Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Burger delights

From salsa sauces to crunchy salads, to crispy onion rings, there's more to a burger than meets the eye! Sneha May Francis digs in to pick the best burgers

Ever tried mountain climbing? I am not talking about the professional, Mt Everest-kind, but the more achievable trek to the peak of a tiny hill. The task requires determining the mound, acquiring proper gear, extensively learning the route, working your way to the top and finally conquering the hilltop by placing a flag. Likewise, eating a burger involves almost the same skills, just a tad different! From finalising what meat mount to order, to gearing up with a bunch of sauces to zing the tastebuds and a bunch of soft tissues to whip away any leftovers, to precariously holding the heap so that each bite demolishes it in a structured way, to finally clearing the entire mass and leaving a burp to mark the victory.

Yup, eating a burger is no easy task! And it might appear as nothing more than a round greasy patty sandwiched between two soft buns. But look again! The erstwhile burger has undergone a complete makeover. It's evolved from being just a kiddie fun snack to a more sophisticated wholemeal for grown-ups.

Admitted it does more harm than good for the heart and could leave you running on the treadmill far longer than you would have ever wished to. But despite all the negatives, burgers still find their way into our lives almost all the time. So we’ve braved through the greasy gourmet journey just to present you with the best of the sandwich kind!

Do remember that it's humanly impossible to eat all the different kinds of burgers in Dubai. In fact, it would've most definitely led us to a hospital bed for ill-treating our hearts! So we relied on friends, family and colleagues to pick the best meaties that would race for the top slots. We also avoided the burger joints, only because it’s often the non-burger chains that cook up a complete bun delight. And our test just proved we are right!

Rating: *
We singled out the Coco’s Original Burger because logically every kitchen introduces their winning recipe under the original tag. Dressed in a creamy Thousand Island dressing, this mountainous meat bun pleased our eyes but did little to our tastebuds. The meat beast left us stretching our mouth muscles wider than we were comfortable with. The sliced veggies and dollop of pickle left the buns soggy, falling apart even before it reached our mouth. The solid peppered meat could well do with more flavourings.
Verdict: Could do with solid buns that didn’t crumble under our fragile hands and more sidedish options than the usual coleslaw and French fries.
Cost: Dh26

Rating: **
Johnny Rockets
This is a perfect example of the most delicious, scrumptious burger falling apart even before we could bite it. Thus pushing it to the fourth place. We had to work extra hard towards each bite, navigating our mouth to the burger before it disintegrated on our plates or stained our clothes. The soggy buns and overflowing sauces had us more concerned about our greasy hands. The shredded lettuce refused to behave and stay within the buns. The delicate flavours were completely lost in the mess. We believe that any burger that refuses to make it to our tummies in one piece fails the burger test! But we let this one pass only because the flavours softened us in its favour.
Verdict: A more solid bun-footing would boast this burger giant, making each bite a delight and not a messy affair.
Cost: Dh29

Rating: ***
Of the lot, this was the most economical and also the tiniest. The Double Cheese Burger was an instant hit with our tummies. It was tiny enough to fit into our fists and the buns deliciously rock solid. The double sheet of cheese complemented the burger patty. This is how a burger should be – uncomplicated and perfectly sized with just the right flavouring. Having said that, a little improvisation could give it a flavoursome push.
Verdict: The pocket-ish burger was a delight to feast on but its lack of creativity left us wondering if they were merely playing it safe. And the tiny size would mean ordering more than one to fill your tummy.
Cost: Dh8

Rating: ****
It's understandable why these gigantic burgers are such a rage! With blobs of cheese and butter, any burger could become an absolute treat. This joint offers a wide range of choices – meat cuts (1/3 and 1/2 oz), different kinds of buns and sauces, and a fresh salad bar that allows you to dress your burger the way you want to. The Works burger is sinfully delicious. The succulent meat patty melts in your mouth, sending you on a cheesy rush. And the sauteed mushrooms placed on a sheet of cheddar cheese adds the right zing.
Verdict: We were completely smitten by this burger giant. The option of ditching the fatty French fries for the lesser sinful onion rings made us smile!
Cost: Dh28

Rating: *****
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
The freshly made black-Angus patties are cooked to your specifications and sandwiched between a soft bun. The veggies are not too many, just right and sit perfectly without falling apart. The pickle adds a zing that leaves you craving for more. Each bite was a different revelation. We devoured on the bunny masterpiece and were left, literally, licking off our fingers! This one definitely made our burger journey, burp worthy!
Verdict: The riot of flavours, the solid yet soft buns, the soft juicy meat patty, totaled into the Best Burger Award.
Cost: Dh28

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