Some dining establishments can send a mixed bundle of confused messages to their diners, and this weekend was my turn to experience such a place. This is a quick review of my visit to Burger Gourmet which can be found in the beautifully designed Piazza at the base of one of the Zig Zag Towers.
I had expected the restaurant to be similar to many of the burger joints in other major cities with either a streamlined industrial look or to be inspired by a more hipster vintage-style. Instead, the décor managed to surprise me…I am still trying to figure out if I like it.
I only discuss décor when I want to praise interior design choices or other elements but this place had me confused. On the one hand it felt like an overly glamourous version of a beauty salon, whilst the more architectural touches gave it a trendy vibe. The golden logo wall is rather nice but the black drinking goblets and monochrome furniture sent confused signals. Is this a trendy modern eatery or something that seems stuck in the nineties with its black and white design scheme?
I almost understand the décor choice but there is still a feeling of disconnect and the seating needs more thought; the couches are too low to sit at and still eat comfortably. But it was the lighting that was the most confused element – it changed between pink, blue and white like a psychedelic club. There wasn’t really a happy medium of the type of muted lighting required for an evening meal. On the positive there is a family seating area which is separated through the use of mini room dividers.
The food was a much better experience. The menu is quite interesting in its choice of burger ingredients with foie gras, creole spices, deer, and of course wagyu beef. I happily ordered the Hollywood Star Slider which comes as two mini burgers with New Zealand Wagyu beef patties.
Wagyu beef contains a high proportion of fat which can be seen in the white marbling that occurs throughout the meat. My sliders contained Wagyu Grade 6 meat which has a good fat to meat ratio. The highest quality of Wagyu beef is Grade 9 which has consistent marbling which results in a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Grade 9 cab be found at Burger Gourmet in the form of the 24 Carat Burger, but it does come with a hefty price tag (QR 281) as expected from expensive meats.
Burger Gourmet has an average price of QR 80 for its burgers, but it does have many burger options under the QR 40 mark. All the burgers come with sides of fries and other accompaniments such as coleslaw. My sliders came beautifully presented on a flat platter with curly fries and a small portion of coleslaw. The fries were flavoursome but a little greasy. Whilst the coleslaw was average and consisted mainly of cabbage with very little carrot inside it. It was also presented in the bottom of a raw onion layer – I was very tempted to bite into it but managed to refrain myself!
The burger itself was a joy – the meat was tender and succulent, and the patty had been treated with care. The cheese added depth with a lovely sharp flavour, and was an excellent advertisement to eating burgers with good cheese. There was onion in the burger but it had been prepared in a manner that reduced its harshness. The Hollywood Star was fantastic and to be recommended, but please do note that it is a slider and so it is more a mini burger experience. For those looking for proper burger portions stick to the rest of the menu.
I also ordered the Barberalla Mocktail, which was described as mango and raspberry topped with banana puree and vanilla ice-cream. The drink looked pretty and at the first taste it was lovely and creamy, but it had an overly sweet base.
My dining companion ordered the Angus Cheese Burger which contained American Angus Beef. It came with lovely crispy fries and coleslaw. Against the superior meat of the fatty Wagyu patty this burger held its own – it had that big meaty bite that you sometimes need from burgers. The tomato pickle and cheese made for well-balanced burger toppings.
The burgers we tried were in the higher price range of the menu, and so the ingredients were expected to deliver a superior taste – and they did just that. There are many other burger options on the menu to try and, despite the confused decor, we are looking forward to making a return visit. I would however think again before I order one of the mocktails again – perhaps save the drink and order dessert instead? I’m not sure how well they will do on desserts as a burger bar but I look forward to finding out.