Burger Shack ain’t too shabby

After a disappointing meal at Fat Boys, I visited Burger Shack with rather low expectations.

And those expectations sunk even lower when I saw this sign:

Burger Shack by Island Creamery sign.

Burger Shack by Island Creamery sign.

To say I’m not a fan of the ice creams of Island Creamery, is an understatement. However, burgers should be judged on their own merit, and not on their parentage.

Scanning the menu board, I was surprised to find no mention of milk shakes on the menu. A burger joint owned by an ice cream company with no milk shake? Hmm… I wonder why.

Here, you build a burger from the original. Unlike at Fat Boys, there’s no specification on the amount of meat used in each patty.

The Original Burger is $5.70. This is the absolute basic burger. What you get is in the photo below:

The ingredients of the basic burger, showing an odd stacking order.

The ingredients of the basic burger, showing an odd stacking order.

To make it a meal, for fries and a drink, add $3.20. Students get a better deal on this for seventy cents less. So, if you don’t like teenagers using eating places as an alternative study area with their bubblegum-coloured MacBooks or as their personal living room for banal gossip, this is a huge negative and reason enough to stay away.

Burger Shack’s meal of Original burger, fries and a soda is $8.90. A double is $2 more. As a comparison, Fat Boys’ basic burger is $8.50 consisting of bun ($1), single patty ($7.50), one tomato slice, one leaf of lettuce, fries, no onion,  no drink.

Once you start adding the extras – cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, a fried egg – the burger begins to get quite expensive as each addition is $1.50.

I ordered a burger, not much different from the one I had at Fat Boys. I went with the Original burger, with caramelized onions.

A burger wrapped too high up.

A burger wrapped too high up.

I liked that the burgers each come wrapped in paper that allows you to eat with hands clean. Unfortunately, the burger was wrapped too high and needed to be unwrapped immediately in order to be eaten.

The unwrapped and lopsided burger.

The unwrapped and lopsided burger.

I’m glad to say that Burger Shack knows what caramelized onions actually means. Unfortunately, it’s not well caramelized and lacks the natural sweetness that emerges from properly caramelizing onions.

I was surprised to find that on ordering caramelized onions, the cook still left raw onions in. This really spoilt the flavour of the burger as the onions clashed and combated for attention.

Patty done medium, the right way.

Patty done medium, the right way.

The patty was done the right way, with a pink centre. However, it lacked that just-off-the-grill flavour. The beef – apparently Wagyu – wasn’t even hot enough to melt the cheese.

Burger of double beef, cheese, bacon with chilli and garlic fries.

Burger of double beef, cheese, bacon with chilli and garlic fries.

But it was the burger bun – described as light and fluffy and made in-house everyday – that did the burger in, with its distracting cloying sweetness. It did not hold up well, rendering the bun soggy upon contact with teeth.

All in all, the prices of the burgers at Burger Shack worked out to be roughly the same as those at Fat Boys, but the quality of burgers are better. But not so much so you’d trip over your feet to get to.

Update:

I made a second visit to Burger Shack in early May 2010.

I had a Double Burger ($7.70) Meal (+$3.20).

The positives are:

  • The beef had a better grill, was hotter than the last time.
  • My fellow diner had a Ramlee Burger ($6.20) and the egg had a runny yolk.

The negatives are:

  • The patty was overdone for both burgers, dry and saw dusty.
  • Again, I take issue with the stacking order of the burger. It’s bottom bun, one slim slice of lettuce, then patty. In this case, because the patty was actually hot, the lettuce got overcooked and became a mushy, soft, disgusting green.
  • The fries were served almost at room temperature. By the end of the burger (not the meal) it was cold and inedible.
  • The fry seasoning was not well shaken. Some fries had an inordinate amount of chilli powder, some were tasteless.

I failed to mention that on my first visit, I ate there around 2:30pm. This time, I ate at about 1:15pm.

Okay, this is a burger joint. The menu is severely limited. It’s isn’t that hard to be consistent. Temperatures are set. Patties are of a certain size. And how can you justify serving serving a lousier burger at peak hours where most of your business is?

What a letdown.

Burger Shack
559 Bukit Timah Road
#01-01 King’s Arcade
Singapore 259709
Tue – Sun: 12 – 10pm

History of visits:
2010 May: Downgrade rating.
2010 April

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3 Comments

  1. Peter
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, I can appreciate the thought that went into setting up this site, however I think the content leaves a lot to be desired …

    1. If “burgers should be judged on their own merit, and not on their parentage.”
    Then why should your expectations sunk even lower when you saw the sign Burger Shack by Island Creamery?

    2. And are you sure about cold fries being inedible?

    3. “Again, I take issue with the stacking order of the burger. It’s bottom bun, one slim slice of lettuce, then patty. In this case, because the burger was actually hot, the lettuce got overcooked and became a mushy, soft, disgusting green.”
    Where do you expect the lettuce to be? Right on top of your burger?

    4. “I liked that the burgers each come wrapped in paper that allows you to eat with hands clean. Unfortunately, the burger was wrapped too high and needed to be unwrapped immediately in order to be eaten.”
    Do you really consume candies together with their wrappers?

    5. If “Burger Shack knows what caramelized onions actually means.”
    Then why was it’s not well caramelized and lacks the natural sweetness that emerges from properly caramelizing onions???

    Attempting to give an unbiased review without considering all this is totally senseless.
    Your critics are contradicting and absolutely futility.
    Although one’s man meat is another man’s poison and
    it’s impossible to please all as there are people whose opinions do differ from the majority, you still have got to know your food well before commenting on it.
    Peanut butter was introduce to burgers in the 1950s in the United States and is one of the most sort after sauces in burgers all over the world today.

    You defines the word traditionalist, or rather sounds more like a typical green Singaporean with the trademark blur look who only knows how to appreciate young tao foo and braised duck.

    So if you assume you know what makes good food and where to get it, you better do it well. Unfortunately, you doesn’t. What a letdown.

  2. Posted May 30, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    @ Peter Crawshaw,

    Thank you for your comments.

    1. I did judge the burger on its own merit.

    2. Sure, you can eat fries cold, as you can eat ice cream warm. But in those ways, I consider them inedible.

    3. I like my lettuce just under the top bun. Furthest away from the patty.

    4. The burger should be wrapped lower, that allows a few initial bites. Like the way Subway does it. If not, wrap it McDonald’s style that allows me to place it on the table and unwrap it, pick the whole thing up and eat it.

    5. I’ll clarify. Burger Shack knows caramelized onions compared to Fat Boys, in that Burger Shack doesn’t add sauces to their caramelized onions. However, just because Burger Shack knows what it is, doesn’t mean it knows how to do it well. The natural sweetness did not emerge.

  3. op
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure there is more than one school of thought regarding this, but I have to agree that I prefer lettuce to be placed on top of the patty – especially if the sauces are on top of the patty, cos the lettuce serves to stop juices from spilling out. (So actually it all depends on where the sauce is placed – below or above the patty).

    Many places serve their burgers that way and some places (usually restaurants) also serve their burgers with the top bun, lettuce and tomatoes served on the side, so the customer can finish assembling the burger to their liking.

    So lettuce on top of patty is perfectly reasonable.

    Never thought anyone would give that much thought to where lettuce should go on a burger huh? 🙂

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