“You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.” Charles Kurait
Got your Ketchup at the ready as you may fancy a burger or two after reading this post! In honour of yesterdays National Burger Day, it seemed an appropriate time (yesterday would have been better if I’d been that organised!) to share the teenagers Top Five burgers that have made the shortlist from her one woman burger survey of Abu Dhabi. This survey continued during the summer and there a few contenders below from Europe too.
National Burger Day was introduced in 2013 by the online lifestyle news website Mr Hyde (part of the ShortList Magazine empire, visit the ShortList website here) and you can read all about the event by visiting the Mr Hyde website here as well as last nights National Burger Day event held at Battersea Power Station.
Abu Dhabi Top Five
1. Californian Burger ~Hickorys Sports Bar, Yas Links Golf Club
This burger tops the list for meatiness and fabulous above average toppings that include lots of the usual salad suspects (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, gherkin) but with the added delightfulness of sliced Avocado, a favourite of the teenager. Add to that the not so healthy layers of chunky cheddar, pommery mayo and onion jam along with fries and coleslaw and you will see why it takes top slot. Another bonus of this burger meal is that the normal 16% tourist tax is not added to the bill as it’s a golf club not a hotel, it’s a win, win! Don’t forget as well the restaurant has a fab location with a huge terrace looking across the manicured lawns, the links golf course and out to sea. Whether you like burgers, golf or neither, Hickory’s is always worth a visit for a bite to eat especially via boat.
Cost: 60 dhs (approx £9.85)
Visit the Yas Links Golf Club/Hickory’s website here
2. The One Burger ~ The One Restaurant, Zayed The First Street, Abu Dhabi
The ‘What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards 2013’ winning cafe/restaurant is sometimes overlooked as it’s on the top floor of a cool and trendy furniture store however the food in this ‘Gourmet Theatre’ as it’s called is excellent and there are many do-it-yourself options like creating your own pasta and salad combinations. THE One Burger is from the ‘Main Attractions’ section of the menu which overall features a ‘cast of culinary creations‘ (note the theatrical menu references throughout their words not mine). The 100% beef patty is served in a wholemeal sesame bun with lettuce, tomato, mayo and dill pickle and accompanied by rosemary and parmesan potato wedges all at a very reasonable price. (extras of Emmental cheese and caramelized onions can be added for 5 dhs each. Avocado, beef bacon and portobello mushroom are an additional 7 dhs per item). It’s also a great place for meeting people for coffee/afternoon tea and is a very popular meeting place for both families and business lunches and where parking is almost always full (an indication of its popularity but a pain in the butt). Like the store below the décor is always changing showcasing what’s available to purchase from THE One itself from the cutlery to the chairs and everything in-between.
Cost: 46 dhs (approx £7.55)
Visit THE One website here
3.Wagyu Burger ~ Jones The Grocer, Al Raha Gardens Plaza.
Jones The Grocer is an export from Sydney. This chic gourmet café now has four locations across the city and is a well-known expat haunt and a favourite of the Crown Prince too so I believe. The menu offers a top quality Australian (of course) Wagyu burger topped with fresh salad and bois boudran sauce served in a tasty buttery brioche bun with the added little gem of beef bacon and all round tastiness that sealed its spot at number three on this list. It’s not the healthiest burger in the city but is very tasty and easy on the eye, presented on a rustic wooden chopping board instead of a plate. Alongside an extensive menu Jones The Grocer also offers customers a deli, bakery, fromagerie (very pongy but a sizeable selection) and grocery store inside each location.
Visit the Jones The Grocer website here
4. Saadiyat Beach Burger ~ Hawksbill Restaurant, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
The Hawksbill restaurant at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, named after the protected turtle species that use the island as a hatching spot, has a more traditional British golf club feel than its other Abu Dhabi Counterparts until you look out across its terrace to the beautiful island scenery. Another tourist tax-free burger that makes the list, the Saadiyat Beach Burger is a traditional burger served with cheese (or not if requested), lettuce, gherkins, tomatoes and mustard and accompanied by a portion of fries, simples! It appears that the Golf Clubs around here sure know how to produce a good burger and this one was described as just yummy!
Visit the Saadiyat Golf Club/Hawksbill Restaurant website here
5. ShackBurger ~ Shake Shack, Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi
This American chain has been in Dubai for a while but is much newer to the Abu Dhabi burger scene. Their ShackBurger is the best fast food burger on the teenagers list with its accompanying ShackSauce plus amazing crinkle cut potato fries that are sooooooo moorish, on offer for an extra cost! It’s definitely high on quality meat with 100% Angus Shack Blend beef unlike most fast food options (promises no hormones or antibiotics ever on its menu, good to know) but the calorie intake is off the scale but it has a good portion of lettuce/tomato if that eases the conscious a little! A must have if you have a burger craving in the mall.
