The traditional burger joint gets a fine-dining upgrade…

We might be biased, but we’re confident that What’s On readers know their stuff. At the What’s On Dubai Awards 2023, they crowned Slaw as the city’s Favourite Burger. So, when chef and founder Ali Yazdi decided to expand his empire of brilliantly good burgers to Abu Dhabi, we knew we needed to be among the first to check it out.

There’s a reason that the capital edition, located in Al Qana, is called Slaw and More. The offering at this branch is more upscale than the Slaw burger bars found in Dubai. Positioned as the ‘UAE’s first burger boutique,’ this is less about fast food and more about offering a more fine dining experience.

The space still has a casual, come-as-you-are feeling: There’s a glass-fronted kitchen, booth seating in turquoise leathers, neon signs, and colourful murals that include a fun picture of chef Ali wearing his signature backwards cap. But then there’s more elevated touches, including DJ decks, a mocktail bar, and a fridge where guests can admire the premium cuts of wagyu.

The menu is also a reflection of Slaw and More’s more fancy feel – as is the pricing, with sandos priced from Dhs80 to Dhs160 and burgers ranging from Dhs99 to Dhs180. Decadent twists on wings, fried chicken, corn and calamari open the menu, then there’s a selection of burgers and sandos, a trio of fries and a singular dessert.

From the starters, the curlimara (Dhs60) arrives as pieces of thinly cut and lightly fried squid with a subtle hint of spice, that we drizzle with grilled lemon and dip in a punchy tartar sauce. The ancho ranch chicken poppers (Dhs45) are outstanding, the crisp and crunch perfectly pairing with the creamy ranch sauce.

We opt for the fish sando (Dhs160) next, which is presented like the traditional British fish finger sandwich, except alongside a fillet of fresh battered hammour served in the plump brioche bun, there’s also layered of American cheese and a tartar sauce spiked with yuzu caviar. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but trust us, it does.

We can’t resist the canoe marrow burger (Dhs130), made using wholly 10-day dry aged Wagyu. Alongside the melt-in-the-mouth patty, it’s layered with American cheese and fermented cucumber, encased in the same perfectly toasted brioche bun as the fish sando. On the side, we receive two soy glazed grilled bone marrows, the contents of which we drizzle into the bun. The black rubber gloves laid next to our cutlery come in handy as we take a first bite into this amalgam of power flavours, each one enhancing the next.

There may only be one dessert on the menu (Dhs40), but it’s an only child that needs no siblings. A gooey mix of valrhona chocolate and cookie crumble is set in a skillet, its warmth given a cool chill thanks to a dollop of vanilla ice cream, the whole dish of sweetness with a topping of chef Ali’s two childhood favourite chocolate bars: Snickers and Twix, melted into one.

Verdict: Premium ingredients make this elevated experience about so much more than brilliant burgers.

Slaw and More, Al Qana, Al Maqta Street, 10am to 1am Sun to Thurs, 10am to 2am Fri and Sat. Tel: (0)54 289 9323. @slawandmore