Sunday, December 2, 2012

Omakase Burger, Turf City

Omakase Burger is the latest burger craze in food-mad Singapore, and I first heard of it from a few friends who visited and exclaimed to me that it's the best burger in Singapore. Best burger in singapore? Really? Didn't know - had to go pay it a visit just to see what the fuss is about. And soon I saw the newspaper review and I realised that it's opened by a former ex-JC classmate of mine, Mr Cheng, who quit his banker job to start this Omakase Burger thing. 

mr cheng and his dad
the decor
Hence, i popped down, said hi to him (I hadn't seen him in a while), and asked quite a few questions, as to what his inspiration is, why did he start selling burgers, etc? Kinda an exclusive interview, if you'd like, albeit that I think 8 days already ran a similar story. Never mind. Well the story goes that he was always patronizing NYC and loved the burgers there, particularly from Shake Shack. (Read my review of Shake shack here). And he came back to SG and realised that there wasn't any place that could satisfy his burger cravings. So he decided to make some burgers himself, invested in a professional meat grinder, and experimented with various combinations of beef. Apparently he used an Excel spreadsheet and used various meats from various countries and from various cuts, from all parts of the beef and from many places. And he finally settled upon a combination which he felt was the best - and well, what he does is that he grinds the meat daily - he gets various beef cuts from various suppliers and grinds them in the shop every morning, and apparently only he knows the 'special combination'. It's kind of like how Pat LaFrieda makes a proprietary beef blend for Shake shack - no one else knows the special combination, and apparently many people have asked Pat LaFrieda what goes into the shake shack burger, but of course, these are intellectual property ie trade secrets, and of course you don't reveal these things to people. So Pat LaFrieda has a special blend for Shake Shack, and a special blend for someone else i.e. Minetta Tavern, and so on - but okay that's besides the point - the point is that, the combination of beef is important because it is the blend of various cuts from the cow that gives the beef in the burger it's own unique taste, which is unique to the restaurant. 

So well, I was keen to find out more about what went into the burger, so I probed further - and he really knows his stuff. Apparently, the short ribs gives alot of flavour, but you can't put them into a burger, because the meat flakes easily and doesn't combine together well because the meat proteins don't "latch" together in a patty - i..e if you were to have a pure short rib burger, it would disintegrate. And I'm sure he's done his research for various parts - I asked him what it would be like to have an Onglet beef burger - and he said it would taste amazing, but it's not suitable for industrial-use, which i guess it's true since there's only one onglet in every cow! And he said that he basically sourced for every good thing for each component of his burger - so he's got the best american bacon, best mushrooms, and so on. I guess the test is in the tasting eh, so here I went to try it out...

First up was the drinks - the homemade lemonade was pretty good, very refreshing. It featured some pulpy strands of lemon which were rather delicious - not too sour and not too sweet either.

The double-cheeseburger came, and wow that was rather good. Very juicy patty, almost too much juice that kinda flooded the entire bun (which was nice - rather soft), but with a good beefy flavour that came through nicely - nicely charred with a good beefy juice to it. The cheese added some umami savouriness to it. Only thing I wasn't a fan of was the lettuce - seems a bit too plebian for such a nice burger. The original Shake Shack burger used very fresh, crisp lettuce - not iceberg - and perhaps I should suggest to Mr Cheng to do the same. Hmm.....Overall though, a very good burger. (8/10).  
I ordered the sweet potato fries which were nice, a tad of sweet and very crispy.  (7/10)

The second time I came, I decided to try the Deluxe Cheeseburger - which came with onions and mushrooms - and I dare say I enjoyed this more than the regular one since I really love onions with my beef and definitely anything with mushrooms is something i'd definitely fancy. Good good. (8.5/10)
The truffle fries were great too - superb. I'm suggesting to him to add maybe sprigs of rosemary into the mix ala Spotted Pig which may be a good idea. Let's see what he says, haha. Anyway the truffle fries as they stand is a (8/10)


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