Melissa Nazareth enjoys an upscale dining experience at Fuddruckers’ newly-remodelled Sanad branch, tucking into moreish appetisers and devouring juicy burgers.

Many may not know that Fuddruckers’ Sanad branch was established in 1995 and was their first on the island. Two months ago, they reopened on July 6 after a complete renovation. The space has been transformed into a modern setting, featuring neon signs, metallic accents and mesh detail. A huge mesh wall hanging displays the names of all the outlets – eight and counting – expansion plans are underway. We also spot black and white photos of the other branches, all a testament to the legacy of this family-friendly, casual-dining restaurant.

New amenities include a sky patio, which is the outdoor area on the top floor, outdoor seating on the ground level, large-screen TVs showing various sports, a game zone, a family area and a topping bar. The outdoor section, you’d think, is more suited for cooler weather. However, we learn that guests are already enjoying the al fresco ambience despite the heat! It’s worth mentioning that even after the renovation, the essence of Fudds, as it’s affectionately known – great food and fun vibes – remains untouched; lively chefs in action behind the grill counter, catchy music playing in the background, friendly servers ready to host… let the Fudd-venture begin!

We start off with the Appetizer Platter, an ideal dish to share. It features a variety of moreish delights: chilli cheese fries, mozzarella sticks, buffalo chicken wings, pizzaiola quesadillas and onion rings served with carrot and celery sticks and creamy ranch and honey mustard. I particularly enjoy the quesadilla, stuffed with just the right amount of warm cheese and offering a nice crunch from the pizzaiola flavoured vegetables. It has a pizza sauce-like taste, tangy and herby. We also try the Chicken Tenders, juicy chicken fingers encased in an earth-shattering crunchy coating. You can add them to your Appetizer Platter upon request. Next, come the Family Nachos, a larger version of Fudds Nachos. Golden fried 2D corn pyramids topped with a magical medley of mashed black beans and sour cream, as well as spring onions, olives and creamy guacamole, which add freshness, and jalapenos and homemade beef chilli, which create a bit of heat. Finally, they’re drizzled with gooey Fudds’ cheese sauce – everything’s better with cheese! The contrast of textures and temperatures in this dish tantalises our taste buds.

Balancing these fried favourites is the refreshing Buffalo Chicken Salad. Chunks of chicken breast tossed in Fudds’ signature hot buffalo sauce, which is tangy with a bit of a kick. It’s served on a bed of crunchy mixed lettuce, cheese blends and zingy pico de gallo, and drizzled with a cool ranch dressing. It comes with a Texas toast and is the perfect transition to our hearty mains, the first of which is the limited-edition Wild Mushroom Double Smash Burger. It will be available all of this month. Loaded with a double-decker, certified Angus beef patty that’s grilled to perfection, smothered in a garlic parmesan sauce and topped with an exotic array of wild Shiitake and Portobello mushrooms – these wild ones are meaty, infused with flavours from the juicy burger. The sauce, creamy, slightly sharp from the garlic and savoury from the parmesan, complements the other ingredients. The lettuce and tomatoes add freshness and further crunch and the grilled onions have a certain sweetness, elevating the overall experience. All the burgers are served with either a side of French fries or Fudds Fries – wedges. We recommend dipping them in the jalapeno cheese sauce from Fudds’ ‘legendary’ Build Your Own Topping Bar. All the items on there are freshly prepared daily. I’m delighted to discover that the potato salad is back! Fudds makes all of its food in-house; the protein is butchered in-house, never frozen and the sesame-topped buns are freshly baked every day.

The Half Pound Sliders are next on the chopping block. There are three per serving. The beef patty is succulent, lathered in cheese – sharp cheddar and stringy mozzarella – as well as a silken cheese sauce. Peppery arugula leaves add freshness to the burger. Sweet and smoky grilled onions and piquant pickle slices complement their companions. Orchestrating this scrummy symphony is a homemade Fudds’ sauce, which brings it all together and lends the burger a certain je ne sais quoi. We wash all of this down with regular iced tea, blue soda and fresh orange juice and still have room for dessert. The Brownie Blast is a fudgy square of happiness crowned with a sphere of white vanilla ice cream, all drizzled in a heavenly chocolate sauce. Just the sweet note we want to end on but only until we’re back for more. Fudds has an application too, so you can get a feel for what’s on offer. However, we strongly recommend trying the renovated space as well! ✤