn't ask, didn't see, didn't get)  
Staff Hotness – 3/10 (more Eastenders than Blue Crush...)

Kua 'Aina on Urbanspoon

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