Of late, gourmet hamburgers seem to be the rage in Singapore. The fad that was started off by Willin Low’s Relish (down at Cluny Court) appears to have caught on rather rapidly and there are now many alternatives to the ubiquitous McDonald’s or Burger King. At Far East Square, there’s Berg’s Burgers. At Thomson Road, there’s FatBoy’s Burger Bar. At Bt Timah, you have Burger Shack. And at Raffles City and Somerset, there’s the Handburger. I’m not exactly a big burger fan, but I do enjoy a good burger. To set the record straight, I generally like mine crisp and burnt on the outside, but juicy and medium on the inside. With the hype building up over the Handburger at Raffles City, I headed over there to try the burgers with a colleague.
The Handburger, if you haven’t already seen the place, looks much like a tuck shop / canteen. The outlet at Raffles City is made up of rows of wooden tables with square (slightly uncomfortable) chairs. This is a little bit of a minus point if you’re paying 15-18 dollars for a burger, but I digress. What’s interesting at the Handburger is the variety of the burgers they offer. From the Salmon Confit Burger to the Pulled Pork Burger, the range on offer is admittedly wide. Whether or not these burgers hold their water, is another question altogether.
On this particular visit, I tried the Works Burger, which was really a combination of a sirloin beef patty, cheddar cheese, sunny side up egg, beer battered onion rings, garlic mayo and sweet onion jam served on a caramelised onion bun.
The bun was soft and fluffy and a far sight yummier than what you would get at a regular fast food outlet. While the caramelised onion flavour didn’t feature strongly throughout the bun, I still liked eating it on it’s own as it was toasted to near perfection and the natural sweetness of the bread kept drawing me to the bun. The patty, on the other hand, was very very disappointing. Touted to be 180g of chopped sirloin, this tasted more like overcooked mystery meat, and while you could taste that it was in fact beef in the patty, the patty itself was tough, sinewy and dry. Each of the other components of the burger tried its best to push the patty along, and the bacon in particular was crisp while the sweet onion jam lent itself well to the burger. Luckily for the sirloin patty, the runny egg yolk helped to provide some “juice” to the otherwise tough patty and salvaged the dish as a whole.
Accompanying the burger was a bowl of handcut fries, served with a tomato based sauce. The tomato based sauce was decent and tasted closer to a barbeque sauce, while the fries were for me, a touch too underfried and slightly on the soggy side, especially after about 5-10 minutes on your plate. Still, I would not say that the fries were all THAT bad, but they were merely pedestrian in this meal.
My colleague had the Sirloin Tataki Burger – this was just lightly seared on the outside as tatakis are meant to be, but otherwise did not appear or taste to be particularly outstanding.
In all, I would have to say that my visit to the Handburger was slightly disappointing as the most important part of the burger was ultimately the most disappointing part as well. I guess having a tough, dry patty in the middle of a hamburger in a shop that specialises in selling hamburgers is like serving not-so-flavourful sashimi at a sashimi bar in Tsukiji market. Sadly this was the case at the Handburger and I would probably hesitate in ordering the hamburgers if and when I next visit. Perhaps I should try the pulled pork or the portobello burger next? I’ll post on this again if I do head back there.
252 North Bridge Road
Tel: +65 6334 4577