“Indie” is a term widely used in the Philippines for anything that is going against the mainstream. I’m using it now to describe two burger places in Riyadh that are operating on its own with “personalities” that go against the stereotype. They have one branch each; with one of them starting as a food truck that was so well-received by the public they decided to put up their own restaurant. Their burgers are not “commercial” and are not available as easily as other labeled ones that have branches all around Riyadh. If you’re tired of the usual hamburgers in Riyadh and want something unique and different: meet Blac Fine Burgers and Regal Burger Republic.
Blac Fine Burgers
Blac Fine Burgers is currently where it’s at. It’s where you will probably find the millennials of Riyadh. The place is unpretentious in what it wants to become: a hip and happening place with some artwork on the walls, pendant lighting and hanging drop lights on the ceiling, a neon light spelling “beautiful” to complete “It’s a beautiful day” on the ground floor, faux plants, and mostly black color all over the restaurant. If you don’t think “indie” upon seeing those, well you don’t know what indie is then. Maybe industrial chic? Haha.
The first time my husband and I tried eating at Blac, it was the weekend and there was a long line in the Family section. Saudi women were waiting at the benches outside and the restaurant’s parking space is filled to the brim with cars. We tried ordering for take-out but the guys said they were not accepting take-out orders during the weekend so that they can cater to all diners without a pause in their service. It makes sense in a way because you don’t want people jumping in a long line where you’re waiting right? They do take-outs during the weekdays though. Reina and I tried it on another day and there were fewer people. We tried their bestselling sliders (small burgers):
Now, I find those prices ridiculous! I mean, those are for sliders which are the smaller version for a burger and it’s for only ONE slider. Seriously? I do understand that they probably use high-quality, expensive ingredients but I can’t help but remember By Parker’s, which we didn’t write about because it was a pop-up restaurant in front of the Faisaliah Hotel. If it’s a permanent fixture, it would have made it to this list too. Anyway, I ordered the Truffle Slider because I love the flavor of truffle in anything I eat from pizza to fries to burgers… yes to truffle! I know truffle is expensive but still. I could barely taste it in this burger. However, it’s a good burger. There’s a heft to it knowing that the patty is made up of 80 grams of rib-eye. It has mushroom, provolone cheese and truffle sauce. I love the subtle, smoky flavor in this burger. I also like the size as it’s not cloying and it’s easy to taste. But at SR 45, I know right?!
Reina enjoyed her Korean Slider. Of course, it’s much more suited to our Asian flavors: sweet and savory. The 80-gram chicken is topped with Korean vegetables and BBQ sauce. It’s truly juicy and tender and each bite is good! SR 30 is a bit high for chicken patty in a small bun but taste-wise, it’s up there. It has a crunch that cuts through the white meat and bread and gives a nice texture. Eating these sliders is not the easiest feat. Nakakawala ng poise but you can chow your way using a knife and a fork.
We also tried their much-talked-about Coca Cola and Wings. I’m a big soda lover and I was excited about this. I wondered what role will Coca Cola play in the appetizer. Uhmn, lend its sweetness I guess. The chicken wings are baked in a “Coca Cola” sauce. I think the soda evaporated when the wings were baking and the starter ended up just drenched in its sticky sauce. The wings are tasty though. We also got their Truffle Fries which has almost the same sauce as the Truffle Slider I got. It was so delicious though. I guess the texture of the soft potatoes went really well with the creamy truffle oil and parmesan. Make sure you share this with someone else because it can get cloying after a while.
We also tried their Blac Frozen Yogurt which is
black gray. We didn’t notice anything extraordinary. It’s your run-of-the-mill frozen yogurt. Just gray. And expensive.
There are more interesting burgers on their menu that we’d like to try next. Their Back to Blac, Berry Berry, and Barak’s might be our choices on our next visit. Some of the feedback on Blac mentioned their “arrogant” staff but when we were there, they were friendly. Maybe they learned from the said feedback. It was a bit intimidating to enter their dining area wit its dimmed lights and hip crowd but we just took our seat, ordered and ate our way to a small burger fest.
Regal Burger Republic
A few months ago, we asked our readers in our Facebook page what restaurant should we review next. One of them mentioned Regal Burger Republic and my curiosity was piqued. It was my first time to hear about it and I immediately Foursquared it. Uhuh, it’s far away from the city center where we live but what’s distance to The Pink Tarha? We venture to the Al Yasmin District for 7 Ribs! I saw that Regal Republic Burger is in that area but it’s on the opposite side. It took us a few months after the recommendation to go but we eventually found our way to it. We didn’t know the area is jammed with the ongoing construction of the Riyadh Metro but anyway… we arrived nonetheless.
The not-so-good thing about Regal Republic is that it doesn’t have a Family Section. We drove all this way to order take-out, haha. Anyway, it’s a small casual burger joint. Small but mighty! Their restaurant is neat and sleek. It has a minimalist design with black tables and chairs and deep blue couches (love the color!). Their short menu has inventive burgers and sides. They only have four kinds of burger and one of them has chicken patty. They have three sides that have French fries as base; just different toppings. And two starters that go well with the burgers. And drinks, of course. And 1 dessert. That’s it. We have to commend them for focusing on what they’re good at.
(Yes, our food photos are taken inside our car while we were parked outside Regal. Lols.) The JK Truffle Burger is regular in size with a beef patty, white truffle sauce, English cheddar cheese, roasted almonds, caramelized onions and mushrooms. Looking at it, I saw nothing WOW but biting into it and savoring the flavors of every component of the burger, my eyes flew wide open and I’m smitten! I love this burger! It’s really easy to eat. It feels so light yet it packs a punch of flavor! I love the sweetness of the onions and the savory taste of the truffle sauce and cheese. Everything complemented each other and I finished this in no time; even before we got 3 kilometers away from the restaurant, haha.
As you know, I love the combination of sweet, savory, and spicy in my food. The Black Shrimp (which is obviously not black) has them all. The shrimp has a sample crunch and they did not scrimp on the honey BBQ sauce.
Now, this looked interesting. The Chicken Lollipops are so small and cute! But don’t be fooled by its sauce. These bloody mary chicken wings served with sweet chili mayo is anything but cute. The sauce overpowered the chicken and I couldn’t describe the overall flavor. I’m tasting the sourness of the sauce more; I only managed to eat two. My husband said he can’t describe it either. Coming from someone who just describes food as masarap (delicious) and hindi masarap (not delicious), this says a lot. Haha!
The Lava Fries is one of the bestsellers. A lot of people in Foursquare raved about it. It’s loaded with potato fries, cheddar cheese, beef, crispy fried onions, ranch jalapeńo, and crumble beef bacon. I guess all those ingredients were supposed to work wonders but I got overwhelmed with all the flavors. This is not the first time I tried this kind of fries concoction and it might very well be my last because I couldn’t go past 2 forkfuls of this stuff. The amount of fries though is worth the SR 30 price tag.
These are just some of the “indie” burger joints in Riyadh and we know we haven’t skimmed the surface of the mushrooming burger scene in the city. We just love how we have more options nowadays, Sound off in the comment section below what burger is your newest discovery and what is the best “indie” burger for you so far.
DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. Neither were we invited. We paid for our food with our own money. All opinions and feedback in this post are ours.