We tried Hard Rock Cafe's new 24-karat gold leaf burger, and we're not convinced it's better than a normal burger

Irene Jiang / Business InsiderWe tried Hard Rock Cafe’s new 24-karat gold leaf burger.
  • The Hard Rock Cafe now sells a burger covered in 24-karat gold leaf.
  • The 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger was introduced as part of the chain’s new menu launch on June 14, and costs $US24.99 at the Times Square restaurant.
  • We tried the burger to find out what made it better than a normal burger, but we were surprised to find that we much preferred Hard Rock’s cheaper signature burger, the Legendary Burger.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As part of the launch of its new menu on June 14, Hard Rock Cafe began offering the 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger. Described by the chain in a press release as a “first-of-its-kind burger with bling,” the burger contains a 1/2 lb patty covered in 24-karat edible gold leaf.

When we heard of this gilded gut-buster, our question was: “What makes this better than a burger without gold leaf on it?”

Our hypothesis: not much.

Edible gold leaf is nothing new: Europeans have been consuming gold leaf in liquor for centuries, and gold leaf is sometimes used for “warq,” a traditional coating for sweets in India, although silver is more common.

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However, gold leaf is flavourless, and although some claim it has antimicrobial properties when consumed, its primary culinary use is as a garnish. We suspected that perhaps the only real value that the gold burger offered was Instagram value.

But we wanted to try the burger for ourselves before making a final judgement. At the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, a PR representative told Business Insider that the restaurant’s customers often come in looking to indulge. “What could be more indulgent than a burger with gold in it?” he said.


Before we even entered the Hard Rock Cafe, the gold leaf burger was already being sold to us. But the advertisement didn’t get us any closer to the answers we were looking for. For that, a taste test was required.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Aside from added gold leaf, the gold leaf burger is basically the Legendary Burger without bacon and an onion ring. Therefore, we were surprised to see it contained almost 250 more calories than the Legendary Burger, according to the menu. The gold leaf burger also costs $US7 more, $US1 of which goes to charity.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Unlike other Hard Rock burgers, which are usually staked through the heart with a steak knife, the gold leaf burger was served open-face to show off the gold-leaf-covered patty.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

All that glitters may not be gold, but this burger sure was.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The burger comes with steak sauce. Pouring it over the gold leaf felt like blasphemy.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Once the bun is on the burger, only a peep of gold is visible.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s a pretty satisfying cheeseburger with a thick, juicy patty and a pleasant bun. The potato bun was an excellent vehicle for the meat’s juices. But the toppings were just OK, and the gold had no flavour. Typically, gold leaf food is designed to feature the garnish. This felt like suboptimal use of such a visual (and expensive) ingredient.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

As a reference point for judging the gold leaf burger, we also tried Hard Rock’s flagship burger, the Legendary Burger. It’s a lot like the gold leaf burger, except without the gold leaf and with an added onion ring and bacon.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It looked simply delicious.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Even if it was a bit of a squeeze.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The Legendary Burger was delicious. The bacon and onion ring added a welcome crispy, salty kick, and their addition augmented the heavy meatiness of the patty. It was well-balanced overall, although the veggie toppings were also unimpressive.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Although the gold leaf burger was still a pretty decent burger, we’re not sure we’d pay the premium for it. It’s a novelty item that might be worth it for the Instagram likes, but it doesn’t taste as good as the original Legendary Burger. What’s more indulgent than a burger with gold in it? As it turns out, when it comes to indulging your taste buds, a burger without gold in it.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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