Feeling like a visit to TGIF last Sunday after a spot of shopping in Glorietta Mall, I stopped in and was thinking that a cheeseburger and a beer would be a suitable Sunday evening repast.
So, after completing the contact tracing form, being shot in the head (36.3 degrees for those interested) and disinfecting my hands for the ninth time that day in some Isopropyl alcohol, I followed the arrows on the floor to my socially distant seat. Next to the QR code menu and ordering link, I saw the abomination illustrated to the right.
First, let me state up front, I have no issues with vegies, in fact, I even enjoy some of them on my cheeseburgers. However, there is only one true definition of a burger and that is a piece of meat between two buns! And that meat should be beef.
The cheeseburger to the left is the perfect example. Well seasoned minced beef patty, built on a bed of lettuce, tomato and in this case fresh onion, with cheese on the top and a toasted bun, toasted to give it the extra strength to hold together until the last mouthful.
The burger should not require any utensils to eat it with other than those provided by the good Lord at your birth – your hands and fingers!
So called “chicken burgers” are chicken sandwiches or chicken rolls. “Pulled pork” cannot be used in a burger, but can in a roll, a baguette, a Philly.
Apart from the beef patty, cheese, tomato, lettuce and onion (whether raw or caramelised), the burger can also contain bacon, egg, beetroot (Aussie burgers standard issue) and arguably pineapple – there is a debate about whether pineapple can be used, similar to the Hawaiian pizza debate. Add to that a condiment of choice – tomato sauce/ketchup or BBQ or HP/A1.
So, the picture at the top is NOT a burger – it is a salad roll!
Brother’s Burgers is a small burger chain in the Philippines. They have sixteen stores across the Philippines with one, fortunately, just up the road.
We were heading out to go to the Makati Marauders wargame club and decided to grab a bite on the way. Many eating places in central Makati were closed because it was a public holiday. Brother’s Burgers were the first eatery we came across that was open.
In we went.
Madam opted for the Extreme Bacon Burger whilst I went for my humble cheeseburger. I took mine in a meal which included chips and a Coke Zero for PHP 280 (about US $6.50).
The burger was served on a bun that was robust enough to hold the burger and the juice from the burger down to the last mouthful. There was a meat patty, about 250 grams in size on the bun with raw onion, tomato and an American processed cheddar cheese. On the top half of the bun was several leaves of lettuce. A slice of pickles rounded this out.
As with the Strand Burger, Romaine lettuce was used. Putting the top on, taking a firm grip on the burger and then biting, my taste buds were immediately titillated by the various flavours and textures. The patty was nicely seasoned and had been cooked well – cooked to well done but still juicy. Altogether, it was a nice burger and one I would happily grab for a sub $8 lunch again.
How did it rate against my baseline burger. To be honest, I think I prefer this one a little more so I would rate it 7/10. This was surprising as it is, after all, from a burger chain (although admittedly, a small chain).
The Strand is the restaurant attached to One Pacific Place in Makati City, Manila, where we are staying at the moment.
I thought I would start the great Philippines Cheeseburger hunt here and set this as the baseline burger. It was not a bad idea. As far as burger go, it was reasonable. The patty was seasoned giving a slightly savoury flavour. The patty was cooked so that there was some pink still in the centre and was therefore still quite moist.
The burger itself was served on a bun that held together until the last two mouthfuls although it was a little sweet – a problem with many foods in the Philippines.
On the bun was lettuce (Romaine was used), tomato, pickle, the patty, raw onion and a cheddar cheese. It was served with chips that had been lightly battered in some seasoning with a small side salad dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The chips were interesting in flavour and texture, bending under their own weight as they were held up but overall, OK.
Cost was 375 pesos (about $9.00) and I’d rate this 6/10 as the baseline burger for the Philippines.
On the way back from the wargame last night, the topic of dinner came up. The lady was looking for Korean first or mussels second. Our favourite Korean restaurant was full so mussels were then Plan B. We stopped into the New Harbour Cafe and Bar on Tanjong Pagar Road where I had a chance to savour a cheeseburger.
