South St Burger

Of all the things Dubai needs, a new burger chain is probably fairly low down the list. But not to be outdone by their North American cousins, the Canadians are now in on the act. Dubai’s first Canadian burger chain, unveiled at Ibn Battuta Mall, shouts about ‘better beef and better burgers’: while the words ‘hormone- and antibiotic-free’ have never been the best way to get me licking my lips, this promise of naturally reared and healthier beef needed to be tested. Located amid the hustle and bustle of Ibn Battuta’s food court, our first sight of South St Burger offered nothing out of the ordinary: a clean, colourful but entirely unexceptional fast-food setup, in which guests pay at the counter then slide along it with a tray, à la school canteen. And that’s exactly what we did. First up, there wasn’t a particularly large choice of burgers or sides: it was a small, neat menu, and I quite liked that. My mate and I chose a cheeseburger and a cheese and beef bacon burger combo. Next came a tricky choice – white or wholemeal bread – then, further along that counter, a selection of cheeses, salads, sauces, mustards and so on. I just about restrained myself from asking the server to cram everything into the bun, trying some goat’s cheese, chipotle chutney and Monterey Jack cheese (the server didn’t accept that the goat variety constituted cheese, so I naughtily took her up on the offer of a second helping). When the burgers were finally ready, topped with a flame-grilled patty, this odd combination of optional items seemed rather interesting and pleasingly unusual. Yet ironically, it was the basics that weren’t right. The bap (which we spotted came straight out of a Modern Bakery bag) wasn’t cooked, so it soon turned soggy in contact with all the meaty juices. The beef bacon was okay, but the beef patty itself was disappointing. If the beef is so carefully sourced, it’s a shame it’s not better quality – I could actually see gristly little chunks – and that staff don’t take more care over the cooking (both burgers were dry and overcooked). Equally, given the variety of choice for every other aspect of the burger, it’s odd that no one asked how I wanted it cooked before they murdered it with fire. Perhaps it was the counter setup, perhaps it was the cold bread turning this into a sandwich, not a burger, or perhaps it was the taste of the pickles. But somehow South St Burger just made me think of a bog-standard takeaway deli, where they hammer out sandwiches with conveyor-belt efficiency, only this time with a flame grill. The bill (for two) 1x cheeseburger combo with fries Dhs49 1x cheese and beef bacon Dhs46 1x butter chicken fries Dhs16 2x small water Dhs6 Total (excluding service) Dhs117

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