A Singaporean’s take on the U.S “Better Burger Movement” has this reviewer scrambling for superlatives.
By Clinton Dixon
Spend any length of time with someone and you will get a sense of their being. As the youthful chef-cum-owner of Omakase Burger Cheng Hsin Yao took me on a tour around his kitchen, I was imbued with his infatuation with detail and the exhaustive lengths he has gone to bring his dream to fruition.
As a student in Chicago, he cultivated a love of all things American, especially gourmet burgers, road trips and the spirit of enterprise. These three loves formed the genesis of his Omakase Burger Restaurant, an American–style gourmet burger restaurant situated at The Grandstand, formerly known as Turf City.
Upon returning to Singapore and finding available burgers not to his liking, Cheng and his older brother spent a year and a half conceptualizing and planning the restaurant with the aim of bringing a piece of the burgeoning US “Better Burger Movement”, i.e. premium quality burgers, to Singapore, introducing the locals to their take on Mid-Western American style burgers.
The Omakase Burger menu is straight-forward. There are four variations of the cheeseburger, with prices ranging from S$13.90 to S$17.50. All burgers use patties made from USDA choice grade beef, and are dressed with a 13-ingredient secret sauce. As you move up the range, smoky bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms are added.
But more about the patty—it’s free of fillers such as onions and eggs, and is the product of a year and a half of meticulous experimenting with various combinations of beef cuts. A distinctive feature of Omakase burgers is the “smash burger style” method of cooking, in which the raw burger patty is rolled up into a ball and then smashed onto the hot grill, creating a crispy, slightly charred crust that seals in the beef juices while creating that smoky grill flavor.
Biting into the Omakase Cheeseburger (S$13.90), I have to say I had no beef with it at all, it being well-textured, juicy and flavorsome. It was smaller than I expected but had a nice weight in hand, and as I later discovered, served as the foundation that the rest of the range built on. With the additions of smoky bacon and grilled onions, it was easy to single out the Ultimate Cheeseburger (S$17.50) as the best Omakase Burger there is.
The Better Burger ethos also flows to the rest of the menu with Omakase Burger’s clever gourmet takes on the fast food standards of fries and drinks. I particularly enjoyed the Truffle Fries (S$6.90) and the Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice (S$4.50) made with the fascinating hand–wound Spanish juicer which sat on the restaurant’s counter.
If you are not a burger-loving patron who’s just there for the company, fear not. There are also other main course options such as the Omakase Chicken Sandwich (S$13.90) and the Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken (S$14.90).
But judging by this taste test, Omakase’s got potential to convert more than a few non-burger foodies into fans.
200 Turf Club Road,
#01-05, The Grandstand (formerly known as Turf City)
Tel: 6763 2698