A moment, please, for the burger which beat me. Dining at FUD, Catania
FUD is the sort of place you should hate but can’t help love. It’s got a silly name, it’s perennially busy and it’s full of the sorts of beautiful people who look too slim to indulge in burgers.
I tried and failed on three separate occasions to get into FUD after 8pm; by night the streets of trendy Via Santa Filomena are lined with patty purists so keen to sample a donkey burger that they don’t mind passing an evening in a human traffic jam.
This is why I got my fill at the rather bizarre hour of 3pm on a Monday. I arrived in the midst of what can only be described as a tropical rainstorm, en-route to the airport, laden with luggage and leaking rain. I was greeted by a beautiful bearded bloke who dutifully followed me with paper towels, something which I had initially thought was part of the gimmick of ‘FUD’ but later realised was a subtle invitation to wipe my sodden shoes and bags, and to stop making puddles everywhere.
FUD is edgy, but beautiful. Imagine, if you will, two large open rooms, walls adorned with large chalkboards depicting huge etchings of the perfectly constructed burger, tables laid with paper tablemats, and a squadron of attentive, tattooed and exceptionally good looking staff. Everything is spelled phonetically, hence the unapologetically un-Italian (and very literal) name of this establishment, and the menu features such specialities as the ‘orse burgher’, ‘schin potatoes’ and ‘Ceichep’. Yes, it is gimmicky but it’s also very good fun, rare for Italy which is essentially a nation which takes itself very seriously.
I settled for the ‘Shek Burger’ which, according to my beautiful bearded waiter is the most popular. It was exquisite. Donkey meat, it transpires, is delicious. The meat was succulent and surprisingly smoky, cloaked in a delicious glob of buffalo mozzarella, filled with tomatoes, plump porcini mushrooms and roasted onions, stuffed into an untoasted brioche bun and drenched in delicious meat juices, sticky barbeque sauce and mayonnaise. Ordering the potato skins was, frankly, an error – I barely managed to make a dent in them, but they were crispy, salty and all in all a very spectacular incarnation of a potato.
Fellow diners feasted on tender ‘am burghers’, perfectly poached ‘eg burghers’ and some more intriguing bovine dishes, including a burger made of buffalo. I worked on my burger solidly for thirty minutes, face smeared with sauce and nose dusted with flour. Eventually, when I was practically horizontal and clutching my stomach like a woman pregnant with her first child, my beautiful bearded waiter came and slid my unfinished plate away, muttering ‘I’m going to take this away now’, and leaving me to mull over where on earth the legions of good-looking women sat at other tables could possibly put it all.
It’s no glorified Burger King. It’s fast food given a real Sicilian twist, and it’s by far the best burger I’ve ever eaten. I’m just miffed it beat me.
Visit FUD for a Sicilian experience with a difference. Open 12pm-1pm and 7pm – late daily, it’s no reservations but worth the wait. More details here.
Interested in exploring more of Southern Italy? Check out Basilicata, it's fabulous.