The next chapter in a search for the perfect burger…

We have an important question for you. Is there such a thing as an objectively perfect burger? Golden principles to which we can all subscribe? Or will there always be subjective factions, doomed to die on their respective hills of whether, say, the smash or steakhouse variety reigns supreme.

What about the buns? And the toppings? Should we mix sweet and savoury? How should they be cooked? What about the sauce..?

As part of our exhaustive efforts to report from the front line of this crucial, era-defining issue, and come up with some sort of answer, we’ve come to Adrift Burger Bar in Yas Mall. It’s the first permanent UAE location of the casual dining concept from Michelin-recognised ‘Gypsy Chef’, David Myers.

Set away from the main mall food courts, and sandwiched between retail giants in the sporting district, Adrift already cuts a cool, aloof character. Convention is a cage after all. The design incorporates influences from the land of Myers’ origin story, California along with flashes of international flair that represent his gastronomy-led globe-trotting.

That world gaze is evident in the menu too, with components such as ‘tomato ajwan jam’ and ‘curry leaf fries’ offering exotic flavour map pins.

We order one of the signature offerings, the DM Burger (Dhs55). “Is it available in slider form?” we ask the helpful server “so we can slide into the DM”. The server looks at us kindly, “no sir, just the burger”. The bun pun, though *sighs in cringe*, did have a purpose. Sliders are a great way of exploring burger menus, allowing you to experience two or more varieties without immediate onset of the meat sweats.

Our server also asks how we’d like the patty cooked, and “somewhere along the medium-rare side of medium” comes our confusing response. We also order what is essentially a Greek (tomato and whipped feta) salad (Dhs35) to go alongside the burger.

Plated up, the DM (named after David Myers) looks the part. A wedge of finely shredded lettuce and onion, drenched in secret sauce, sits on top of our slightly undercooked (likely the result of our abstract description) patty. There’s a layer of aged Vermont cheddar in the brioche bun too. Examining the dish as a whole – it works. There are a lot of spinning flavour plates vying for your attention but experienced simultaneously and the art that went into its conception is clear.

It’s light and buttery, the cheddar adds nutty-tingles and there’s zero doubt that the mildly sweet brioche is the right bun for this job. The salad is great too of course. But another reminder of our moment of madness at the point of ordering. Maybe we’ll have fries for dessert.

Verdict: Adrift offers something different and exciting to Abu Dhabi’s burger scene. Perfect? Not for us. But it is well worth casting Adrift for.

ADRIFT Burger Bar, Level 1 Yas Mall, Yas Island, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thu to Sat 10am to midnight. @adriftburgerbar.uae

Images: Provided