After my encounter with a Wagyu A5 burger at Blacows in Tokyo last November, I wanted to see if Kyoto had a burger that could compete at the same level. I took my chances with the web -- googling "best burger in Kyoto" and one of the names that came up was Kobe Gavly.
It was very convenient that Kobe Gavly was situated on the 10th floor of Kyoto Station.
Although I thought it somewhat strange that it was right in the middle of Ramen Koji or Ramen Street.
I could eat ramen all day, every day but perhaps some people need a break now and then.
Most specially, western tourists who probably need a burger fix after days and days of Japanese food.
According to its colourful poster, Kobe Gavly burgers are made with Kobe Beef and other highly selected meat from black cattle. Now Kobe Beef is one of the best and most expensive beef in Japan so perhaps it can measure up to Blacows' Wagyu Grade A5.
The basic, regular sized single patty burger costs Y800, slightly cheaper than Blacows' which costs Y1000. You can bump this up to a double patty sandwich by paying twice that amount.
The most expensive item on the menu is not a burger -- the 100% Kobe Beef steak sandwich
For non-beef eaters, there is a chicken burger and even a shrimp burger.
Since Kobe Gavly is housed in a small kiosk, I was sure the burgers were not prepared in the same manner as Blacows'.
They would not be hand ground upon each order but would have been pre-formed and pre-frozen.
In addition to our burgers, we ordered mushroom soup and potato wedges.
The food presentation was quite nice -- the burgers came wrapped in waxed paper holders and everything was neatly placed in a woven basket.
The Gavly burger came garnished with 10 kinds of fresh vegetables and at first glance, it looked like a salad had sprouted in the bun.
Where's the (Kobe) beef?
Upon closer inspection, there was indeed a beef patty lurking underneath all that greenery. The patty was rather round, like a big meatball and quite smaller than the soft sesame seed studded bun.
I finally got a bite of Kobe beef, albeit in burger form. I may be a lapsed vegetarian but the 10 vegetables distracted me from the "meat" of the matter, pardon the pun.
How did it measure up to Blacows? The Gavly burger was juicy but somehow, not as mouthwatering and flavourful as Blacows.
I was looking for that rich umami kick that Blacows delivered with every beefy bite.
That settles it!
Best burger in Tokyo beats Best Burger in Kyoto!