Located on the ground floor of Ezdan Mall Fuddruckers has a lot of competition from other chain restaurants serving American cuisine. The interior is designed to be welcoming, especially for bigger groups, with seating arrangements in place to accommodate large groups. The brand name is emblazoned everywhere you look in a rather overly brash confidence with the claim that they make the world’s greatest burger – this I had to check out.
Behind the concept of the ‘World’s Greatest Burger’ lies the consumer and the intention is that the diner creates the burger they want. The chefs make up your burger and then you help yourself to the complimentary fresh produce bar to make your own preferred version of the burger. There is also a salad bar and a condiments section. Again, the positive here versus similar restaurants is that these ingredients all come as extra without the extra cost – a nice plus for families and big groups.
Although inclined to order chicken I went with the speciality burger called Inferno composed of caramelised onions and spicy jalapenos with a pepper jack cheese. Instead of the Fudds fries I had the onion rings which were tasty enough. Fuddruckers takes great pride in the quality of their burgers describing the meat as fresh 100% premium-cut beef. They also bake their own burger buns but I did not really notice the bun as anything special.
I do like the concept of the fresh produce bar and it comes into its own when you go to choose the ingredients to put into your burger. I was feeling like a spicy tangy burger and was happy to help myself to the pickles and jalapenos.
However, all the extras in the world could not hide the fact that the patty was nothing to write home about. Texturally it was difficult to palate as the beef was not finely minced and the meat was not flavoursome. I would also hesitate to describe the burger as an ‘Inferno’ because the spice level provided by the jalapenos was not that good. It was all the extra spicy ingredients that I had chosen which added some heat to the burger. It seems like the differences between the original burger and speciality ones lies in one or two ingredients such as the cheeses. As such I would recommend ordering the original and then vamping it up with the fresh produce and condiments.
My dinner companion ordered the grilled chicken breast with the Fudds fries and a jacket potato. The dish looked appealing when it arrived and the accompanying toast was delicious. (Although I can never understand why restaurants give you one triangle half of the bread slice. What happens to the other half?) The best thing about the dish was the toast which is a real mis-step on the part of Fuddruckers. The chicken needed some kind of sauce and as the options in the condiments section did not appeal to my dinner companion it turned into a disappointingly dry dish. Even a tiny bit of gravy would have helped.
So what can be said about Fuddruckers claims? Conceptually it is an interesting and purse-friendly idea, but there are snags in the execution with the resulting effect of some disappointing food. The item enjoyed most by my dinner companion and I was the banana smoothie, which was a fresh-tasting drink. There needs to be some more attention given to the way the meat is handled and then maybe we will be getting a better meal for it. However, compared to similar restaurants, Fuddruckers does provide value for money with the complimentary food bars, and the portion sizes are generous. Also the restaurant manager seemed a very friendly person and did a good job of keeping an eye on all the diners. Would I visit again? I would have to think twice and would definitely be careful about my order. Quite frankly all the extras in the world cannot make up for a disappointing burger patty.