Burger Rebels

We check out new rock 'n' roll burger joint in Wafi

Time Out Says

In an average day I hear a lot of (sometimes empty) promises, with new venues constantly claiming to be unlike anything Dubai has ever eaten before. Then Burger Rebel puffed out its chest, billing itself as the Che Guevara of fast food and offering a total shake-up of burgers as we know them. The venue’s confidence in its own revolutionary credentials seemed so extreme that we had to see if these comrades were up to the fight.

My friend and I made our way through the entrance into a large, open but still rather dark space, with a young yet stark and utilitarian ambience that made it seem more like a bar than a burger joint. Mismatched colourful soft chairs accented the dark space, clad in what appeared to be reclaimed carrier bags. Shiny metal and industrial-style lighting did a dim job of illuminating the place, and the walls were a blank canvas of heavy-duty metal sheeting. We’d been promised graffiti to complete the urban edge, but knew already not to be too harsh when faced with this dull décor (and neither should you): the walls are due to be sprayed by local artists over several months, making the decoration an ongoing, organic process.

Glancing through the menu, it seemed strange that the burger section was in fact limited and reasonably traditional (aside from the odd slice of beetroot or pineapple): each of the outrageously forward-thinking recipes had been confined to the sliders (mini burgers). Unfortunately, the sliders came in a plate of three of the same type, and because we were eager to try several of the interesting-sounding varieties, it seemed a shame that they wouldn’t let us mix and match the varieties on one platter. Instead, my friend and I let our arms be twisted (note: it didn’t take much) into ordering the foie gras burger sliders and the Burger Rebel sliders, made with beef tongue.

To my surprise, the foie gras sliders were fairly generous with the quantity of this expensive ingredient and were stuffed with long, thick chunks – one of the livers was so huge it was spilling out on all sides. The foie gras was well cooked, soft and creamy on the inside, and the accompanying slivers of green apple gave a little sour, crisp bite to break down the fatty liver decadence. Let’s face it, foie gras is what it is. If you find it too rich, or too heavy, don’t order this.

Despite the odd sound of offal in a burger, the ox tongue in the Burger Rebel signature sliders was less of an acquired taste. It made for a beautiful beef sandwich, with tender, juicy slices of meat and a wonderfully lively horseradish cream. The exotic ceviche mix, with mango and ‘coconut air’, was partly a triumph: the large chunks of fish were not overly cured and the flavours were sweet, fresh and varied. Sadly this lovely dish was ruined by the over-the-top levels of sourness and chilli heat.

We’d overloaded on burgers for what was meant to be starters, so we took the waiter’s suggestion to share a hot dog plate for mains, which came with two portions as a matter of course. Echewing (possibly foolishly) his fishy-sounding suggestion of seafood sausage, we went for the rabbit hot dog. It was awful. With the mountains of greasy mushrooms, mozzarella and tomato sauce, it tasted like a bad pizza in a bun. Underneath all that was a disappointingly dry sausage.

Service was friendly and warm, if a little too anxious about how happy we were. Burger Rebel has promise to be a destination for sliders with a difference, but if those hot dogs are revolutionary, I’ll stick to the current regime, thanks.

The bill (for two)
2x soft drink Dhs52
1x large water Dhs14
1x ceviche Dhs37
1x Burger Rebel sliders Dhs35
1x foie gras sliders Dhs110
1x rabbit hot dog Dhs80
1x fries Dhs15
1x beetroot Dhs15
1x plaintain chips Dhs15
2x espresso Dhs26
Total (excluding service) Dhs399

By Penelope Walsh  | 09 Oct 2012

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Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
Dress CodeCasuals
Show number +971 4 324 4252
Dubai, Oud Metha, 1st Floor, Wafi Mall, Wafi City, Umm Hurair 2

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