Review: Oporto – the Aussie favourite opens in Dubai Festival City Mall
Find out why Australians in Dubai are in a flap over these chicken burgers…
If you’re an Australian living in Dubai, chances are you’ve had the chicken salt conversation recently. Rumours of this supercharged seasoning have been liberally sprinkled across Aussie WhatsApp groups, as news spread that Bondi-born burger chain Oporto was opening in Dubai Festival City Mall.
That Oporto would bring its legendary Bondi burger was a no-brainer, but for homesick expats it was the thought of chicken-salt-dusted hot chips that really had us chomping at the bit. Upon opening weekend, phones started pinging with messages about the umami-pumping salt. First, came the devastating news that the chips came sans chicken salt. Next came the jubilation, as we learnt there was a stash behind the counter (you just had to ask for it). Needless to say, the Aussie contingent flocked to Festival City like a pack of hungry seagulls.
It’s not all about that fiendishly yellow salt, however. From its birthplace on the sun-kissed shores of Bondi Beach, this Portuguese-inspired eatery has built an empire off the back of flame-grilled chicken burgers doused in a signature chilli sauce. Inspired by the flavour-packed sauces of his Portuguese homeland, Oporto founder Antonio Cerqueira created his first batch in Sydney back in 1986, a zesty combination of chilli, ginger, lemon and garlic loosely bound with oil.
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Now, in a bright and airy eatery on the other side of the world, it’s having the same nostalgic effects as when Antonio stirred up his first pot. Hot off the grill (which you can spy from the dining room), not only does our double Bondi burger (Dhs29) taste as good as we remember, somehow it tastes even better.
The formula is simple: two slender chicken breast fillets (also available as single or triple), shredded iceberg, cheese, mayonnaise and a liberal dose of that slow-burn chilli sauce.
We wager you’ll want more sauce, so order it slathered over flame-grilled chicken (Dhs65 for a half a chicken). Our smoky, juicy bird comes with sides of Portuguese rice and chargrilled corn, as well as a Middle East-appropriate serve of pita, crunchy pickles and garlic sauce.
In fact, the whole menu has been beefed up for its Dubai debut, with breakfast burgers, salad bowls and even a textbook-perfect lamington for dessert (Dhs18) – and if that doesn’t cure your homesickness, nothing will.
Dubai Festival City Mall, Level 1, daily 8am to 10pm. oportome.com