Team Y gets our grill on with some all-American patties from MOOYAH that leave us wanting, well, more.
Sometimes nothing fills the hunger void quite like a good old-fashioned burger lodged between two buns that you need to eat with both hands and a collar stuffed full of napkins, juice running down your chin and a side of hot, crisp fries at the ready.
It was with this expectation in mind that we bee-lined it over to MOOYAH at Panorama Mall to satisfy our after-work fast-food craving. Located on the top floor in the mall’s ‘restaurant rotunda’ we hoped this American import could slay the beast in our bellies with its catchy street-style sounding name, and freakishly-stacked burgers.
While technically an order-at-the-counter, pick-up to the side type of locale, with a fill-your-own soda fountain (dangerously tempting!) and an interior décor awash in bright, primary colours that draw in the eye to – presumably – whet the appetite, MOOYAH still feels a little bit more sit-down/dine-in than its average cohort.
Offering all manner of burgers, hotdogs and deliciously artery-clogging sides, perusing their menu we’re like a kid in a candy store. Should we go for a ‘Cluck & Moo’ (a sautéed mushroom-topped patty crowned with a fried egg)? Or, a ‘Hamburdog’ perhaps – an all-beef frankfurter topped with everything but the kitchen sink, including fried onion strings and fresh jalapeños?
In the end, we opt to try an array of their best burgers with a slider sampler platter of mini-buns, an order of their buffalo-tossed chicken tenders, and a guilt-inducing basket of their loaded fries.
If you’re already having chest pains, note that MOOYAH also offers a salad menu, and an ‘Iceburger’ option where you can swap out the bun for a burger wrapped in slabs of iceberg lettuce, and sweet potato fries for the slightly more health-conscious.
Our orders are quick to arrive and to our hungry eyes, look a treat. Tucking our napkins and readying our forks, we plunge into the basket of piping hot loaded fries first. The potatoes are crisp and fresh from the fryer – so hot at first that our tastebuds fail to register that something’s missing. Topped with cheese sauce, ranch, beef bacon bits, and fresh jalapeños you’d think them completely overindulgent – and you’d be right. But they simply lacked flavour and punch.
The fries themselves could have used a few lashings of salt or other savoury seasoning, while the cheese sauce – which was gloopy and artificial, quickly became stodgy and lacked any real flavour to balance out the ranch dressing. This is a dish that could easily become a fan-favourite menu staple if they’d only consider swapping out the fake fromage for some shredded, melted cheese. Even the freshly-chopped jalapeños didn’t cut the mustard, adding surprisingly little ‘oomph’ to the dish and leading us to wonder if ‘jalapeño’ was a typo on the menu.
The slider sampler platter redeemed things on the other hand, as we bit into a trio of three succulent patties – The Classic, topped with their house MOOYAH Sauce and lettuce, tomato, and cheese; the MOOYAH Style, same as the Classic but with the addition of tangy pickles and savoury grilled onions; and the Texas, which came laden with fiery peppers.
All fillings were juicy, patties perfectly charred, and a good sauce-to-toppings ratio – though the buns were a little on the dry side and could have used an extra minute toasting on the grill. In fact, a brioche bun would have been the perfect vehicle for these flavour heavyweights.
The basket of chicken tenders were tossed in a zingy buffalo sauce and were equally generous in portion, with long thick-cut strips served with a side of ranch for dipping. While the flavour was there, the letdown was in the execution – the strips had been overcooked with some pieces too tough and hard to bit through while the batter was a bit soggy in parts rather than toothsome and crisp. Eating around those bits, we managed to finish the basket and wash it down with some sweet pink lemonade but were left lingering over how something good could have been something great with a little bit more care in the kitchen.
Though we see why MOOYAH is, overall, a people-pleaser. As we watched more diners come in and out for a quick eat-in or a takeaway, all left smiling and seemingly satisfied. The hits and misses we had could have been the result of a line cook that was having an ‘off’ night or order, and we’d be willing to come back again to suss out a round two. Because after all, good fast food should make you want to ultimately slow down and savour it.
Top floor, Panorama Mall, Al Ghubrah
Opening hours: Noon to 11:00 p.m. daily
Contact: (+968) 2423-0003
Lunch for two: RO10.3
American fast-food classics with stacked toppings and ample portions at a mid-range price-point.
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