Suzana, Wan and I recently travelled to Dubai recently (psst: you can check out the highlights of our adventures on our Instagram Stories
- just click the Dubai highlights on our profile page!) and were lucky enough to stay at Sofitel Downtown Dubai, which is just a 10-minute walk away to Dubai Mall (the second largest mall in the world by land area!). When we were exploring Dubai Mall, we were pretty much gobsmacked by everything - the sheer size of the mall, the shops available, and most of all, the food offerings! If you're looking to try foreign chain restaurants (particularly American ones), chances are, Dubai Mall has an outlet. The best part is, they're all halal! ?
We got to try a few of those eateries, including Din Tai Fung, Five Guys, and Magnolia Bakery. But it wouldn't be an understatement to say that the eatery we were most excited to try was Shake Shack. This popular burger and milkshake joint that originated in NYC has long been raved about by just about everyone, and we have yet to see a halal outlet open near our shores ☹️ So it was high on our priority list to eat there. We ended up eating there not only once, but also coming back for a second round! ?
Dubai has not one, not two, but SIX Shake Shack outlets. While most of us on this side of the world have heard about the one at the Dubai Airport (located in Terminal 3), we were pleasantly surprised to find out there are five other outlets, including one at Dubai Mall. Fun fact: other Arab countries that have Shake Shack include Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Turkey has Shake Shake outlets in Istanbul as well! All the Middle-East and Turkey Shake Shack outlets use 100% halal beef. Check out the full list of international outlets here
Anyway, needless to say, we were stoked to get our hands on those burgers! After a morning spent visiting the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (which are located in Dubai Mall), we skedaddled our way to Shake Shake located on Level 1 (near The Waterfalls installation).
The restaurant is big and very spacious - we didn't have a problem at all finding a seat in the restaurant both times we were there. The restaurant works on a self-service system, meaning you order at the cashier, who will give you a buzzer that will go off when your food is ready so you can collect it at the collection counter. Our food took about 10 - 15 minutes to be ready, so not that long at all!
The menu is pretty straightforward. Everything is ala carte and there are no set meals, so you'll have to order your burger, fries and drink to make a complete meal. All three of us opted for the classic Shackburger while we were there, both times! In retrospect, maybe we should have tried some of the other burgers on the menu, such as the mushroom or chicken ones, but the Shackburger was so good that we just stuck to it ? The ShackBurger costs AED30 for a single patty (equivalent to around SGD11/RM34), or AED42 (SGD15/RM48). You can also add fried onions to your burger for an additional AED4 - 6, depending on whether you have a single or double patty. We also tried the regular fries (AED18 or SGD7/ RM21) and the cheese fries (AED24 or SGD9/RM27).
We were torn between whether to try their custard ice creams (known as Concretes!) but ended up opting for their Classic Hand Spun Shakes (AED25 each or SGD10/RM29) as well as their lemonade, made in-house! Besides the original and strawberry mint flavour lemonade listed on the menu, there are also special flavours on rotation - Suzana got the peach lemonade (per the staff's recommendation) when we visited which was deliciously fruity and refreshing. There's a condiment area next to the food collection counter where you can get your cutlery, napkins, straws as well as tubs of ketchup (no chilli sauce though sorry - Wan sorely missed that to dip his fries in ?).
So let's just cut to the chase: the burgers are delicious ? We loved how they went back to basics - the ShackBurger comprises of just the beef patty, a slice of cheese, lettuce, tomato and ShakeSauce (their proprietary house sauce), sandwiched between a potato bun. No super complicated toppings or mix-ins, just good solid ingredients, with the taste of the beef as the star of the show. ShakeShack uses a smash burger technique to cook their patties (where you take a ball of meat and smash it down when you cook it on the griddle), meant to allow the patty to get crooks and crannies that get caramelised and crisp as it cooks up. We LOVED how the beef tasted in the burger (which is probably why we order the exact same thing when we came back for round 2!).
Don't be fooled by how normal-sized the burgers look in the pictures - a single-patty ShackBurger when combined with fries and a drink made for a pretty filling meal! Suzana would know, because the second time we were at Shake Shack, she ordered a double-patty ShackBurger and was low-key struggling to finish it towards the end (it was a delicious struggle though ?). Having said that, Wan ate double-patties both times pretty easily, so those with big appetites can opt for the double ShackBurger ? We also found out that sharing one fries between the three of us was already enough, as the serving size is quite generous. We also found the Spun Shakes to be lovely and creamy (and were fans of both the chocolate and strawberry flavours that we tried), but if you're worried it might be too filling, the lemonade makes for a refreshingly zesty pairing with the burger.
Our meals at Shake Shack each time came up to an average total cost of around AED200, inclusive of 5% tax (equivalent to around SGD75 or RM230) for three burgers, two fries and three drinks, so you can expect to pay on average around AED67 per person if you're eating there. It's not exactly the cheapest meal you can find in Dubai, but we definitely reckon it's worth the splurge if you're in town!
I'm so glad we got to try this delicious eatery! We're definitely missing it already - when I was attending the preview for Jewel Changi Aiport, all I could do was longingly look at the Shake Shack store there while walking past ? We're still holding out hope that a halal outlet will open somewhere nearby soon. In the meantime, if you ever find yourself in Dubai or perhaps transiting at Dubai Airport, please don't forget to give this delicious burger joint a try, and let us know what you think!