It’s not often I find myself in the Sea Point area but last night saw me heading there after a meeting with American Berlin based blues man Sydney “Guitar Crusher” Selby and his good wife Mara who were visiting the Mother City. I was alerted to their stay at the Hilton Hotel in Cape Town. We met up at 18:30 in their hotel room after their all day winelands excursion. After spending some time with them on leaving the hotel, I thought it would be a great chance to visit another of Saul Beder’s food emporiums, Franky’s Diner in the Main Road of Sea Point. As I drove along the main road of Sea Point I drove past the Diner only on the slow drive back again did I find Franky’s, better signage is needed.
It was a chilly, but very quiet night with few people at the tables and was met and warmly welcomed by a very affable waiter and the establishment’s manager. On being seated. The waiter, Yossi ran through the “Blue Plate Specials” for the night and left to get the Homemade Lemonade, which I ordered. If truth be told it was that beverage which drew me to visit the Diner, ‘cause it not often one finds real Homemade Lemonade on any menu in Cape Town. I perused the menu. It took a little while for the drink to arrive; I did not expect it to take as long as it did on such a quiet night.
When Yossi finally arrived with my drink I decided to try the Special of the night which was a Double Stack Burger, two beef patties with a Hash Brown between the Patties and topped with Bacon and a Fried Egg and Pan Fried Onions naturally there was the ubiquitous uncooked tomato, lettuce and onion on the bottom bun. Also on the plate were a couple of breaded onion rings, chips and a small plastic bowl of coleslaw. Sounds good huh! Looked good too.
Now, where to start, chips and onion ring’s are a good place, both were blerry awful, both were manufactured in some sweatshop factory in Cape Town and I couldn’t taste any potato or onion respectively. Why is it that restaurants serve up such crap when there is so much wonderful fresh produce around to give the diner an experience of excellence? It’s easy to get real potatoes and onions and chop and make them fresh to order. So far not a good start to my eating experience.
Cutting into the burger was far from easy to do, two slabs of tough, heavily compressed of minced meat. Horribly flavourless, a little salt and pepper whilst cooking on the griddle would have helped. The basing sauce was not to bad and about the only flavour profile on the pattie’s, the sauce was kind of an afterthought. The hash brown disappeared into a globular squashed mess between the two patties. The bacon was cooked to my preference, soft crispy, but the egg was very over fried with the yolk looking like a casino chip and should have been a lush, runny, compliment, to the whole burger, so not too good, neh! Wait there’s more, the top bun had some pan fried onions stuck to some white sauce, mayo perhaps? The bun on the bottom was a soggy mess of hot lettuce, and tomato. The best thing on the plate was the coleslaw, tasty, tangy crunchy and fresh.
Any other good to come from the evening, yes the Homemade Lemonade was excellent and the Chocolate Double Thick was not to shabby but then who can screw up such a simple thing. All in all not a very good meal at all, yes Franky’s Diner may be a fast food joint but there is no excuse for not using fresh produce and making sure that the burgers are juicy and flavourful instead of frozen bricks of minced meat.
The menu is very uninspiring, predictable and really quite boring. I would like to see some more American Diner style foods such as Meatloaf, Classic Potato Salad, Fried Chicken, Honey Butter and Biscuit Sandwiches, Cheesy Chili Mac & Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie, Crispy Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Grilled Corn on the Cob with a flavourful butter, like chilli lime, Biscuit’s and Gravy, Huevos Rancheros, Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potatoes, a good really Poor Boy. I mean there are some really great ideas to create a really exciting menu in addition to the ubiquitous burgers and hot dogs on offer, and the “Blue Plate” Special will be something special.
The main thing I would like to see is more fresh produce and foods done and prepared on the premises. There are many burger joints in Cape Town and most offer the same style of menu, I just hope that owners will take some more pride in their offering which if done may leave a marked impression on the bottom line. Fresh is best.
There is another American Styled Diner I’ve yet to visit and will be reviewing them very soon.
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The Klutz in the Kitchen rating – ★★
The Klutz in the Kitchen pays for all food and drink consumed when reviewing venues, and all visits are unannounced and never booked at all. The Klutz will visit the venue again in a few months after the review is published on the website and social media pages. The second visit is to see if any improvements have been implemented and will again review the venue. The Klutz takes careful notes during his visits then after the meal chats casually to the staff and chef about the menu and food to gain a better insight into the venue. His reviews are posted some time after his visit so as to regain a sense of anonymity.