Cost: 25 dhs for a single and 40 dhs for a double if you dare (approx £4 and £6.50 respectively plus 13 dhs/£2.15 for the must have crinkle fries)
Visit the Shake Shack website here
My top Veggie Option at Nolu’s Cafe at Al Bandar (source:www.timeoutabudhabi.com)
For any vegetarians reading, I am going to throw in Nolu’s Veggie Burger (above) as my veggie burger of choice here in Abu Dhabi and for those of you who are a little more adventurous with their food, like the other half, there is always the Camel Burger option indicative of this region! The other half had his Camel Burger at the very posh Emirates Palace Hotel in the BBQ Al Qasr Al Fresco dining restaurant on the beach (Sir Alex Ferguson was there too that night, just saying) and they are also available at Al Fanr Cafe located inside the Manarat Al Saadiyat Art Gallery located on Saadiyat Island.
Camel Burger available at BBQ Al Qasr at the Emirates Palace (source:http://www.kempinski.com/en/abudhabi/emirates-palace/dining)
European Top Five
1. The Dukes Beef Burger, The Dukes Head Pub, Wallington in Surrey
The Dukes Beef Burger with its brioche cream bun snuck into first place after an impromptu stop for a bite to eat en route from London to Brighton with friends. A spacious pub has a refurbished restaurant area that is trendy in a shabby chic kind of way, offers a burger that was off the taste scale. Lots of flavourful toppings including young’s ale onions, lettuce, gherkins, tomato ketchup and mayonnaise on a great tasting patty gave it the edge over its competitors and it came with a side of delightful hand cut chips.
Visit The Dukes Head Pub website here
2. Homemade Cowshed Beef Burger & Fries, Cowshed Bar and Grill, Bristol
This trendy eatery in Bristol promises to ‘bring the taste of the countryside to the city‘ and uses top quality meat from its own butchers “Ruby & White’ next door. The whole concept of the restaurant prides itself on good quality non-fussy food served in a contemporary setting. The Cowshed burger is topped with salad, tomato, gherkins and its special Cowshed bbq sauce served with chunky chips. For an extra £1 each you can add Crispy Bacon, Halloumi, Cheddar and/or Red Onion Marmalade. It got a massive thumbs up from the teenager on our visit there. I would recommend The Cowshed for any occasion if you find yourself in Bristol. Read the full Cowshed post here.
Cowshed Burger and Chunky Chips (source:www.sorrynotsalad.com)
Visit the Cowshed Bar and Grill website here
3. Beef Burger, Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House
Now this place is always high on Mamma Jo’s list to visit with its fabulous Al Fresco cocktail bar (great Cosmos) on the terrace alongside the Thames and its trendy restaurant set across three rounds inside the adjacent Somerset House. Celebrity chef Tom Aitken’s menu is simple modern and delicious and the burger with its pickled gherkins and sweet onion relish (blue cheese, cheddar or bacon can be added for an extra £1.50 each) was well received by the teenager on her first visit to this establishment. The restaurant website states that it ‘serves comfort food favourites in a relaxed and informal environment from lunch to dinner and brunch on weekends‘ and if you haven’t already I would recommend a visit next time you are London bound.
Visit the Tom’s Kitchen website here
4. Classic Burger ~ FrogBurger, Paris
FrogBurgers are fantastic! The veggie burger was one of the very best I’ve ever had and the triple cooked chips and accompanying frozen Margherita weren’t too shabby either! Sorry I’ve digressed, the meaty burgers were scrum my so I’m reliability informed by the rest of the family, made with top quality meat and just generally good cooked food served in one of the five quirky restaurants across the city. The Classic Burger is bœuf, iceberg, oignon rouge, pickle and sauce FrogBurger. The restaurant chain prides itself on using 100% French chuck steak and other locally sourced ingredients. The five establishments also offer craft brewed beers from their microbrewery located in central Paris. The website boasts ‘just an authentic, quality burger, prepared and cooked properly‘ and I can confirm that’s exactly what we got on all our visits. (See more about FrogBurger in a previous post here)
Cost: 11 Euros (approx £8.75)
Visit the FrogBurger website here
5. Burger ~ Hove Place Bistro Pub & Gardens, Hove
This contender has sneaked in at number five based on its sheer size and high standard of burger. A pub that tops the ‘Best Roast Dinner’ in Hove is always going to offer up something special and it didn’t disappoint. It was actually the other half and friends which tried this succulent hand minced 10 oz dexter and wagyu beef burger with a toasted brioche and oversized gherkin served with an unusual beetroot, apple, walnut and raisin coleslaw and hand cut chips (additional topping available at £1 each smoked pancetta, sussex charmer cheddar, Brighton blue cheese, wealdway goats cheese, fried onions or stinking bishop). Hove Place is a very popular traditional pub in Hove with a modern twist that has a great menu with locally sourced quality produce and I can testify that it deserves its ‘best roast dinner’ accolade as its roasts (tried twice) are just fantastic as is its halloumi burger was very tasty but absolutely bloody huge!
For those looking for a less calorific meal, Bills offers a naked burger (without the bun and fries) that comes with a mixed salad which the teenager enjoyed in their Soho branch and again this eatery offers up a great choice all round menu and also serves her favourite Elderflower drink if that’s your bag. The options in this post are purely based on the teenagers opinion and where she has eaten to date and this is an ongoing food tasting project with Patty & Bun and Byron Burger on her ‘to-try-list’ next time we are in London.
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.