PEr FYI

October 22, 2016

Simply life, Hong Kong…God knows it’s worth it

Make your way to Simply Life. Just follow the aroma of fresh bread and cakes to a bunch of tables packed with shoppers and office workers. God knows it’s worth it. There’s no denying that this charming cafe’s celebration of life paraphernalia is on point, with the place being decorated in European country style complete with benches and green turf.

The ample food offeing to fill your bellies is high quality: a handful of sandwiches and a lovely spread of baked goods. Light Bites, Small Plates, Large Plates, yadda, yadda, yadda, and the prices are kind. I had the bacon and beef burger with fried egg and cheddar cheese. My God, it is a tasty eggsplosion.

A steady stream of City slaves keeps this tiny treasure buzzing – and it’s easy to see why. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

simply-life-hk1

simply-life-hk2

 

August 21, 2016

The Baboon House, Melaka…zen burger-eating mode

Yes, we’ve seen about every permutation of burgers by this point. The Baboon House is an unsung hero in a world of overstuffed and overpriced burgers.

Inside is a space that more closely resembles a dense garden than a restaurant. Beaten up wooden tables and chairs punctuate grubby shelves and art-strewn walls in a nice natural lush tropical environment.

The basic menu is short, to-the-point and has possibly the best burger readily available to most Malaccans. Baboon special aloha cheeseburger is a delightful assault on the senses. The homemade bun is perfectly soft. The juicy baboon beef patty is thin enough to not be a belly bomb and are accompanied by a profusion of cheddar cheese, grilled cheese, streaky pork bacon and fresh veggies. The Oriental chicken burger was also simple and spot on and the tropical lemongrass drink (lemongrass, lemon and honey) complements the food very well.

You will surely be in zen burger-eating mode. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

baboon house melaka

October 25, 2015

Bill’s Bar & Burger, New York City…it’s non monumental, lacks a wow-factor

Given the limited choices for food within a short walk on a cold, windy and rainy New York winter night, this place was okay. Not something I can rave about. It’s not bad, but it was pretty average.

I got the “famous” CNN-rated Fat-Cat burger (2013 CNN top 10 burger award) – caramelised onion, American cheese, English muffin, LTP. Thought it was tasty, it lacked a wow-factor. It definitely should not have made anyone’s top burger list. The buffalo chicken wrap – lettuce and tomato, blue cheese, spinach, tortilla – was an okay wrap. It was tasty and the ingredients were well seasoned and it was a decent sized portion. While their new England clam chowder has a nice stick-to-your-stomach creaminess about it, it was a tad thin when compared to your typical chowder.

Certainly did not surpass Smashburger or In-N-Out. It’s non monumental. It’s fine for what it is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

bill's bar ny

August 2, 2015

Smashburger, Los Angeles…By far one of the Best Burgers I’ve ever had. Soooo juicyyy!!!

Smashburger is a thoroughly modern fast-casual restaurant (where you order at a counter just as you would in a fast food joint but the food is delivered to your table by servers), offering healthy and fresh better-burger chain, using certified Angus beef. Instead of just one bun, it lets customers select from four artisan bun offerings: egg, multigrain, spicy chipotle and even brioche. As the name suggests, the Smashburger kitchen uses the much-talked-about “smashing, seared and seasoned” technique.

I happily gobbled a highly laudable Classic smash – American cheese, Smash sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion on an “artisan”egg bun. The egg bun has a texture and robustness that compliment the seared patty. The crust on the patty is truly impressive, adding a significant amount of crunch and snap to each bite. Besides conventional fries, there’s smashfries – shoestring fries tossed in Italian olive oil, rosemary and garlic.

As a gourmet burger and at $10 to $12, a meal at Smashburger will typically set folks back $2 to $4 more than a meal at McDonald’s. Moreover, with the TV overhead, you can watch sport channel while eating.

The verdict? It is not only good; it’s in the same big-time league as Shake Shack’s. This is the true truth as I still say it as it is…

smashburger2 la

snashburger la

July 12, 2015

Burger Bar, San Francisco…you need a pre-recession budget but don’t expect to be blown away

There seems to be no food more popular nowadays than the once-humble hamburger, practically every upscale restaurant has a burger these days. Burger Bar offers several different types of beef, in addition to lamb, turkey, seafood and veggie burgers, with a variety of toppings from garden, farm, ocean and more and a variety of breads, all of it to be mixed and matched in endless do-it-yourself variety. Among the beef types is American-style Kobe, or Wagyu beef.

I had the American Kobe beef burger. I don’t really care what you call the beef, as long as it tastes great.  Kobe, the steak-lovers Holy Grail becomes less relevant in a ground burger patty. While the pate is thick and tightly packed, juicy but not dripping and has a very good overall flavour, it has nothing on any other gourmet burgers. I guess the Kobe label is just a marketing tool employed to justify a high price.

Try it, if you have a pre-recession budget but don’t expect to be blown away . This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

burger bar american kobe beef burger

burger bar

June 7, 2015

KGB (Killer Gourmet Burger), Kuala Lumpur…Fantastically flavorful burgers

A good burger is a thing of beauty.

If you haven’t yet heard about Killer Gourmet Burger, it’s a chic, but comfortable, high-brow burger concept. The distinction lies in the food. Waste no time with fries nor onion rings. You came here to eat meat: freshly ground grass-fed beef formed into patties, then sandwiched into brioche-like buns branded with the letters “KGB”. They are supremely delicious, each juicy, messy bite.

