Al Mahara, Dubai 05-2009

Entering the world's self-proclaimed 7 star hotel to dine in their underground seafood restaurant surrounded by seafood swimming about. Overall expensive and ok.

- Amuse bouche
- Oyster four flavours (thai, carrot, pineapple, natural)
- Foie gras & smoked eel terrine (red-black fruit pickles)
- Loster bisque (saffron rouille)
- Pan fried Japanese scallops (wagyu beef cheek ravioli, bourguignon sauce)
- Dover-sole grenobloise (pak-choi, portobello fazzoletti)
- Violet-flower infused ice parfait (passionfruit marshmallow, blackberry delight)
- Petit fours

Shake Shack, London 07-2013 & Dubai 11-2013

It's interesting. American burgers are so well reputed. To be fair I do recall a surprisingly tasty burger from In & Out in San Francisco, eaten right before an enormous banquet meal at The Slanted Door. Shake Shack is supposedly the darling of NYC and the one that people rave about (other than the hidden burger joint) - I didn't get a chance to try either when I was there, basically because there were so many other food experiences I preferred (eg. Momofuku, Eleven Madison Park, lots of pizza etc). With great interest Shake Shack opened in the middle of Covent Garden in July. Covent Garden is one of my favourite places to go. I don't go for the shopping, I only go to wander through the market, to see some buskers, have drinks on a Saturday afternoon or to visit MEATmarket.

Months of hype lead to me Shake Shack on opening evening. After a solid 60min wait snaking through a line I finally got to the front. The staff were handing out Evening Standards to help keep us entertained.

- Shack Stack (cheeseburger & mushroom burger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce) - a relatively simple tasting burger. Satisfying but not all that special;
- Stick Toffee Concrete (vanilla custard, chocolate toffee, paul a. young chocolate chunks, salted caramel sauce, malt powder) - a dessert with lots of sweet and salty powers which was quite good;
- fries - crinkle cut is different. Quite crispy exteriors, insides a bit mushy;
- Shack-Cago Dog @ Dubai airport (German all-beef hot dog, Rick's Picks Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt, mustard)

MEATliquor is different and better for both burgers and hot dogs. Tommi's is more comparable (with a similar type of burger) and much better. I never tried Patty & Bun but my friends rate that around MEATliquor level. Shake Shack just doesn't stack up at all. Five Guys is supposedly even worse. London burger quality has certainly taken over.

Next time I would order from MEATmarket just across the way. It's not a bad option if in Dubai airport (the only other place I've tried it) since there isn't anything similar other than McDonalds/Burger King, but it's more expensive.

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