The New Harbour is a big cheeseburger with minimal inclusions – a piece of limp lettuce, a slice of tomato and a slice of cucumber. The beef patty however is reasonably seasoned and more importantly, big. The cheese is melted to the patty and the bun is strong enough to last the burger through.
The burger itself is fine and filling but not great. It weighs in at about $16.00 and on the modified Thomo Cheeseburger scale, I’d rate it a 6/10.
I really must put the scale up here at some point in the future.
I’ve been on a diet. Yep, Thomo has been trimming down. My first target is to be overweight and in this I am being slowly successful. I only have about 300 grams to go to be overweight.
The diet has been to quit alcohol (with the exception of the very occasional shandy) and eat at least one cheeseburger a week.
Today, for lunch, I needed to head to Chinatown Point here to grab some stuff from the Daiso (the $2 store) and thought I would lunch there. There seemed to be at a table free at Food Garage so I wandered in. There was a cheeseburger there for $14.50 so burger it was.
Meat patty was well cooked but still juicy. Sesame seed bun, a reasonable cheese, ketchup, two types of shredded cabbage, onion and tomato.
A generous burger for the price and good overall flavour. I’d have to call this at about 7/10. Certainly good quality for the money.
Anthony decided to experiment on Saturday before the French-Indian Wars Big Battle and in an effort to become more acquainted with his barbecue, decided to experiment with a burger. This was partly because of my previous burger posts and partly because he also likes a good burger.
Now, where there is a barbecue involved and the end result is a burger, Thomo is happy to be experimented on. Given the pursuit for the perfect burger in Singapore (and other locations as well it seems), the first bite of any burger needs to be reported on!
A hand-made beef patty lightly seasoned and pressed with care provided the core component of the burger. Taking flavour from the barbecue enriched the flavour. The cheese added to this burger was Brie which provides a nice depth of flavour to the burger. Add tomato, lettuce and onion and the burger provided an excellent meal – and certainly sustenance enough for me to fight the dastardly British to a standstill in North America!
Overall, I reckon this was the standard of a good burger – 7.5/10. Future burgers will need to work hard to taste better.
I had a burger today and decided that I should include travelling burgers as well as just those in Singapore.
This then is the first of the Jakarta burgers.
I had it at the Park Lane – an older 5-star hotel. The burger I would rate as a 4/102/10 [it was noted to me by Dr Dan that 4/10 was just below average whereas 2 or 3 out of 10 was awful – leaving 0 and 1 out of 10 for the absolutely dreadful]. It was kind of dry and the beef bacon was chewy and did not have a good texture. The patty was beef but had just the minimum of seasoning and little in the way of extra flavour.
There was something that looked like a peppery thousand Island dressing so I asked for tomato ketchup. The tomato, and lettuce was limp – the tomato looked like it has been sliced yesterday and left out of the fridge. The onion still had one layer of skin around the outside. I avoided the pickle altogether and never noticed the mushrooms under the cheese until just now, looking at the picture again.
Overall, this is perhaps the worst burger I have had in the last 12 months with the possible exception of one at the Bull and Bear in Singapore where the centre of the meat patty was a lump, as if minced meat had been minced then squeezed together and frozen then not properly thawed.
Today’s burger was enough to turn me vegetarian – quick, give me a salad!
We had just come back from lunch at the Taphouse and had spent a couple of hours chatting and taking over coffee. We were hungry again and as we were near Scott’s Plaza we decided that we would try what looked like a French Bistro.
They made burgers.
They made other stuff as well, like a steak but all Thomo noticed was that they made burgers.
For a start, the cost was $19 which compared very favourably with the $42 at db bistro moderne.The burger itself was well cooked and the presentation, whilst simple, was appealing. I was hungry and managed to demolish the chips before I managed to remember to take a photo.
The burger itself consists of a beef patty made with dry aged beef, caramelized onion, French Comte cheese, and a caper and garlic mayonnaise. It is served with a tomato relish.
