Bloody Beautiful Burgers

Bloody Beautiful Burgers

The person who invented the burger probably didn't foresee just how far burgers have evolved since it was created (probably by accident). If he/she did, they would probably have wept tears of joy over some of these breathtaking burgers.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

@shakeshacksg new limited time White Truffle Burger ($14.20 for the single patty, $18.10 to double the pleasure) is a lot more well balanced than the previous truffle iteration, and the Bourbon Bacon one. Even though the same deep fried onions and a rich white truffle sauce were added onto the Shack’s signature smashed patty, this burger was more moderate and was not surfeiting like its limited edition predecessors.⠀

This is mainly thanks to the sherry vinegar added into the white truffle aioli. The aioli is still absolutely aromatic with the robust scent of truffles, and the rich creamy aioli is well restrained by the sherry vinegar which has been added in small amounts. The beef & potato buns are the same signature Shake Shack goodness we’ve all come to know and love, and the Shack’s r&d department have absolutely cooked with this new White Truffle Burger, as the kids these days would say.

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@carlsjrsingapore marketing department has definitely been caught lacking, as I didn’t even know they were running a limited time burger special as a tie in to the new Godzilla & King Kong movie. They had the burgers for a whole month and I didn’t see a single ad about it until I walked in. But now we get back to the meat of the matter (or the burger in this case), the Godzilla Burger priced at twenty three dollars, and the Kong Burger priced at nineteen dollars. Both come with an included mango soft drink that will come in pretty handy later on.⠀

I simply couldn’t resist the allure of bacon, and I got the Godzilla Burger. The gargantuan Godzilla lives up to its namesake: fluffy brioche buns can barely contain THREE thick Angus beef patties that are topped with American cheese & lots of bacon. The Godzilla Burger is a prime illustration of the phrase ‘too much of a good thing’, as the grilled beef patties, the salty bacon & the cheese all combined to form an obscene onslaught on my palate & my waistline. ⠀

I absolutely adore a behemoth burger, but the Godzilla was too much for even me to handle. I was struggling to get the last few bites of burger down as my body started to loathe me, and the amount of grease from the burger was too much for even the free flow salsa from the condiment bar to contain. The Godzilla Burger is a tasty burger, but once is certainly enough for me.⠀

Another reason why Carl’s Jr is lagging far behind its competitors is due to their baffling business decisions. I was only given the option to add on fries for a dollar, but I wanted onion rings. However, I had to pay full price for the rings, which came up to $5.30. I think Carl’s Jr changed their onion ring recipe as these new ones appear to have a more craggy coating and are way more crunchy than before, so I wouldn’t say that the extra $5 was a waste. Still extortionate though. Come on @carlsjrsingapore, make it make sense.

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@honbo.burger has stepped up to the ring that is Singapore’s burger business, and is going head to head with the Shack as a direct competitor as both burger joints pride themselves upon their smash-burgers. However, while the Shack will only stack to two, Honbo goes to four. That’s right, they’ve got a quad patty burger.⠀

However, that’s a bit much even for me, so I stuck with the more moderate Honbo 1.5, which stars three crispy beef patties, two slices of cheese, pickles, onion & housemade sauce. I added on bacon for an extra $4.90 on top of the base price of twenty three dollars, bringing the damage to a hefty $27.90 before adding GST. Right off the bat, Honbo’s burger is certainly bigger, although less messy than the Shack.⠀

The crust on the smashed beef patties are gloriously charred, even more so than the Shack, but this does mean that the patties are less juicy. I found it to be a worthwhile trade, as the extra flavours from the intense grilling are palpable. The patties are a 70/30 chuck and brisket blend with a nice, not too tightly packed texture, and full of beefy deliciousness thanks to the cuts of beef used.⠀

Overall, I found Honbo’s burger to be more well balanced, as there are onions and pickles to rein in the richness of the patties, and the potato milk buns are airy, light & fluffy without being buttered up excessively. Sure, I do wish that they could’ve added in a couple of extra pickles to have the richness of the burger fully under control, but this behemoth burger is remarkably close to burger perfection.

