Sunday, May 15, 2016
British Burgers Take Abu Dhabi [Review of GBK]
Abu Dhabi is a fantastic place for finding all sorts of food from India, Asia, and the Middle East, but sometimes for us Westerners...all we want is a burger and fries to remind us of home. Recently, a great UK chain has arrived in Abu Dhabi, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK). I used to frequent this spot during my few years in London, and the quality here in Abu Dhabi is surprisingly on par. While it lacks the beauty of being situated on an open air street, with outdoor seating (like the UK branches), here in AD, it is situated on the top floor of the Abu Dhabi Mall. However, they do what they can with the space. With a small separated eating area in front of the restaurant, it feels somewhat like you are seated at a sidewalk table (Ok, maybe if you use your imagination a little). It still allows you to sit away from crowds of shoppers, but with plenty of space to people watch.
They have a modern and fun menu with lots of options for all sort of tastes (i.e vegetarians; those you (me) that are trying to be healthy; and of course for those of you that want a true decadent burger, fries and milkshake.) They even have at least three types of fries!....Skinny Shoestring, Chunky Chips, and my absolute favorite, Sweet Potato. Sorry but, we know that we all judge a place by their fries. Even if they do everything else well, and their fries are terrible....they will fail. Well GBK doesn't have to worry about that. their fries are all served crispy and hot, with a selection of different sauces (if you are into that), from spicy habanero to creamy blue cheese.
We decided to try the classic cheese burger and the classic veggie burger to get a sense for what GBK can do at their simplest. Part of the fun is that you can really choose -your-own-adventure when it comes to ordering your burger. There are a slew of different toppings (including a fried egg! YUM), cheeses, sauces, and even a choice of bread (or even no bread at all.) You can remove or add any ingredients they offer, and I promise, your server will never look at you strangely.
The meat is not overwhelmingly rich, and still very flavorful. The veggie burger is fried (so not the healthiest) but it is a "meaty" patty made from loads of beans, veg and spices. All burgers come with two large hot and crispy onion rings and a side of their crunchy fresh cabbage slaw.
Even though they are a burger joint, their simple salads are a hearty and refreshing balance to the meat and fried food that you will otherwise be ingesting. The quinoa salad is a really generous portion of pure quinoa mixed in with a handful of corn, arugula, beets and feta. And, while I didn't get to it this time, the Halloumi, Cucumber and Strawberry Salad will be my go-to for my next visit.
The milkshakes are thick and creamy as they should be because the ice cream is crazy thick and almost chewy...which, by the way, is delicious to eat on its own (they offer it for dessert). I wished that the banana milkshake tasted a little more like real bananas, but then again, that is like wanting JIFFY peanut butter to taste like real peanuts. And if you do have any room for something sweet at the end of your meal (I unfortunately always seem to have room), you will have to try the soft, warm chocolate cake! And yes it comes with a scope of that decadent ice cream.