The first time I went to Johnny Rockets at The Lagoon in Amwaj, I promised I wouldn’t go back. It was a busy Saturday afternoon, the place was packed, not enough staff and we waited what felt like forever for our food.
However, a pal, who’s an absolute devotee of the place, convinced me to give it another go and I’m very glad I did – I’m in danger of becoming a regular, particularly since they also deliver.
For a start, you can’t fault the location. Right by the water with both indoor and outdoor seating, the Johnny Rockets I’m used to back home in Ireland (alright it goes by a slightly different name for reasons we won’t go into here) was never like this.
But the American retro interiors and friendly helpful staff, of which, this time, there were plenty, certainly rang a bell.
For starter we picked onion rings and, on my mate’s recommendation, the chicken wings bone-in. They also, like many places here, do a boneless version but to me these always taste like chicken nuggets. Grinning she suggested we opt for the rocket fuel-cooked version, I guess I should have been warned when she ordered her main with extra jalapenos.
Spicey or what? By the time I’d munched my way through two my lips were burning!
I like a certain amount of heat but these, for me, were just over the top – seeming more about spice than actual flavour. But my dining companion pronounced them delicious as she happily polished off the rest while I devoted myself to the huge portion of onion rings.
For mains she’d ordered the Houston – which comes with jalapenos (extra in this case), Pepperjack cheese, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes in a spicy sauce. If you’re a fan of spicey, this is the one for you.
The patties at Johnny Rockets are generous and the toppings fresh, in fact the burger actually looked like the picture on the menu, which is a bit of a rarity.
I went for a classic Philly cheese steak - thinly sliced grilled sirlion steak, topped with grilled onions and either Swiss or cheddar cheese served on an ‘authentic hearth-baked Amoroso roll’.
Now this is much more my style. They’re generous with the fillings (I took half home for the dog), everything’s cooked exactly as it should be and the flavours sit well together. Yum.
After the wings and the pile of jalapenos on my mate’s burger, I was almost reluctant to try the chilli cheese fries but I needn’t have worried, yes the topping was spicey but the cheese cooled it down enough to form a tasty accompaniment to our mains.
We didn’t have room for deserts but I’m going back for the all-American apple pie. And, if you’re going to Johnny Rockets I’d strongly recommend the Minute Maid traditional lemonade – just like mama used to make (well someone’s mama anyway). The bill (for two) Chicken wings BD2.500 Onion rings BD1.350 Houston burger BD2.800 Philly cheese steak BD3.050 Chilli cheese fries BD2.200 Lemonade x2 BD1.900 Milkshake BD1.750 Total (inc service) BD17.160
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com