December 2017 - Sputnik has reopened in a new downtown location, on Chao Anou Road, opposite the old movie theatre and up from Home Ideal.
Sputnik Burger is a Vientiane favourite with arguably the best burgers in town.
The new space has a lot more character with natural light from the side and front windows. It's got a grungy feel with the embossed metal chairs, wooden benches and exposed brick walls. Cool tunes are playing. And the wine wall - it's also a shopfront for Gecko Wines - isn't a bad backdrop either.
It's a narrow space and if there were more people here, it would probably get quite noisy. As it is there's only laughter from a big group of young Laotians upstairs, who keep the waitress busy hopping up and down the well-worn wooden stairs.
Outside, the resident red (half) VW is parked in its new space. There's more tables and chairs there too, with smoking. Parking in this part of downtown is scarce especially at lunchtime but that's when you'll get the best deals - a burger, fries, drink and dessert - best brownies in Vientiane - for 55,000 kip.
Sputnik's big, flavoursome burgers are not for the faint-hearted; the names alone - Black Mamba, Across The Universe, and The Big Kahuna, for starters - inspire expectations.
If you think blue cheese and foie gras belong on a burger, Sputnik is the place for you. The fries are chunky and crisp and there's also mini burgers for the kids. For an added bonus, get a milkshake too, made with ice cream and just delicious.
My favourite is the vegetarian burger with eggplant, honeyed goats cheese, avocado, sprouts and crispy onion rings. It's pretty special!
Sputnik Burger is on Rue Setthathilath on the same block as Joma cafe, in the Nam Phu area. It's open Monday - Saturday, 11am-11pm.