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I’ve never had a @shakeshacksg chicken sandwich before as I kept getting waylaid by the beef burgers, but I finally got around to sampling a chicken sandwich from the Shack with their limited time Chipotle Cheddar Chicken Sandwich. Normally the sandwich alone would cost $11.80, but I managed to snag a deal off the Happy Point app that had a meal deal for twelve bucks flat. Now that’s an absolute bargain.⠀

The Shack offers you a choice between breasts or thighs, and since I’m a man of culture, I chose to bury my face into some thighs. Boy have I been depriving myself for so long, Shake Shack’s chicken sandwiches are stupendously sublime! The thick fillet was so incredibly juicy that each bite will yield a burst of juice from the meat, and even though the batter encasing the chicken was a little greasy, it was conspicuously crispy.⠀

However, most of the flavours here were provided by the chipotle fortified ShackSauce and chipotle cheese sauce. The double hit of chipotle gives you an in your face blast of peppery heat before yielding to the salty cheesiness of the cheese sauce, and the flavourful familiarity of the chipotle enhanced ShackSauce. There is a little dollop of pickled onions to try and cancel out the cheesy, deep fried richness, but it needed more to make its impact felt.⠀

However, the Dragonfruit Pomegranate Lemonade was the ideal drink to wash away the greasy goodness. It’s fantastically fruity thanks to the dragonfruit & pomegranate which takes the sourness of the lemonade and turns it into a refreshing, sweet & sour fruity drink that’ll quench any thirst. Perfect for sipping on and cleansing your palate while you alternate between bites of the stellar Chipotle Cheddar Chicken Sandwich, and the Chipotle Cheddar Fries, which feature the Shack’s fabulous fries covered in a deluge of, you guessed it the same Chipotle Cheddar sauce that’s on the sandwich.⠀

These Chipotle Cheddar specials & the Dragonfruit Pomegranate Lemonade will only be available until the end of February, so you guys got a week left to get stuck in before it’s gone forever!

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It’s Christmas eve, which means that you have one more week to chow down on @shakeshacksg limited edition Bourbon Bacon Cheddar burger ($18 nett for a double). The Shack has firmly established itself as my go to for brilliant burgers, and the Bourbon Bacon Cheddar burger is everything I’ve come to enjoy about a Shake Shack burger, but better.⠀

Two ground Angus beef burger patties are smashed in Shake Shack’s signature smash-burger style and grilled till both patties sport a sexy sear, before white cheddar cheese is melted on one of those patties and topped with bourbon bacon jam and crispy shallots. That marvellous mess is somehow jammed betwixt two halves of a buttered and toasted potato bun. As expected of a burger from the Shack, the meaty Angus beef patties are seasoned superbly and are eminently enjoyable.⠀

I’ve had crispy fried shallots on a special burger the Shack had before, and that proved to be far too rich for me. This time however, due to the sweet & salty smokiness of the bourbon bacon jam, it felt a lot less greasy. I absolutely adore the caramelised onions that have been incorporated into the bacon jam, as they were splendidly sweet and infused a new flavour & more complexity into this burger.⠀

Still, due to the juicy double Angus patties, the fried shallots, the stellar ShackSauce and the buttered bun, this is an extremely guilt inducing burger. My tip? Grab a packet of yellow mustard that should be available at every Shake Shack’s condiment bar and spread it on. The heat, pungency & bitterness of the mustard is what this burger is missing, and it makes this burger so much more sumptuous by balancing out all the greasy, meaty richness.⠀

Merry Christmas Eve, and may you make your Christmas extra merry with this breathtaking Bourbon Bacon Cheddar burger.

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@hambaobao is now @lils.taproom, but the spirit still lives on through the cheekily named H.B.B. burger. The Hainanese Braised Brisket burger lives up to its billing and then some, with the generous portion of braised brisket easily outweighing the soft burger bun. ‘More beef than bun’, Lil’s is goddamn right. Garnished with pickled mustard leaves and crushed groundnuts. The H.B.B was a dead ringer for the more familiar beef brisket noodles it was putting a fresh spin on.⠀

The beef is acceptably tender, with enough chew to give your jaw a light workout, and the rich soy based braising liquid makes each fibre of beef unctuously umami & savoury. The pickled mustard leaves cut right through the salty, sticky braising sauce with its sharp sourness, keeping every bite fresh & exciting. For extra authenticity points, the crushed nuts add familiar texture & flavour to the soft brisket that’s already an impressive replica of the flavours of beef brisket noodle. A definite must eat when you pop by Lil’s for a pint or five.

Overall, I gotta say that the new dishes that Lil’s Taproom & Kitchen Playground have cooked up are delicious, innovative & whimsical. Quite impressive, and I’ll definitely be back for pints & grub. Thanks for the invite, @lils.taproom!

