There’s a special kind of pressure reserved for cool international restaurant and bar brands making their debut in the UAE. So, following weeks of monster burger and scroll-stopping shake teasers on social media, does New York import Black Tap measure up?
Set in the grounds of Jumeirah Al Naseem, the burger restaurant’s casual, industrial interiors open out onto a terrace overlooking the waters of the central Turtle Lagoon. But there’s appeal for all ages here far beyond watching cute aquatic creatures enjoy a spot of rehabilitation.
Adults will enjoy the old-school hip-hop playing in the background, retro car seats tucked under dining tables and cold craft hops behind the bar, while kids will insist (you have been warned) on ordering one of the enormous, rainbow-hued shakes that are ferried proudly, in all their garish, cotton-candy-encased glory, to diners across the restaurant.
We start with guacamole and chips and beef tacos, before delving into the main – and most ubiquitously Instagrammed – event. Piled with chilli con carne, salsa and sour cream, and encased in corn tortillas, the neat little tacos (perfectly sized for little hands) are rich, savoury and moreish, but so filling that alarm bells start to ring when the belly-busting burgers arrive moments later (some work needs to be done on pacing).
Having spent so much time ogling Black Tap’s stacked beauties on the internet before arriving, we’re surprised our classic all-American and barbecue sauce-laden Texan burgers arrive somewhat dismantled (though all the easier for Mum to cut them into pieces).
But, while the aesthetics aren’t what we expected, everything else is spot on.
Pillow-soft potato buns give way to perfectly cooked, juicy meat, and the special sauce – a kind of spicy thousand island – is just that. Unless you’re fanatical about fries, opt for the onion rings – thick slices so fresh and delicately battered we’re on the verge of declaring them one of our five-a-day.
Black Tap’s burgers might not stand as tall as they’ve been teased to, but as for whether they’re any good – the proof is that you almost certainly won’t have room for pudding.
The Bill (for two)
1x guacamole and chips Dhs35
1x beef tacos Dhs50
1x American burger Dhs65
1x Texan burger Dhs85
1x side onion rings Dhs15
1x large water Dhs35
Total (including service) Dhs285
The bottom line
Mighty, meaty burgers in a cool, contemporary setting.