Black Tap

Your guide to this American cuisine powerhouse
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Time Out Says

If you’re a fan of American food – or just have an Instagram account – chances are you’ll have heard of Black Tap.

The New York-born chain is world-famous for its towering CrazyShakes and craft burgers, and with good reason.

Set up by chef Joe Isidori in NYC back in 2015, Black Tap has been making waves wherever it goes – from three US branches to two in Dubai. And it’s now here, in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall.

It’s a bright, airy space, with a terrace for cooler weather. The décor is industrial-cool, with exposed piping and leather booths. But unlike other branches, which pride themselves on craft hops, the Yas Mall outlet is unlicensed, meaning the vibe is more “mall food” than “cool bar”.

We visit on a weekend, and it’s fairly busy with a steady stream of diners. No one seems to stay for long, however. Whether they’re just here for the quick Insta fix or  are super-eager to get back to the shopping, we can’t tell.

We kick off with a portion of onion rings and fried mozzarella. The former have that perfect retro US-diner taste and crunch. The triangles of mozzarella return to the kitchen, however. Where’s that gooey cheese pull and molten deliciousness? Nowhere in sight here, these ones are freezing cold and solid.

But on to the burgers, which is why we’re here. We opt for the Atomic Shrimp (as hot it sounds) and The Old Fashioned (with Swiss cheese, onions and mushrooms). The burgers are of a good size (not huge) and housed in a perfectly soft bun. But the meat is so overcooked it crumbles into a dry heap on our plates. The toppings, and sweet potato fries, are tasty – but they can’t redeem the disappointing meat patty.

Despite being a burger chain, Black Tap is arguably most famous for its massive shakes, and the vibrant ice cream station dominates the entrance, luring in passing families. It would be churlish not to try one, and we opt for the Sweet N’ Salty, which is the highlight of the meal. It looks amazing, and it tastes just as good. And if you can finish it, we doff our caps to you.

With a few tweaks Black Tap could be great, but currently the food doesn’t quite live up to the high prices or expectations. Its name guarantees it will get a steady stream of customers either way, though it would be a shame to just rely on that.

Fancy burgers and massive milkshakes.

For novelty value and the Insta likes.

02 Oct 2018

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Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Yas Island - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

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