The burger was delicious. The patty was juicy still and the bread was a treat. I would certainly rate this burger up there with the ones at Two Blur Guys in Tanjong Pagar ((I’m sure I reviewed those burgers here somewhere before but I’ll be dashed if U can see the review)).
This is it – the signature burger. It was my birthday and the Lady had decided to take me to db bistro moderne in Marina Bay Sands. The restaurant is one of a chain run by chef Daniel Boulud, a French restaurateur with restaurants in New York City, Palm Beach, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, London, Beijing, and Singapore. His restaurant in New York City, Daniel, is a Michelin 3-star restaurant.
The Lady knows I have a passion for a good burger. As I once said to the executive chef at the Renaissance Hotel in Seoul back in the early 1990s, “anyone can cook a reasonable duck l’orange, but it takes a master chef to produce a brilliant cheeseburger”. I should note that he then proceeded to cook possibly the best cheeseburger I have ever had!
The Original db Burger was not that burger!
Overall the burger was nice, the mix of foie gras and good quality meat provide a nice flavour combination but I think my issue with this burger is that attempt to make it 3-Michelin star standard – something a burger, no matter how nice, should ever be. The attempt to keep height in the meal meant the meat patty was very thick (and yes, that is partly to contain the foie gras) and that thickness makes the patty difficult to cook evenly. That thickness is a problem as I like my burgers well done so where the centre was cooked, the outside was almost burnt.
The chips (OK, pommes frites) were nice enough but were over salted – more on that later.
The burger is served on a very large plate and the serving makes it a little reminiscent of the old days of nouveau cuisine where the meals were pretty but left you looking for a cheeseburger on the way home. $42++ ((all pricing is in Singaproe dollars here)) for the burger though? Way overpriced for what it was. The restaurant may see itself as an exclusive, fine dining establishment but there are a few cracks there too – more on that later. I was glad to have had an onion soup to start with otherwise I may have been looking at the golden arches on the way home.
The Lady decided to have a set menu and her choices were a seafood pasta followed by two types of beef – one I think was a sirloin cut, the other was from the flank. She had selected the Baked Alaska for desert. I tried her entrée as she was not happy with it. It was a seafood pasta in a butter sauce. The sauce was so salty. The whole dish had been over-seasoned. Serving a butter sauce (in itself a little salty) over a pasta that I am sure was cooked in salted water with seafood cooked in the butter (and I am guessing salted some more) would have been lovely except for all the salt. The Lady is used to salt and salts her cooking well but this was just too much salt.
In fact, the over-seasoning seemed to attack both the burger and her main course as well as it was quite salty. Now I know that many places like salty food to encourage the patron to drink more but this is a classy restaurant – surely they are above that? Her main course was so memorable that neither of us can really remember it 24 hours later.
The saviour food-wise for the evening was the Baked Alaska. It was a 9/10 dish. It even looks good up there.
Apart from the food, there were other disappointments too. The tables are small. That’s nice, you can be close to your dinner companion and it feels a little intimate. This mood is destroyed almost immediately by the noise of the restaurant. It is a very noisy restaurant. The décor seems to just echo sound. The maître d’ was excellent as was the wine waiter (or perhaps sommelier).
The serving staff were a little too attentive for my liking except when they needed to be. I mentioned the small table. The plates are huge so two plates and a condiment tray across the table and the plates are starting to hang off the edge. I am eating a burger which entails some finger work to be eaten properly so it was not totally unexpected when I knocked my knife off the table. Attentive waiter number one rushes over and picks the knife up and says they will bring another one. It never arrived. That didn’t matter so much as I knocked the fork off as well about 5 minutes later. That I retrieved myself and again, it was never replaced.
Overall, it is an interesting place and we are glad we have eaten there. After $42++ for the signature burger, I have a renewed respect for the $3.85 Mos Cheeseburger!
Yep, Thomo is on the move. The lads are packed and ready for their shift, it’s just all the other crap that’s taking time … why can’t I just take all my books into somewhere and trade them for eBooks of the same title?
Anyhoo, I’ll be off the air for a few days but will probably start publishing some more on painting for Cancon 2013 as well as the odd Cheeseburger from next weekend.