“How on earth are you going to eat that?” I ask in amazement looking at the enormous burgers as they towered in front of Dave and I. To be honest it was so good I didn’t care who saw me with sauce dripping down my face. Truffle’d swiss mushroom with caramalized onions consisted of grilled beef, Swiss brown mushrooms, Swiss cheese, truffle infused and herbed ranch dressing was perfect. Every bite was just right. Bash, which was topped not only with beef bacon relish & caramelized onions but also provolone cheese & maple cornflakes, exploded with crunchiness and savors

Go to KGB …go there soon. It was just that good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

kgb kl1

June 6, 2015

Burger & Lobster, London…deserves every bit of oohing and aahing

There’s no printed menu, they told me, only 3 options. A blackboard by the entrance announces “Burger or lobster or lobster roll. All with chips & salad. £20”. That’s it.

You get a pretty big, stonking beast of a lobster with lots of meat inside and it comes with a bucket of perfectly golden crisp fries and underwhelming salad. You have a choice of steamed or grilled. The lobster – steamed to a turn and marked on the griddle – lay there and I could have swore I heard it screaming to be anointed with garlic butter. DO get that lemon garlic butter – that stuff is addictive and it’s hard to stop yourself from just drinking this butter concoction.

The decor is… different. The restaurant has a modern feel with statement lighting. The staff trained to exhibit well-judged chirpiness. The service was on point and the food comes out QUICK! You have my lobster-loving heart here.

When you name your restaurant after what you serve, you’d better do it damn near perfectly. Burger & Lobster has a huge bang for its buck. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

burger lobster london2

burger lobster london3

December 21, 2014

T.G.I Friday’s, New York City…far from the pinnacle of American cuisine, but they are decent

First I should say, I have never been all that crazy about this chain restaurant in the first place. Let me be clear on that. They’re far from the pinnacle of American cuisine, but they’re not terrible – they are decent.

Waking away from watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, after 3.5 hours of standing by the roadside on 6th Avenue in the blistering wind and light snow, we tried to get into a couple of restaurants in Times Square but was told that waiting time is at least 30 minutes. We took a chance and jumped into the next restaurant with vacant tables, TGI Friday’s. Like all the TGI’s I’ve been to, the walls at this TGI Friday’s at Times Square are covered with everything but the kitchen sink.

We had the slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone (or should I say peel-off-the-bone) tender and juicy baby back pork ribs basted in Tennessee BBQ sauce, then fire-grilled and served with seasoned fries and ginger-lime slaw; and the Philly Stacked Burger (Braised shredded beef, mozzarella, Asiago & Parmesan, roasted cremini mushrooms, spicy giardiniera and green onion between two fresh burgers with Swiss cheese, horseradish spread, onion bacon jam and peppered bacon). The food was pretty damn good – definitely not the horrific, inedible trash-heap I was expecting – but the staff and general lack of care for customers negated all that. But…the ribs…I will return just for the ribs.

The prices were steep — most of the entrees are between $20-$30, with the sandwiches in the upper teens — but what else could you expect from a restaurant in Times Square? You’ll get the same at the Hard Rock or Bubba Gump nearby. This is the true truth, as I say it as it is…

tgif ny

December 6, 2014

Umami Burger, New York City…Underwhelming Umami

The chain that forever “changed the burger game”. The “finest burger in all the land.” The owner Alan Richman himself described the burger as “half beef, half beyond belief.”

I ordered a Truffle Burger ad truffle fries. They were the saddest fries I’ve seen. Lukewarm and almost limp, they were glued together by a congealed, paste-like substance that might have once been gooey, melted truffle cheese. The burger arrives, stamped with a thick capital U in purplish vegetable ink. The Truffle Burger was grilled to a perfect medium rare with a crisp, caramelized crust, the texture of the meat nostalgically reminiscent of meatloaf.  ‘Umami’ is the word for savory in Japanese. The  focus is on ramping up the umami flavor (the hard-to-pinpoint fifth taste, after sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, best exemplified by MSG) in almost every component of the burger. It was a really good burger, but for all the umami bluster isn’t notably different from other good burgers around town. Game-changing? no.

After all the hype, Umami Burger truly underwhelms. It just doesn’t hold up against similar burgers in its price range  or even the far superior, and slightly cheaper Five Guys and Shake Shack. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

umami

umami2

November 17, 2014

myBurgerLab, Petaling Jaya….it’s OMG delicious

This place is actually…amazing. I was sceptical and I should mention rather carnivorous and I loved it! For a little place, it does get busy and yes, definitely worth a try !!

If a good burger is a thing of beauty, then the Swisstake burger I had was a gorgeous masterpiece which is quintessentially BK Swiss Mushroom burger on steroids. It’s a soft charcoal bun (which makes it a Black Burger) plus the beef, swiss cheese, the star of the show…shiitake & enoki mushrooms and their secret weapon…Sauce X. However, it really tasted like a hamburger. You get the delicious and satisfying taste of a burger, without those feelings of heaviness and greasiness afterwards – the hallmark of actual quality.

myBurgerLab is a standout and a standard-setter. They probably serve one of my top 5 burgers ever! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

myburgerlab2 KL

myburger lab KL

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