Upon first arriving at the new Pickles restaurant in Al Bida’a you are welcomed by an eager staff and a casual, if upscale by burger standards, restaurant. Given their gastro-burger house status you may instantly find yourself only focusing on the hamburgers. These are good, should not be missed, and will soon be discussed. However, lets start with their namesake, as it is a welcomed and delicious point of differentiation. So ubiquitous in the American South as to be just about standard, it is great to see them cross the pond. What is additionally nice here is that they offer a variety of options and are generally more gourmet. What this means for you personally is more options of pickle flavors with more variety of sauces.
I should have seen it coming, of course they will have deep fried pickles! This is not very commonplace though abroad, to say the least, so we were caught off guard. This was followed by delight though when we found that they had more than ten different varieties as well as deep fried peppers. After ordering an assortment of their most popular ones we dove in. Out of all of them, and really you should order at least several when going so you get the variety, my favorite was the Bread and Butter Chips and the Banana Peppers. Additionally, the rainbow dipping sauce was a good pair up. This gives you just a slight sweetness from the sauce with the tang of a spicy pickle.
There is another menu item here that absolutely must be discussed: The Poutine! Doesn’t sound familiar, you say? Well, let me tell you…long a staple of the Québécois diet, Poutine spread from a regional dish to a Canadian national treasure. One can only assume that it is an aversion to the French word itself or Francophones in general that has somehow kept it from spreading South to the states. That said, you should run out and try it immediately—because it is basically variations of French fries and gravy—and who doesn’t love that? It would be wrong to assume though that due to its mix of side-type ingredients that this dish should be relegated to side-dish status. It is practically a main course. Especially when done the way they do here which, at least in some cases is in a more sophisticated manner. For example, on this menu, the Montreal Poutine is served with chicken served on top of fries and a chicken based gravy, as well as a liberal portion of Swiss cheese poured over the top. The other two versions here are served with a beef based gravy sauce but were equally delicious.
When it comes to the more standard non-gravy variation of French fries they have you covered with different cuts and types including: curly, steak, crinkle, and sweet potato. They also come served in a variety of ways, including cheesy and, the more intimidating term: loaded. They also noticeably have tator tots, for the kid in you. Their curly chili fries, a unique take on what you might normally expect, is definitely hardy enough to be a meal all on their own.
While we did get a chance to sample more than a few of the nine burgers here, even the Classic will get the job done: in house prepped meat, assorted accouterment and a delicate potato bun—yes please! Still, somehow, it ended up being the vegetarian option that wowed most, for an unabashed, unapologetic carnivore, that is saying something. The Portobello burger here comes out at a little over an inch thick. This is because, here it is stuffed with Gruyere, Emmenthal, and Parmesan cheese and breaded to delight.
As the brand gets settled in they have vowed to continue to bring us new delights in the future. They suggested that desserts are not too far off now and that they will also continue to look at ways to expand the deep fried pickles and peppers category. If you are in the area, the Poutine alone would be reason enough to stop by. Seriously—fries and gravy!
Pickles is located on the Gulf Road in Al Beda’a Strip next to Movenpick Hotel, or reach them by phone on 2225 3155.