As devout foodies, our gastronomic palates are trained to recognize culinary vision. When considering Zee Brgr, Kuwait’s latest contemporary concept and the brainchild of Maki founder Mr. Mohamad Zeitoun, our curiosities were extremely piqued; how would the visionary of this renowned Japanese concept fare in the world of burgers and more? Eager to find out, we decided to meet with Mr. Zeitoun at his latest concept located at the Palms Hotel in the Al Bida’a area.
The setting at Zee Brgr is transient, where the lounge-like venue easily emanates with modern relaxing charm during the day, only to be transformed into a lively, sociable hub by night. The sleek industrial design comes alive with vibrant colors elegantly decorating the indoor seating area, as well as highlighting the chic outdoor patio. Upon our arrival, we settled for the outdoor area, as the weather was beautiful, and the seats looked exceptionally inviting. Mr. Zeitoun was happy to announce that more items were added to the menu, which, to our surprise, we couldn’t find anywhere on the table. Mere seconds later, our friendly waiter came to our table grasping two iPads in his hands. He smiles and hands us the iPads, “Your menus ladies.” Creating a social application for the menu reflected Mr. Zeitoun’s desire to ‘stay with the times’, and offer customers the chance to have some fun when ordering their food, He adds, “It’s so much fun flipping through the images, we can include more items, bigger and better quality images, and we’re saving paper in the process.”
Deciding on a mixture of signature and new appetizers, we anxiously awaited the infamous ZEE Salad, a mixture of fresh herbs and vegetables with raspberry and peanut butter vinaigrette and the signature crispy mix. Mr. Zeitoun suggested we also try the Buffalo Chicken Wings, as well as the Chili Ebi Cone, whimsical dessert-like, yet curry-spiced cones concocted with a Tiger shrimp mixture and special avocado salsa. As we waited for our appetizers, Mr. Zeitoun further explained the Zee Brgr vision, “When we started with Maki, people thought we were crazy, as our sushi and Maki creations definitely deviated from the traditional. Now, Maki is a dining sensation because we offered gourmet Japanese food with a unique and creative twist. When we thought of a burger concept, we wished to apply the same fusion twist we did with Maki. Zee Brgr is more than just burgers, it is the culmination of gourmet creations that includes burgers, Maki specialties, and moreover, worldly recipes.” True to his words, the flavors from our appetizers transformed us to different places. The Zee Salad could only be described as a Lebanese Fatoush gone wild, the texture of the grilled veggies, crispy mix perfectly accompanied the tangy dressing, while the Chili Ebi Cones provided the right dose of Mexican flair, and the spiced wings effectively set the mood for the burger feast that ensued.
When considering Mr. Zeitoun’s burger vision, a worldly experience is concise, with internationally-inspired creations like the Italian style Tratufo burger, with succulent, saucy mushrooms, fresh basil, and parmesan crisp, and the juicy locall- inspired Essa burger drizzling with special garlic mayo sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese, caramelized onion & mushroom sauce, served on a moist, mouthwatering potato bun. For French food lovers, the Fois Gras burger, served on a Brioche bread will surely please, and the signature Zee Brgr, a home-made beef patty with Zeebrgr sauce, is topped with tempura onion rings, grilled cherry tomato and American cheese, all tucked nicely into a brioche bun. Have your taste of the latter, and we guarantee instant Zee Brgr addiction.
A burger experience is most certainly never complete without fries. Also crossing all geographical boundaries, the fries at Zee Brgr are refreshingly different. From our tasting of the French Fries with Truffles, our palates are taken to new heights. The thicker cut potatoes, golden-fried to perfection, are seasoned with sea salt, truffle oil and Parmesan cheese, topped with roasted aromatic fresh herbs and Moroccan truffles. For the complete Zee experience, we also tried the American inspired Zee Fries, marinated in a spicy sauce, topped with a beef mixture with spicy tomato jam and mushroom sauce and melted cheddar cheese. To our surprise, the beef used with the Zee fries is surprisingly light and we could easily relate it to the delicious meat used in the homemade patties. Because we like to try a bit of everything, we were also served with mini Zee Brgrs to try the different toppings, and we were extremely pleased to find out that some star dishes from the Japanese Maki are served here, as well. These include the juicy and infamous Essa Maki, the signature Maki Maki, the Crispy Salad, and the Salmon Avocado salad.
After the burger indulgence, we are convinced that we were done with our Zee Brgr experience, yet Mr. Zeitoun excitedly interjected, “You MUST try our steak, you can never leave Zee Brgr without trying the Zee Steak.” Before we could briefly argue, a platter of 180 grams of fillet excellence arrived at our table, with two sauces on the side, a creamy chive sauce, and mushroom sauce. Cooked medium well, the beef is extremely light and tender, and before we knew it, we were scraping the sauce off the plate with our leftover fries.
We can always confidently assert that dessert is, by far, the one part of a meal that we could never argue against, especially with Mr. Zeitoun. His suggestions, yet again, are faultless. We delved into his first recommendation of Holy Cannoli, a simple Cannoli roll stuffed with Mascarpone and Ricotta cheese that triggers a sinfully delicious reaction. It is always surprising to try a dish expecting a certain flavor, only to be delivered with a taste that completely surpasses the expectations. This statement absolutely applies to the Yuzu Crème Brule, aromatically flavored with Yuzu, a Japanese delicacy prepared from the rind of the rare Yuzu citrus fruit. One might expect the mix between cream and citrus to be jarring, yet the opposite holds true, it was truly delightful. Saving the ultimate indulgence for last, we completely devoured the Light Orange Chocolate Brownie, which is also topped with Yuzu Crème Brule vanilla ice cream.
At Zee Brgr, our experience was different, in the sense that we truly entered a culinary world that combines original, non-traditional and international recipes with inimitable flair. Amazing service is delivered with a smile, and the atmosphere comes alive with the excitement incited by the flavorful dishes sampled.
Zee Brgr is located at The Palms Beach Hotel & Spa, Al Taawon St in Al Bida’a. For more information, please call 2561 2374, or visit www.zeebrgr.com. Connect with Zee Brgr at Facebook: zeebrgr and Twitter @Zeebrgr.