Sun, 02 February 2020
Black Tap served Behnaz Sanjana the unexpected and she came away pleasantly surprised (with resolutions for 2020 still in place).
New York’s raw, artsy back-alley vibe gives you a nod as soon as you step into the interiors of Black Tap at the Jumeirah Royal Saray Bahrain. The feel of the outlet is far removed from the all-white ambience of its host hotel with dark, graffiti-splattered walls and picture frames naming the works of hip-hop artists that play on a loop.
I had been toying with the idea of going vegetarian on most weekdays, but there we were, the better half and I, standing in the midst of one of North America’s most famous burger joints on a Wednesday night.
I had resigned myself to the fate of sinking my teeth into some of the juicy meat the establishment is much renowned for until outlet manager, the affable Bernard, suggested we give the meatless options a try. Well, why not, I thought. It would mean putting not only our resolutions to the test (ahem, its only February), but also Black Tap through its paces. As if to say: we already know you do a mean craft burger loaded with melt-in-your-mouth prime beef, and the taste of your chicken wings squawks all the way to Timbuktu, but how about you grab our attention with your vegetarian options. C’mon, show us what you got! And show us they did!
Bernard suggested the Teriyaki Brocolli and the Brussels sprouts to start with. The unassuming names belie a flavour-packed punch. Each floret of the pan-fried broccoli sprinkled with sesame and scallion greens was a shining example of ‘al denté’ done right. Although the sauce kept a low profile in the presentation of the dish, its robust Asian flavours were not so unobtrusive on the tongue.
The Brussels retained their characteristic aftertaste, but each morsel was a treat to eat, dipped into the tahini sauce on the side. Equally enjoyable was the Black Tap Salad – fresh veggies topped with a cut-up prime beef burger and dollops of special sauce. So, we had our veggies and ate our meat too.
Seconds after we bit into our respective meatless burgers, plates were exchanged to share in the incredible flavours. The mister’s Falafel Burger had a crunchy-outside-moist-inside patty topped with feta cheese, pickled onion and parsley. A smooth humus was slathered on to the soft, yellow-hued potato bun, and tahini sauce waited patiently beside.
My Vegan Burger was a delicious black bean patty encased in Rudy’s bun, which is vegan, layered with vegan mayonnaise (extra points for me!). The bun was soft and pleasing in texture, no fibre-filled frump here. And oh, the salsa verde it came with was the magic that pulled together and heightened all the flavours on the platter. All in all, the dish was so appealing, it didn’t feel like a compromise on the meat at all.
We wrapped up the meal with the acknowledgement that vegetarian flavours can be incredibly satisfying. That’s not to say we won’t return for meatier options; like the famous Atomic Shrimp and the Truffle Burger. And the Fried Mozz and trademark crazy shakes, especially after a night on the town on weekends, when the outlet is open till 5am. You should too.