To burger or to lobster? That is the question

Burger & Lobster DubaiIs it going to be a burger or a lobster kind of day? Now that’s a tough decision for a burger aficionado with a newfound love for lobster rolls. Thankfully, Burger & Lobster made that choice easy. With only both these items served at all their restaurants in the US, UK, Sweden, Kuwait and now in Dubai’s Burj Daman building in the DIFC district, feasting on both could only be the laudable way to go, right? Having eaten at their flagship London outpost a couple of times (and loved it), I was looking forward to a good, casual and filling meal.

The restaurant was almost packed on a Friday night. The décor at the entrance screams lobster – with wooden lobster pots lining the walls and corridor halls, to giant lobster tanks, one could tell that Burger & Lobster is serious about offering fresh lobster fare. The main dining area is modern with an industrial vibe, yet quite dark and somewhat gloomy for a casual and family-friendly concept. Reddish hues emanating from plush leather booths gave way to large high tables next to an open kitchen. The crowd was quite eclectic and the atmosphere vibrant, thanks partly to the (very loud) upbeat background music.

While the hostesses at the entrance were warm and welcoming, the rest of the staff were disengaged with a snotty attitude – quite a contrast to my two London experiences where they were bright, delightful, and very friendly. Our waiter, perhaps eager to get our order in quickly, was not at all talkative. My friends and I were familiar with the Burger & Lobster concept but even so, he made no attempt to explain it. On the drinks menu, I found a nice selection of milkshakes that, with a dash of your preferred alcohol and an added AED40, can be whisked into a ‘hardshake’. My question on what spirit he would recommend was met with silence and a smirk, which was really rather rude. So I made my own decision and settled for a popcorn shake infused with Bourbon – a great combination, by the way.

Burger & Lobster offers three ‘meals’ – a beef burger, a lobster roll, or a full lobster that could either be steamed or grilled -each priced at AED127 – and served with French fries, a side salad, and their signature lemon and butter sauce. Between us, we ordered two grilled lobsters, one lobster roll and a burger.

Burger & Lobster Dubai - Dubai restaurants - FoodivaThe food in Dubai was as good as London. The chefs have mastered the recipes quite well and maintained a good quality consistency, with generous and filling portions. My grilled lobster was tender, juicy, and quite flavourful on its own. The silky lemon, garlic and butter sauce was equally delicious and a great dip for the lobster, and the crispy French fries. A mesclun salad of spinach, arugula, scallions and parmesan with a vinaigrette dressing was fresh and crunchy.

The lobster roll, despite being small, was my favourite. Packed in a warm, soft, buttery brioche and filled with a creamy lobster salad, the sandwich was refreshingly delectable with hints of lemon coming through the small chunks of lobster. What the roll lacked in texture, it made up for in fresh, zingy flavours.

Contrary to the compact roll, the Australian beef burger was quite large. Cooked to the diner’s preference, it was served with the usual burger trimmings of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and optional veal bacon. The burger bun was soft and fresh, and the patty quite juicy, thanks in part, to an accompanying house-made sauce. Was it the best burger we ever tasted in Dubai? Hardly so, but it was still tasty.

Even though we were quite full, for the sake of the review, we tried the only two desserts on offer – a lemon cheesecake mousse and a tres leches cake. The latter was my favourite – airy, light, and sweet, the cake was made with three types of milk, and topped with a delicious whipping cream and caramelised nuts. Thick and luscious, the cheesecake mousse was more of an upside-down cheesecake and was my dining companions’ top choice.

Taking into account food and ambiance, Burger & Lobster lives up to its London sibling. Yet service was a letdown and felt forced, despite the casual and friendly vibe that is the essence of the concept. Major fine tuning is required on that front.