I’ve enjoyed @meatsmith.sg cheeseburgers that were formed from ground brisket many times before, but I’ve never had an honest-to-God brisket burger that was just cut up brisket. Well, at @beervillage.co a couple of weeks ago, I finally got to experience heaven sandwiched between two stunningly soft housemade potato buns. According to the Beer Village token to dollar conversion rate, this Brisket Sandwich is approximately twenty five dollars. Pricey, yes, but it’s a behemoth brisket burger.⠀

I’ve heard that Meatsmith’s meats can be hit or miss, but this brisket burger was just like that one verse from a Drake track. Just hits, no misses. Terrifically tender, joyously juicy, scintillatingly savoury & smoky, this fatty cut of brisket was a thrill for the tastebuds. The brisket required scant amounts of effort to chew, and the fatty & juicy beef went down with minimal fuss. The brisket was already sufficiently breathtaking, but in concert with tangy BBQ sauce & creamy aioli, as well as the crisp red onions & pickles an acidic rebalancing, this Brisket Sandwich was a sapid superstar.⠀

I didn’t even know that Meatsmith did donuts, but now I do, and damn I want some more. I was sorely tempted to get the Nutella donut for $7.50, but I settled on the strawberry jam stuffed one instead, and it was a truly inspired choice. The sharp, sour and slightly sweet strawberry jam cut right through all the richness of the brisket, and the bitterness of all the beer I’d had and revitalised my sense of taste. The dough was also quite incredible, with a fine balance between doughy, carb-y satisfaction and airy lightness that doesn’t surfeit. Sure it’s expensive for a donut, but you’d have to be a donut if you didn’t try it at least twice.⠀

Thanks for getting me on the VIP list, bossman @kevin._.ngan, and thanks for the jio @wobblethebui!

@wildfireburgers.sg has been around for quite a while, and their burgers have consistently been in the elite tier of the burger rankings. I can’t even remember the last time I had Wildfire, and after devouring their Triple Bacon Cheeseburger ($24++ for double patties, making this a Triple Double) I’m wondering why I’ve been robbing myself of the pleasure. ⠀

Wildfire gets its name from the flames that leap out of the Binchotan charcoal fired INKA grill, and if you peer into the kitchen you’ll get to see a fire show every few minutes or so. The intense heat sears the patty in a jiffy, locking all the meaty moisture of the beef within the patties, while still putting a charming char on the patties. Speaking of the patties, these thick, juicy beef patties are crafted out of fine Aussie grain fed Angus ground beef topped with cheddar cheese. That combo delivers a brilliant balance of fat that brings flavour and beef that delivers satisfying meatiness blanketed by creamy, delicious, salty melted cheese.⠀

Perfect patties aside, the triple in the Triple Bacon Burger comes from the trifecta of crispy bacon bits, baconnaise (bacon mayonnaise) and bacon jam. The crispy bacon bits did well, but could’ve fared way better if they came as strips instead to maximise the crunch. The bacon jam & baconnaise, on the other hand, were absolutely awesome. The smokiness & savouriness of the bacon infused every morsel of burger with its porky smokiness, and every meaty mouthful was marvellous.⠀

The brioche burger buns were flawless, being delightfully doughy yet airy and bouncy. However, since they had been toasted with butter on, this Triple Double of mine got too cloying too quickly. Perhaps Wildfire should look into providing a fresh contrast to all the meaty madness in the burger by way of a few crisp leaves of lettuce, or maybe even a few pickles. Still, this Triple Double Bacon Cheeseburger is putting up GOAT tier performances that earn it a spot in the hall of fame.

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It ain’t an all American diner without burgers, and @charliesgrill.com.sg has some dummy thicc ones. They keep it real simple & all American with their Classic Beef Burger ($13.90++), this here Beef Bacon Cheeseburger ($14.90++) and the Double Cheese Beef Burger ($14.90++). Even though the bacon used is beef bacon due to Charlie’s being a halal certified restaurant, I am a sucker for bacon.⠀

Charlie’s burgers are a rarity, as they are grilled to a medium with some pink in the center as opposed to the more common medium well doneness. As you might expect, these fabulously fat burgers are juicy and they are simply, albeit superbly, seasoned. That savouriness is enhanced by the slices of cheddar cheese, which inject an additional layer of rich, cheesy and salty deliciousness. The cheddar should have been melted of maximal effect, but the deliciousness of the beef patty does distract from that defect.⠀

