Prepare yourselves for a shocking confession from my childhood: I was raised by a milkshake snob (though she may prefer it if I used the term ‘connoisseur’ rather). My Australian mother had grown up going to malt shops, where proper double-thick shakes were served up in generous portions, usually without a preservative or Oreo biscuit in sight.

Obviously it was a tough upbringing, helping her in the search to find a comparable milkshake experience in South Africa in the 90s, but I suppose someone had to do it. I learnt the correct look of disdain for a glassful of melty vanilla ice cream blended with sickly chocolate syrup. I developed an appreciation for anything accompanied by the silver beaker of a proper blender, containing whatever wouldn’t fit in the (properly shaped) glass.

We’re prone to resurrect the glory days of our happy hunting whenever someone utters the phrase ‘and they have the best milkshakes’, which is how I found myself at Gibson’s in the V&A Waterfront last week. Most people have scouted out this spot for its excellent gourmet burgers (and they’re well worth the visit) but we had one thing on the brain.

Gibsons-cinnamonGibsons-brown-cowGibsons-lovers-glass

I really want to make a Kelis joke here but I won’t
Gibson’s has a menu of no fewer than 40 ‘premium hand-spun thick shakes’. Basically what that means is that an actual human being is in charge of putting the ingredients into a blender, rather than the shake coming out of a machine.

Poncey marketing aside, these shakes are the business. They’re thick but highly slurpable, with a consistency somewhere between ice cream and custard, so you don’t feel the need to eschew your straw for a spoon.

The range of flavours doesn’t disappoint either, from old-school Brown Cow (Coca-cola and vanilla ice cream) and Rocky Road, to cheesecake, lemon curd and salted caramel. Plain chocolate, vanilla, bubblegum and coffee are, of course, also in the mix, or you can go crazy with combos like peanut butter and Crunchie, or vanilla chocolate honey. Into fresher tastes? Mango, banana, granadilla and a selection of berry shakes feature too.

Gibsons-berry Gibsons-granadilla Gibsons-mixed-berry

I have to give Gibson’s props for having decent straws too – wide, hardy affairs that deliver maximum glass to face enjoyment.

Yeah but what about those burgers?
The milkshakes at Gibson’s are a substantial meal all on their own, but if you need something a little (okay a lot) more solid, the burgers here live up to their reputation. Huge, juicy affairs, they’re classified into three sections: gourmet, designer and Rolls Royce, with retro and modern toppings to suit every palate. And there’s nothing little about any of them.

Gibsons-burgers

Not even the sliders actually. Armed with gargantuan double-thick shakes, we opted to share a serving of sliders (served, like the other burgers, with your choice of potato or sweet potato fries), and rolled home with full bellies.

Gibsons-sliders

The menu also offers chicken and veggie burgers, hot dogs, ribs and steak. There’s a salad menu too, but let’s not even pretend this is the kind of place you head to for a nice crisp piece of lettuce.

Verdict
Situated inside the V&A, Gibson’s isn’t the most atmospheric of spots, but they’ve pimped the decor and servers’ outfits so well, you can almost forget you’re in a mall if you try. And if it’s a burger and/or a shake you’re after, you can’t do better in the vicinity.

Gibsons-interior

OF NOTE
Where Shop 153, Lower Level, V&a Waterfront (next door to Belthazar)
Trading hours  11 am – 10 pm daily
Cost Milkshakes are R45 – R60, burgers are R75 – R130
Good to know You can join the Slick Restaurant Group’s loyalty programme and receive a R200 Gibson’s voucher to be used on your birthday
Contact +27 21 418 3660, www.gibsonsburgers.co.za

Photography Gibson’s

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