Omakase Burger is a New York-inspired burger joint located at The Grandstand (former Turf City). Occupying 2,600 square feet, the 80-seater eatery is the first in Singapore to serve Mid-West American-style patties –the beef patties are irregular shaped, wider and flatter than the usual thick, round ones that Singaporeans are used to.
Having received overwhelmingly positive feedback since its opening in October 2012, it’s been lauded by several publications, such as 8 Days Magazine and TODAY, as one of the best burger joints in Singapore.
Initially, a few doubts emerged at the back of my head. Best burger? Really? Is it overrated? But the moment I sunk my teeth into the burger, my doubts cleared. The taste in itself is a riposte to those who doubt.
What constitutes the best burger? The patty is crux, but it has to be accompanied by a more-than-decent bun and a specially concocted complementing sauce for the burger to be outstanding.
For the patty, banker-turned-restaurateur Cheng Hsin Yao deploys a method that has served him well during his corporate position –he churns out the perfect patty formula using the Excel spreadsheet.
The score on the Excel file – after a year and a half of meticulous experimentation, with hundreds of blends and recipes – determined the combination and ratio of the various beef cuts he uses.
The 130g minced beef patty is then rolled into a ball and smashed on a hot grill like how New Yorkers like it. The result? Smashing. The caramelised crust that forms on the surface of the irregular-shaped patty seals in the juiciness. The burger is best eaten whole, with your hands; thus sharing is not encouraged. It wouldn’t be anywhere near a strenuous chore to finish a burger on your own anyway.
The next difficult task after perfecting the patty was finding the perfect bun to match the calibre of his perfect patty. Not so difficult, when fate lends a helping hand, bringing him and a local bakery – whose recipe was taught by a Japanese artisanal baker – together. His patty and their bun, is a perfect marriage.
The bun is crusty, soft, fluffy and buttery without being greasy, as well as a tinge of sweetness that complements the savouriness of the patty and saltiness of the cheese. Sink your teeth into it, like your body would into a soft, inviting plush feather-filled mattress –those comforting feelings are very much akin.
The Omakase sauce is a blend of 13 secret ingredients, derived from numerous experiments. The result is a slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and palatably savoury consummation.
Another differentiating factor of Omakase burger is the cheese used –a specially imported American Cheese that melts evenly and into the crevices of the beef patty.
Omakase Cheeseburger ($13.90)
Hand-ground beef patty, toasted artisanal bun, melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato and secret Omakase sauce
There are four burgers on the menu, all with the same patty and bun, but with different toppings such as bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms. If you’re a first-timer, I would recommend the basic Omakase Cheeseburger.
Deluxe Cheeseburger ($15.90)
Topped with a generous helping of grilled onions and mushrooms
Building on more flavours to the basic Omakase Cheeseburger is the Deluxe Cheeseburger, which is also my personal favourite. The added sweetness from the caramelised onions and earthiness of the mushrooms hit all the right notes.
Ultimate Cheeseburger ($17.50)
Bacon and grilled onions and mushrooms for the real burger lover
If you’re a fan of bacon, the Bacon Cheeseburger ($15.90) would be an obvious choice. The Ultimate Cheeseburger would consist of smoky bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms.
Diners can double size any burger by paying $5.90 more.
Top up another $5.90 to make any item a full meal, which will give you regular-sized French Fries and any Soft Drink.
French Fries can be purchased separately at $3.90 for Regular or $4.90 for Large. 100% trans-fat free USA potatoes harvested from the Pacific Northwest are used.
Other sides include Sweet Potato Fries ($4.90/$5.90), Cheese Fries ($5.90/$6.90), Truffle Fries ($6.90/$7.90) and Onion Rings ($4.90).
Burger of the Month –Port Wine Burger ($17.50)
Burger of that month I went was the Port Wine Burger.
The patty is soused in a 72-hour port-wine reduction, and enriched with a hint of blue cheese that isn’t overwhelming. A fine creation that I wish they’d put permanently on the menu! It’s always nice to have variety.
Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken ($14.90)
If you’re dining with a non-beef eater, there are chicken options that will satisfy. The Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken is Chef’s mother’s formula. Fresh (never frozen) chicken is breaded and baked to juicy succulence, with a crispy cheese coating that is highly irresistible.
There’s a 12+ minutes wait time though, as they only bake to order.
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice ($4.50/$5.50)
Thirst quenchers include the orange juice, which is freshly squeezed right before your very eyes in a machine imported from Spain, with no sugar added.
Homemade Lemonade ($4.50)
The lemonade is made in-store daily with a special blend of lemons, limes and secret ingredients.
Root Beer Float ($5.50)
No milkshakes, but the Root Beer Float suffices while we await the perfect blend of milkshake to be launched.
Soft Serve Ice Cream ($2.90/$3.90)
Drawn straight from their designer Italian soft serve machine, the soft serve ice cream ends the meal on a cool, sweet note.
Omakase Burger’s self-serve concept promotes high efficiency in an orderly manner, by providing patrons with a buzzer when they make an order.
Anxious patrons can choose to wait by the open kitchen, peering in and speculating which burger will end up on their tray, while most patrons would choose to chill and enjoy liquid refreshments at their seats, simultaneously keeping a close eye on the buzzer.
The buzzer lights up and buzzes when the order is ready for collection at the counter.
If you’re grumbling about the travelling distance, find consolation in the fact that shuttle bus services are provided for free – from Toa Payoh, Newton and Botanic Gardens – which make the remote location more accessible.
Take it as a mini getaway from the bustling city, to enjoy exceptional burgers in a foreign locale, without having to leave the country. The food is worth travelling the distance for.
Plus points: there are electric points and free WiFi.
Monday to Thursday: 11.30am to 3.30pm (lunch), 5pm to 9.30pm (dinner)
Friday to Sunday: 11am to 10pm (all-day service)
*last order is half an hour before closing