The beef bacon was a bit tough like beef jerky, but that’s to be expected due to beef being naturally leaner than pork. However, the intense smokiness & saltiness it brought to the burger was well appreciated. It might seem like a lot of meatiness, but all that salty beefiness is countered by the fresh tomatoes & crunchy lettuce, which does prevent our tastebuds from getting bored of all that meatiness. The buns were fluffy and toasted nicely, and they held up resolutely against the juiciness of the beef seeping into the buns.⠀

At just fifteen bucks for a behemoth burger like this, Charlie’s is dishing out unparalleled value along with their terrifically tasty burgers. Thanks for the invite, @charliesgrill.com.sg & @eatwithkeat!

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If you ask me, the essence of Mod-Sin cuisine seems to be taking Singaporean classics and elevating them by either refining the recipe or increasing the quality of ingredients used. In the case of @thekongsee.sg Black Angus Ramly Burger ($26++), both are applicable. It’s only available at lunch for now, but I do wish it would be up on the dinner menu too. After all, a good, greasy Ramly burger is what you need to pad your stomach on a good night with lots of booze.⠀

Like I mentioned before, The Kongsee’s Chef Partner @willcookwilleat has upgraded the standard pasar malam (night market) Ramly by swapping out just about everything for vastly improved versions. First and most importantly, the usual tiny frozen mystery meat patty is subbed off for a dummy thicc Black Angus beef patty. The standard, slightly stale mass produced burger bun is ditched in favour of supremely soft brioche buns that also add a little sweetness to the maelstrom of flavours. The deliriously juicy & meaty Black Angus patty is superbly salted, and it’s the main source of savouriness in this behemoth burger. ⠀

It’s gently wrapped in an omelette envelope that’s absolutely smothered by chili mayonnaise made in house, and some black pepper sauce. The only minor gripe I had with this otherwise brilliant Black Angus Ramly burger was that it could’ve done with more black pepper sauce for a more concentrated peppery kick, but everything else was excellent otherwise. In short, Chef Willin took every principle that makes a tasty burger and applied it to a Ramly burger, and this pricey but ponderous & phenomenal burger is damn near perfect.⠀

Thanks for hosting us, @thekongsee.sg & @kevin._.ngan, and thank you @wobblethebui for letting me tag along!

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@bleujoochiat Fish Burger ($18.80 nett) has received critical acclaim, as well as my curiosity. Ladies & gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce that all the pictures on social media have done it justice. It is indeed a behemoth burger, with two THICC and beautifully battered red grouper fillets bound to two halves of a pillowy brioche burger bun by way of melted American cheese & tartar sauce.⠀

While there was no denying that the burger is already remarkable, the Fish Burger was somewhat lacking and incomplete. It felt like the R&D guys got super excited while creating the burger, hurriedly cobbling together all the present elements before abruptly losing interest and abandoning the project altogether. The brioche bun was wonderfully buttered, but when combined with the oil from the fried fish, it does get cloying quite quickly. ⠀

The burger was begging for a sharp, refreshing element like pickled onions, or even a coleslaw that’s been enhanced by citrus fruits like lemon or even oranges. Heck, even a couple of leaves of grilled lettuce would’ve helped to control the grease levels here. The tartar sauce is fine, but completely pedestrian, and it would’ve benefited greatly from having more dill and perhaps more chopped pickles being added into the mix.⠀

I did enjoy Bleu’s flavourful Fish Burger for a bit, but at just under nineteen bucks for a takeaway fish burger without fries, I do expect more complexity and excellence from the burger. Perfection is so close for Bleu’s Fish Burger, yet so far…

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If beef isn’t your thing, the grilled chicken burger is quite tempting too. A colossal chicken thigh fillet is grilled to perfection and sandwiched between two beautifully browned brioche buns that have been slathered in mayonnaise. The grilled chicken is subtly spiced and sufficiently seasoned, and this is an unbelievably healthy chicken burger. Sure, it could be improved by either spicing the chicken up, or by applying a unique mayonnaise such as a sriracha or possibly even a curry mayo, but the burger is quite delicious as it currently is.⠀

I’m not gonna lie folks, Yummo Chow’s mains are pretty expensive, so you gotta break out the #burpplebeyond to break even. Still, I’d definitely recommend giving Yummo Chow a fair shake if you’re in the vicinity. Thank you for the hospitality, @yummochowsg & @burpple!

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Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol. Insta: @okwhotookmyusername

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