A second glaring difference was – you guessed it – pricing. At AED127 per ‘meal’, one could make the argument that the price point is decent for premium, fresh Canadian imported lobster. Add to that a 10% DIFC tax and AED35 per dessert, one can expect to pay approximately AED180 per person, sans alcohol. Compared to other casual eateries in DIFC, Burger & Lobster offers good value for money. And yet, with the same imported products, meals abroad cost considerably less – in New York City, a meal is AED74 and in London, AED105. I can understand a slightly higher price in Dubai given the produce has to travel much further than for its siblings, but why so inflated? It’s a typical example of a restaurant here choosing to hike the prices just because it’s Dubai.

Burger & Lobster’s food is good and well executed, with a casual and vibrant vibe. Yet the lamentable service and my uneasiness at paying more than I should for food that tastes the same elsewhere, leads me to give Dubai’s latest import an average 3 out of 5 FooDiva knife rating. Would I return? Probably. Or I might just wait for a trip to London to enjoy a burger AND a lobster without a side order of guilt.

Tell me, do you think the AED180 price point is fair?

Till next time!


Who is FooDiva’s guest reviewer SJ? By day, she is a professor of political science. By night, she shares her cooking, travelling and dining out adventures on Instagram here.

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 3
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    American, Burgers, DIFC, Dubai, Licensed, Lobster, Location, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants

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7 Responses to “To burger or to lobster? That is the question”

  1. Matthew Broderick April 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Great read and I agree – price point is a little high and this is standard for Dubai eateries. Sometime, I do not mind if the service matches the price but 180 for a smile and a smirk would certainly irk!

    This is my main criticism of the restaurants that come with a star name attached that has (sometimes) won a Michelin star elsewhere. The price is often way above the actual place that has the star. Marco Pierre White’s in Abu Dhabi is a classic example of this – the food and service comes nowhere close to the real deal. Most infuriating for me, is the lack of lunch time offers; I can eat at 2and 3 star places such as Le Gavroche and L’atelier by Joel Rubochon et al. for around 200AED for a 3-course lunch menu but have to spend 400-800 for similar, but lesser, experiences in AD/Dubai.

    Anyway, back to the main article……lobster wins all day long for me but as my wife loves a burger, we will have to check this place out next time we drive up.


    • SJ April 27, 2016 at 10:20 pm

      I completely agree! Having a lunch option will also mean that more people can try out restaurants and enjoy fine food! I know that many restaurants in the DIFC area have these set lunches at lesser prices, but it’s not common across the UAE. Enjoy the lobster!!

  2. Nancy April 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    You’re being very kind giving B&L 3 out of 5. When I went, I had no idea of the concept and staff think that everyone who walks in knows what their offering is. Nope. No explanation given, and I was horrified when I found out there was no menu. My bad! Service was despicable and lets not get started on price. Moreover, they charged me some kind of a “alcohol tax” even though it was early days and they hadn’t received their license yet. So no alcohol. This really is a classic example of unwarranted social media hype.

    • SJ April 28, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      I agree: the staff needs a lot of training and they should not assume that everyone is familiar with the concept and can understand the formula without a menu. They’re in a new market after all and should make an effort to introduce the meals options properly. I do hope they fix that issue soon because I’ve heard several complaints about their lamentable service! That said, the 3 out of 5 is because the food and drinks were quite tasty and the ambiance was vibrant.

  3. Kerie Receveur April 29, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    I like the London branch, but wince at paying Dubai prices. Also, a MAJOR gripe is this insane insistence of restaurants in the UAE on pushing grain-fed meat. Grain-fed beef tastes has the consistency and taste of baby food. Are people here not prepared to eat beef that’s been raised on natural food for cattle (I mean GRASS!) and endure some texture, proper flavour and a richness of experience? It infuriates me.

    • SJ May 3, 2016 at 7:23 am

      I winced at the Dubai prices too, especially when compared to the New York branch! Makes me want to wait for a trip to London to eat there again… Interesting point about the grain-fed beef. I didn’t remember to ask whether that was the case at B&L too but I did notice that it’s common at many other restaurants around Dubai. Thank you for leaving a comment!

      • Kerie Receveur May 3, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        Apparently, having grain-fed beef is supposed to be a B&L selling point – it doesn’t do it for me!

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