Char Grill Bar

Char Grill Bar (Sembawang, Canberra Link) 7/10 SGD $6.50

Char Grill Bar is a chain of western styled Hawker stalls located in various locations all over Singapore. This test was conducted in one of the two outlets in Sembawang, at a place that has become an almost regular haunt for I and a few friends, as it is not far off the path home, though we usually partake of the SGD $15.00 ribeye steak, this review is all about the Cheeseburger.

At SGD $6.50 this is the cheapest burger I have tasted in Singapore, add SGD $7.00 for a Tiger, and this makes SGD $13.50 all in for the burger and 2 beers. At that price you could have a second 750ml Tiger (so four beers) and only be 0.50c over the single dollar sign cost rating.

The burger follows the established accepted build of, bun, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, patty, cheese, and bun. This is the first burger I have tested thus far to include onion, albeit of a raw variety, it was surprising to find an extra ingredient on an offering so cheap. The patty was well cooked, and yet still slightly juicy, though it had no discernible seasoning that I could taste. The ingredients were fresh, and it was a good size to eat with your hands. The bun was un-toasted, so it is important to start eating it almost immediately, but it did hold together without making too much mess. The burger comes with seasoned fries, and coleslaw as two of the side options. As a side; the slaw is some of the best I have had in Singapore, with just the right amount of Mayonnaise and the right consistency, fresh veggies and a nice balance. Not like the watery limp stuff often found elsewhere.

Slightly less messy than the offering at Butcher – The Burger Bar, the burger here includes onion and being cheaper by half a beer, it’e worth the drop in, or even a look if you are this far North or near any of their other outlets on the island.

Rating 7/10 for flavour, and $ for price.

Molly’s Burger

Molly’s Burger, Molly Malones. 6/10. SGD $18.00

The priciest burger I have reviewed so far, The Molly’s Burger from Molly Malone’s Irish Pub. Molly’s is located at the end (or the start) of Circular Rd just behind the Boat Quay area of Singapore. The pub itself is a bit of an institution in Singapore and the street outside is the location of the annual St. Patricks Day parade.

Normally I would not order the burger in Molly’s, but as part of my “search” I decided to give it a go. It’s a pretty standard build: bun, lettuce, tomato, patty, tomato relish, cheese, bun. You can pay extra SGD $2.00 for bacon, but since that is not part of the standard cheeseburger for this experiment it was ignored.

Let’s be honest, it looks great, the melted cheese, the juicy and yet charred patty, they artfully posed bun lid sat askew to show both the red tomato and the green lettuce. The pint of the black stuff just in the frame, and the thick cut chips already lightly salted. It looks great on the plate, less so when you re-arrange that artfully posed lid, and you are wearing the burger 3 bites later.

Thought: Maybe the secret is to not move the lid and eschew the top bun for the first few bites and instead use it to catch the contents and stop them sliding out the back. But applying melted cheese to the roof of my mouth is an almost certain recipe for a blister and the inevitable flap of skin that comes with such…think eating too hot pizza.

In general, the patty was juicy, cooked to a very light pink in the middle, the ingredients are top notch, and it looks great. However the bun is too small to hold the contents so you end up wearing it, though it does get points for being lightly toasted and therefore holding together. (the bun not the burger) While I enjoyed the taste of the burger having to wash my hands before I could pick up my beer again is a point deduction. Added to which the burger is one of the priciest I’ve reviewed, so far, and at SGD $18.00 and a non happy hour Guinness at SGD $16.50, the whole experience is not cheap.

As I stated further up, I would not normally order the burger in Molly’s, and given that I have lost count of the nights I have spent here indulging in Guinness and Irish Whiskey, I think it’s fair to say it’s a great pub and always a great Craic. Just not a place for burgers, stick to Beef and Guinness Pie, a Bacon and Egg Butty or the Irish Fry Up.

Rating 6/10 for flavour, and $$$$$ for price.*

* Cost Ratings are for burger and 2 beers. The first $ represents $20 or less, and each extra $ for every $10 extra. (in SGD)

Butcher – The Burger Bar

The Butcher Bar Classic 6/10 SGD $9.80

The Burger Bar is located inside The Patio, which bills itself as Singapore’s favourite Hawker bar.* While I am not sure if this is true, if you are in the North the trip to 1018 Sembawang Rd might be worth it.

Thankfully the Butcher Classic does not come built as it is shown on the menu and instead is built as such: bun, lettuce, tomato, mayo, meat, cheese, bbq sauce, bun. They list the sauce as their “special sauce” but it tasted like run of the mill bbq to me. It did not come with onion, though it was advertised as so, and was served with seasoned thick cut chips. The lettuce was an arugula salad mixed leaf salad and while tasty did not offer any barrier protection for the un-toasted bun, which at first glance seemed a little small to hold together until the last bite, unless you forsake the chips and devour the burger fast.(as I did) So be warned you need to eat this quick if you don’t want it to fall apart in your hands and wear it.

The patty was cooked through, with no discernible seasoning, however the addition of both mayo and bbq sauce helped avoid that dry burger taste** and kept it a juicy meal. The burger itself cost SGD $9.80 and the beer came in at SGD$7.00. And while this is not a bar/beer review, The Patio (the drink stall this Hawker Bar is named after) has a decent selection of beers ranging from SGD $7.00-9.00 for a standard bottle, or SGD $19.00 for 1 litre of Lownbrau. (they also have Guinness on tap, I think it was SGD $12.00) I know I said Smokin’ Joe was a little ulu when I reviewed its burger, but this place is even further North and while a 6/10 burger might not be worth the effort, if we were including beer offerings in the judging it would edge to a 7/10. It is also only a small side-trek off my usual journey home, which is a plus as a destination, but not in rating it’s burger.

Rating 6/10 for flavour, and $$ for price.

* Hawker bars have been in Singapore for a while, the first I can recall was Bar Bar Black Sheep on Cherry Lane from which various incantations have sprung up all over the island. In a nutshell, a Hawker Bar is a small Hawker Centre, usually only 4-5 stalls, one of which is a bar, they others usually favour Thai, Indian and Western (usually burgers) as their fare. They are usually awesome and well worth the visit.

** Think McDonalds Cheeseburger.