A Danish restaurant owner is willing to wager that few can wolf down his mammoth burger. It’s free if you can polish it off in one sitting. Xu Junqian sizes it up.
Standing 20 cm high and tipping the scales at 1.35 kg, the burger at Yasmine’s Steakhouse and Butcher Shop is a carnivore’s dream come true. It’s got 800 grams of beef, three fried eggs, five kinds of vegetables, two sauces and is most certainly the biggest burger in Shanghai. And as if that weren’t enough, diners don’t have to pay if they can manage to eat the whole thing in two hours.
About 50 customers order the bulky burger a day, but few are serious about the challenge. Instead they happily fork over the 138 yuan it costs, take as many bites as they can and pose for photos with it.
“Most Chinese restaurants I have been to are boring,” says Henrik Hubschmann, the Danish owner of Yasmine’s.
“I want my customers to remember my restaurant. I am trying to provide a unique experience.”
Hubschmann designed the monstrous patty as an attraction more than a genuine challenge, he says, although he is not above grinning in naughty satisfaction at the shocked and helpless expressions worn by those who thought they were in for a free lunch, upon their first glimpse of the burger.
“I never tire of watching the funny expressions on the faces of those challengers,” says Hubschmann, with a touch of pride in his voice.
The family-friendly, bright, spacious steakhouse, which has large French windows all around and an open kitchen in the middle, would not be a success in the city’s competitive restaurant industry without some creative marketing, says Hubschmann, who holds a master’s of business administration degree.
But Yasmine’s relies on more than just marketing gimmicks and serves up some excellent steaks (from 99 to 298 yuan, $14-43), charred to perfection on the outside, and juicy, tender and toothsome inside
After working as the general manager of a Danish fastener screw company for six years in Shanghai, the tall, muscular Dane says he became a restaurant owner by accident.
It began with an idea to open a small, authentic European-style butcher shop, mostly to feed himself and other expatriate meat lovers in the city two years ago.
“I have seen different problems with all of the places that sell meat in the city,” he says. “Some have poor sanitary conditions; some don’t have much lamb or beef, many of the butchers are not familiar enough with meat or speak poor English.”
He quit his job and began looking for a location for the butcher shop.
“Then I found this house with two floors in a perfect location in a famous foreign community, reasonable rent and a nice environment. Only it was too big for just a shop, so I started to think of something else I could do with the space that is also related to meat,” Hubschmann says.
He eventually decided to open a spot for people to not only shop for meat, but also eat.
In the butcher shop on Yasmine’s second floor, meat lovers will again be thrilled. It has a surprisingly long line of glass cases displaying 200 different cuts of meat from all over the world.
There are sausages, lamb cuts, organic chicken, imported and domestic steaks, pates, hams, pork chops, bacons, meat pies and much more.
The butcher, a young Englishman, is quick to help with suggestions on how to pick and cook the best cuts.
Just be sure to bring an appetite.