We like big buns and we cannot lie
Never underestimate the restorative powers of a big, juicy burger, but never overestimate the simplicity of it. Like physique, the key to a great burger is in the ratio; some things shouldn’t be too thick, and some things shouldn’t be too fancy. And whether you like yours medium or rare, smothered in cheese or topped with bacon, there’s nothing better than taking that first bite of the perfect burger. Here are seven places that are worth your time, money and calories. Enjoy.
What about: There are only three types of burgers, if you count in the Chicken Burger and vegetarian Almost Burger. Zoom in on the Basic Burger – it isn’t really that basic – that comes with a 170g patty of grass-fed Black Angus beef neck and Toriyama Umami Wagyu A4 tenderloin and brisket, topped with grilled tomato, lettuce, American cheese and a bone marrow butter-sauce. Its buns are also supplied by Bakery Brera & Fine Foods, where people go for kouign amann and lemon curd cruffins.
Robb tip: If you’ve got a big appetite, order extras like the Secreto Iberico Pork or Lobster Roll, one of The Naked Finn’s (Burger Labo’s sister company) bestselling dishes.
41 Malan Road
Tel: +65 694 0940
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer
What about: Owner Chris Barish started his hospitality career in the world of clubs before collaborating with Michelin-starred chef Joe Isidori to establish his own burger brand. Black Tap quickly built a following for its artisanal, award-winning burgers, bagging the coveted People’s Choice Award at the New York City Wine and Food Festival’s Burger Bash in 2015, 2016 and 2017. You can’t go wrong with the All-American Burger, a classic pile of beef patty, lettuce, tomato, pickles, American cheese and a special sauce. Other signatures include The Mexico City, The Californian and The Greg Norman, a Wagyu burger dressed with ranch sauce, blue cheese and arugula.
Robb tip: The brand is also famed for its array of craft beers and whimsical CrazyShake milkshakes. But uh, stick to the beers and avoid the milkshakes.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 9957
What about: Unlike Burger King (sorry), Five Guys is possibly one of the better fast-food burgers out there. While its “proprietary” buns are nothing much to shout about, everything else is delicious, homemade and greasy in all the right amounts. Everything’s made-to-order, with the beef patties unseasoned, smashed and cooked well done then smothered with proper American cheese. All you have to do is get the basic burger (we recommend the double-patty Bacon Cheeseburger), and choose the toppings that you want. All the toppings are free – mayonnaise, mushrooms, you name it – but the key here is to pick them wisely. It’s a make it or break it kind of thing.
Also, get the fries. Every fry goes through a stringent “smush” test, and is partially cooked, rested and fried again for every order. We think Five Guys has gotten the formula right.
Robb tip: Not a fan of burgers? Not to worry. The hot dogs are just as good; the franks are 100 per cent beef, made without fillers and butterflied when cooked for that crisp, caramelised quality. Again, choose your toppings with care.
68 Orchard Road
What about: At MeatSmith, there’s nothing better than the Beef Marmalade Cheeseburger, an old-fashioned double beef patty burger with melted cheese and all the drippings. Created in partnership between Dave Pynt of Burnt Ends and head chef Eddie Goh of MeatSmith Telok Ayer, this burger is a play on the Burnt Ends signature Beef Marmalade and Pickles. Expect 125 grams of beef and brisket patty and 60 grams of beef marmalade patty, both topped with American cheddar cheese, house pickles and the restaurant’s burger sauce.
Robb tip: The Beef Marmalade Cheeseburger is priced daily at S$20, but if you do swing by on a Tuesday, grab a regular cheeseburger at S$10. It’s going to be just as good.
167-169 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6221 2262
Three Buns at Potato Head Singapore
What about: At Three Buns, must-tries include the Burning Man, a messy pile of 150g Black Angus beef patty, ketchup, cheese, pickles, spiced mayo and a toasted demi brioche bun. The Smokin’ B-Boy is just as good – a 150g Black Angus beef patty is paired with smoked applewood cheddar, Dingley Dell beer and treacle streaky bacon, BBQ ketchup, smokey mayo, bawang goreng and a toasted demi brioche bun.
Robb tip: Another outlet resides at 60 Robertson Quay, where it’s a lot more casual and dog-friendly.
Potato Head Singapore
36 Keong Saik Rd
Tel: +65 6327 1939
What about: There are a few things that make a burger great: the thickness of the patty (not too thick), type of cheese used (always American) and the bun. Shake Shack has used Martin’s potato rolls from day one, and these pillowy-soft buns are what set their burgers apart from the rest, even Five Guys. Born in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the ’50s and made with high-protein wheat flour, potato starch and non-fat milk, these bring a great texture and suppleness to the burgers. If you haven’t been, start with the classic ShackBurger, a cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and their secret ShackSauce (we hear it’s a slurry of Hellman’s mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Heinz ketchup, dill pickle brine and cayenne pepper).
Robb tip: Skip the milkshakes and save space for the Frozen Custard, a rich and dense ice cream that resembles a little like a McFlurry, but a hundred times better. Head to the Jewel outlet or wait for the Tanjong Pagar outlet to open in the first quarter of 2020.
78 Airport Boulevard
Jewel Changi Airport
What about: This gourmet burger joint already has a stellar reputation for its Signature Wolf Beef Burger, but it’s upped the ante with two recent releases from its latest menu. The first being the tender Dry-Aged Beef Burger, prepped with chipotle mayo and pickled onions for that tangy crunch. Equally satisfying is the King Salmon Burger, which features a soft, melt-in-your-mouth salmon patty that’s complemented by an avocado mash and honey mustard.
Robb tip: There are several outlets across the island, but the burgers are best done at Suntec City.
3 Temasek Boulevard