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Aubergine Burgers are worth trying. Case reopened.

To all those of you who attended Chirag’s birthday at Gourmet Burger Kitchen and scoffed at my plea for someone, Dear God, Someoneplease order that fabulous sounding Aubergine Burger so I can snatch a nibble from it:


The entire table nearly wretched at my mention of this beauteous auberginated being – clearly people had deep-rooted childhood issues with this innocuous vegetable, making aubergine out to be one of the most abject things you could possibly shove into a burger. I on the other hand, was transported back to plates of roasted aubergine, mashed up into a cream and spiced Indian-style, or deep-fried aubergine ladled with coriander-sprinkled yogurt, or meaty chunks of aubergine with picklish nigella seeds. Mommy was iron chef when it came to cooking aubergines. She still is.

[Why didn’t I just order this voluptuous veggie stack you ask? Because I was otherwise occupied sampling the smoked ranch, blue cheese, mushroom and garlic mayo sliders. 100% beef, medium-rare please. I pleaded with the two vegetarians on the table to give the aubergine a fair chance. But they committed the ultimate faux pas and ordered exactly the same portabello burger. Waste of sampling opportunity. W.A.S.T.E.]

So yeah, this blog post is just one of those in your face things that I had to get out of my system, even though I try to stay the heck away from mammoth international restaurant franchises. It's not that I never go try them, in fact, I've even blogged about a few of them in my early wide-eyed days as an infant blogger. It's just that over time, I've realized that I get way more excited about the super authentic unique little joints in random corners of the city than the big shots piled up in glitzy shopping malls.

But today, I’ll make an exception. I'll talk about this burger I ate when I stepped back into GBK a week later. I'll give it some precious blog space just because I need to prove a point.

The Point: Aubergine burgers are edible.

The Point [continued]: …and they can even look sexy.

GBK’s Aubergine and Goat Cheese burger is the Johnny Bravo of Burgers. Macho, hunky, overgrown and muscly on the top, and then tapering down toward a tightly squished bottom.

There are parts of this burger body that are actually quite endearing. That big flop of mesclun on the top, gelled with a sweet lemonish vinaigrette. The soft toasty sesame bun, with grill lines crisscrossing the mayonnaise smeared insides. The plump juicy wedges of sundried tomatoes squished between the goat cheese patty and the eggplant base. And those bread crumb-coated droplets of creamy goat cheese that had oozed off of the parent goat cheese patty and camouflaged themselves into the mayo on the bun.

But when it came down to the real substance, the ‘meat’ of the burger, in true Johnny Bravo style, this burger was somewhat of a…dunce. There was an overdose of goat cheese, an entire brawny deep-fried chunk, but not a whole lot of aubergine to show for it.  Just one lone aubergine slice right at the bottom, which magically vanished in some dark recess of my tummy before I realized that it could have been quite inspirational if thrown under a liberal salt shower...or maybe marinated in garlic and tomato paste...or maybe, if some sensible soul pulled out that fat mattress of goat cheese and left in just a few warm teasing smears of it, that would have made the aubergine the centre of attraction.

The Meta Point: An Aubergine burger inherently has what it takes to be a rockstar* burger.

*Qualifier to The Meta Point:  GBK's version could have achieved celebritydom had GBK only given that aubergine the respect and flavor it deserved, and not just shoved it under an overwhelmingly fat knob of mediocre quality goat cheese.


Gourmet Burger Kitchen
DIFC, Dubai
Phone: +971 (4) 425-0187
Facebook page


  1. Angie C

    Oh yum! Want one now…stomach growling…

  2. radz

    such an entertaining read Arva ! your comparison of the burger to Johnny Bravo had me in splits !
    must make my mom try these … keep them blogs coming :)

  3. Sally

    Excellent. I like your menu ideas much better.

    • InaFryingPan

      @Angie C – saw your blog about eggplant parmigiana, you got your fix! :) …AND that would go great in a burger…

      @radz – thanks babe, now and then cartoon network helps fill in my descriptive vocabulary when all else fails. Looney toons should have showed up on my blog long ago…

      @Sally – moi aussi! I think I’m going to become a restaurant taster and charge restaurants for my menu ideas and award FRYINGPAN stars to people who listen and soar with my ingenious ingredient ideas. I feel like a millionaire already. Someone, call the press…

  4. Wait where have I been? Why haven’t I ever encountered a eggplant burger? Need to change this as soon as possible even though it might mean shoving the burger into my husband’s mouth with all the force. He deserves that, for hating eggplant.

  5. Hilarious! Love the comparison to Johnny Bravo! Top heavy, ha!

  6. kooksfood

    The photos look amazing! (but I might still stick to beef… :-p)

    • InaFryingPan

      @Kulsum – hahaha…you’ve got what it takes to be a true Eggplant Face Shover, show it to ’em like it is! (…and I’m guessing we’ll see gorgeous beauty pageant style eggplant burgers on your blog soon…?)

      @Nausheen – Yep. Top heavy on guys = good. ripped. Top heavy on burgers = edible logistical nightmare. Though thinking about it in retrospect, I should have just turned the burger upside down…why don’t such brilliant ideas possess me while I’m eating?…

      @kooksfood – thanks. and at GBK, you’re probably better off sticking to just that. The smoked ranch burger will definitely leave you grinning like a happy cow by the time you’re done with it…

  7. Definitely a chance missed to make something more of what could be a great dish ! Aubergine can have that lovely smokiness which tastes good in a burger!

  8. Saleem

    Will reserve my comments till such time I taste the burger, we will try next time we go.

  9. Oh wowowo , the burger looks awesome , I love eggplants , always use them in sandwiches . Gotta try this *slurp*

    • InaFryingPan

      @Miri – Agreed! I just checked out your blog, and found a bunch of recipes that do right by the aubergine, like your coconutty morsels of vange bhaji.
      …GBK, you folks listenin?

      @Saleem – ah such high standards daddy, but of course, I would have it no other way! The Aubergine burger awaits FatherPan’s Judgement.

      @Shabs – try try try, and blog about it so that the world can understand the awesomeness of a well-made aubergine burger!

  10. Satyen

    aubergine burger at cafe XVA….

    • inafryingpan

      @e179160cd861176321da16c21f45cfe1:disqus – gotchya. thanks for the tip, will try it at some point.

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