• Gourmet Burger Union, 45-47 Cochrane St, Central Hong Kong, www.gbu.hk
  • Mc. Sorley's, 55 Elgin Street, Central Hong Kong, www.mcsorleys.com.hk

After being in Asia for a while, noodles, fish balls and pork buns get old, and we find ourselves longing for a beefy, juicy meat bun.

Mc. Sorley’s Ale House in Soho, Hong Kong, is supposed to have some of the best hamburgers in town. The atmosphere of this Irish Pub is friendly and unpretentious: when we read on the menu that they feature an Avocado and Swiss Cheese Burger, we’re sold.

As we inquire about our lunch though, we realize avocado and Swiss Cheese are the only accompaniment to the meat. The news is quite disappointing, but we keep our hopes up ordering extra tomatoes, lettuce and caramelized onions. We’re confident it’s going to be great.

Unfortunately it’s not. The onions are raw, the cheese undetectable and, despite ordering it medium, the beef is still pink. The dominant flavor ends up being the French dressing, the only ingredient that hasn’t been mentioned.

We leave seeking redemption. The sign “Gourmet Burger Union” that blinks on the corner of Cochrane Street, in Hong Kong, is a call we cannot resist. The eatery is essentially a hole in the wall, but from its large windows on the second floor, one can overlook the crowded uphill alleys of SoHo.

As we walk up the stairs we read their slogan on the walls: “Natural Reared. Grass Fed. Free Range”. If this sounds promising, the second notice “Build your own burger” is certainly exciting.

In the dining hall, a large poster displays, together with 13 signature burgers, an impressive list of toppings: 15 kinds of cheese, from goat’s to Roquefort; 27 toppings, from hummus to baked beans; and 15 different sauces, such as basil pesto and truffle cream, as well as New Zealand lamb meat, Australian free-range chicken or soy protein burger.

We get one each giving up on the bread. Instead of the normal bun we opt for a lettuce bowl. Our 100% grass-fed New Zealand angus beef comes on a bed of mixed baby greens, covered with caramelized red onion, sharp Provolone cheese, avocado, sundried tomatoes and grilled pineapple.

We devour it. The meat is perfectly cooked, strongly flavored. The pungent taste of the cheese encounter harmoniously the sweetness of the exotic fruit. There could have been more sun dried tomatoes to create a perfect mouthful, but it’s a subtle defect.

As a conclusive judgment: the burger is good, the possibility to choose among a variety of ingredients truly satisfying. We  arrived in Hong Kong with a craving. It took two attemps to satisfy it.

It would have been better if… we had skipped the first place.