25 Protea Road, Claremont, Cape Town. Tel: 021 674 5152. theburgerjoint.co.za. Burgers R40-90. 440ml local craft beer R35-45.
It seems like an odd location, tucked away down the side of an office building, but in fact Hudsons Claremont has a rather awesome view of the mountain. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and on-street parking (usually for a fee) is generally easy to find. Hudsons is a chilled place, specialising in burgers and shakes.
It’s really all about the burgers here, with 22 different options on the menu, including ostrich, chicken and veg options as well as beef. The burgers are pretty good, with an excellent range of toppings. I got food envy though, as hub’s beef burger was way more juicy than my ostrich version. Screw the cholesterol and order beef, I say. Sides are ordered separately – get their sweet potato fries. They’re uber-moreish. Even better than the burgers though are the huge, fat chili poppers. Go between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on a weekday, when all appetisers are half price (as are draught beers and cocktails).
One thing Hudsons is known for is it servers – generally young, pretty girls wearing Daisy Dukes. Obviously, I’m not too bothered about hot waitresses, but they’re always smiley and friendly. One thing that did disappoint slightly though, was the lack of beer knowledge. Hudsons sells itself as a craft beer venue, but our server couldn’t tell us much about the Hudsons Pale Ale. Actually I’m being generous – she couldn’t tell us anything. We asked where it was brewed and she said “here”. “Oh, you have a brewery here?” “Oh no!” she laughed, and walked away (for the record, I’m pretty sure it’s Jack Black Pale Ale, but it’s nice when staff are able to tell you more about what they’re serving…).
There are seven craft beers on the menu, plus nine mainstream lagers. It’s not the best beer menu, to be honest, but at least they have the beers on the menu – it drives me nuts when wine, cocktails, even coke and water make it on to a restaurant menu, but somehow beer rarely does. Anyway, that has nothing to do with this. Bottle-wise, you’ll find the usual suspects – CBC’s delectable amber weiss, Darling’s equally good Bonecrusher among others, plus Boilermaker, a flavourful pale ale brewed especially for Hudsons. On tap, it’s Jack Black Lager, Hudsons Pale Ale, Castle Lite (the most expensive pint!) and Black Label. I’d love to see a bit more variety since there are so many burgers to choose from and so many pairing possibilities. Bring in some hops! Bring in some Belgians! To be honest, when I go to Hudsons I tend to take a day off beer and opt for one of their huge and awesome milkshakes instead.
Hudsons Claremont is a great place for afternoon drinkies or lunch with your mates. Service is quick, prices are reasonable and the view is pretty nice as well (of the mountain that is, not of the hot waitresses, though you might also enjoy that). It’s definitely worth coinciding your visit with happy hour to get half price draught beer and appetisers. In truth I wasn’t in love with the burgers as much as with the milkshakes, but do feel free to disagree.