We’ve been selflessly sacrificing our waistlines, testing the city’s new burger joints. The Best Burger Club is the culmination of that research, a membership for the elite. Sit down and grab a napkin, the bun show is about to begin.
Creating a great burger is alchemy, in its tastiest form. It is a blend of science, art, magic and sirloin. It’s bun integrity, freshness of ingredients, balance of flavours and passion of the kitchen staff. All the burger outlets below are shining examples of the craft, and we stand by our recommendations. We’re committed to adding to it, so let us know in the comment section where we should try next.
JLT’s reputation as one of Dubai’s most important foodie districts is well-earned. But a straight-up no-fuss quality burger joint has arguably been missing from its smorgasbord. Enter: Pickl, with coquettish swagger. You’ll find the modern diner in ONE JLT, on the ground floor, with generous stripped-back seating, cheeky flashes of neon and chrome and a delightfully open kitchen.
We order the Bacon Cheeseburger (AED 35); and The Chicken Sando (AED 35), which comes in a variety of spice levels. We opt for the top drawer Nashville Hot flavour. Because spice is life y’all.
Now, you don’t call a restaurant Pickl and then shy away from those little acidic-salty alumni of the university of yumni. No, in fact it’s fair to say that pickles are an elemental column of what makes Pickl, Pickl and part of what makes it such a worthwhile visit too. Like everything else at the eatery, the pickles are prepped in-house to a secret recipe. They even make their own pickled onion slices which, when added to your burgers, give them a taste fresh from 3019.
The beef patties are a painstakingly researched ratio of various prime cuts, smashed just before cooking. The rubs and marinade for the 24-hour brined chicken are a deeply-researched fine-tuned blend of spices and all the sandwiches are completely customisable.
We strongly endorse both the beef and chicken burger options. Everything from the superbly balanced potato bun (we’re not the biggest fans of brioche buns. For us, cake should be permanently fenced into the dessert enclosure); to the delicate charring of the beef patty; the multi-stage cooking process of the plump chicken fillets, resulting in the lightest, most delightfully crispy skin; and the freshness of the produce demonstrates the passion that’s clearly gone into crafting every aspect of the menu.
The chef behind it all, Stephen Flawith, has created something that immediately ranks in the region’s top burger outlets. An achievement even more impressive when you consider that he’s set the pricing point at a refreshingly affordable level. We love the homemade pickle angle, it’s a beautifully under-explored frontier. It’s clear Pickl is one of those rare brands who’s primary focus is directly connected with the pursuit of pleasure.
Pickl, ONE JLT, 04 5846859, Sunday-Thursday 8am-11pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm.
The coolest kids in school were among the ones that put the least deliberate effort into being cool. It was just in their marrow. That’s kind of how it is with High Joint. In an unassuming corner of Al Safa, we find this micro burger bar, with just enough seating room to swing a permanent marker. It looks like people have been doing just that; the wood panelling features thousands of graffitied glyphs of patrons past, verifying their visit to an underground burger phenomenon.
John, the store’s charismatic front of house liaison, tells us that people make inter-emirate journeys to get their High Joint burger fix. This is a bold claim, and us journalists are a cynical breed. John recommends we take the High Burger (AED 35) with his own customised double patty serving, and a sprinkling of bacon. Challenge accepted. We also order the Spicy Mango Slaw Chicken burger (AED 37), but confess some anxiety about the mango.
The chicken burger is Renaissance good. It belongs in a gallery. And it might be the best chicken burger in Dubai. You’ve got the fillet, a juicy chicken breast fillet with a secret recipe buffalo sauce marinade. Diced jalapeno and pepper jack make a velvety cushion of savoury relish, and the breast is topped with mango slaw. Our anxiety about the mango now seems foolish. It’s not sweet, it’s a bitter, salty, fiery ode to beauty.
The High Burger is difficult to describe without breaking into song – the hype is real. The potato bun is the yield of hundreds of hours experimental baking – the result, class-A buns. The smashed beef patty is also a recipe forged from intense investigative burger science and the High Sauce is an example of refined condimental excellence. The whole ensemble is even greater than the sum of its wildly handsome parts, and like the chicken contingent, possibly the best in Dubai.
The culinary brains of the operation, Dr H, has been on the hunt for the perfect burger since 2005. It’s a search that’s taken him across four continents (evident in their limited edition regional specials). All of the doc’s pan-global experience has been channeled into this first outlet of what we are certain will be a burger empire.
High Joint, Street 8A, Al Safa, Dubai, 04 2681586. Closed Sunday, Monday-Wednesday 11.30am-11pm, Thursday 11.30am-midnight, Friday 1.30pm-midnight, Saturday noon-midnight.
London Slide is a new restaurant found, fittingly, right under the curving arch of a giant wheel, Bluewaters’ Ain Dubai. The venue itself is instantly remarkable – every inch is lit-up with attention demanding art, and sassy details that give it genuine Shoreditch echos. As you may have pieced together from the name, the main focus is sliders; but you’ll also find bao; punk shakes; and a list of sides that include crumbed camembert (AED 30). Which is the stuff of cockney fables.
We take The Duke (AED 55 for two sliders) for a canter: Wagyu beef; brie; mushroom; truffle; avocado; Japanese mayo, and the Fried Chicken Bao (AED 45 for two), which, although technically not a burger, is, ‘slap-the-table-and-make-loud-guttural-noises’ good.
We entered London Slide on this list, not just because of the bao and the golden cheesy nuggets of lore, but because they’re doing something a little bit different, and they’re doing it well. At AED 55 for two sliders, The Duke is far from the cheapest burger on the market – but it is simultaneously Dubai AND London, in a bun.
There’s no fashionable smashed patty or brioche bap, what we have here is a delicate sandwich filled with luxurious ingredients, conceived with strong culinary nous. It looks like something off Buckingham Palace’s afternoon tea platter and the taste is, *raises pinky* rather magnificent. We see you London Slide, we see what you’re doing, and we like it.
London Slide, Bluewaters, 04 8767804. Sunday-Thursday noon-10pm, Friday-Saturday noon-midnight.