ST's food critics recommend the 10 best burgers in Singapore

Burger from The Market Grill.
Burger from The Market Grill. PHOTO: THE MARKET GRILL
Burger from Nekkid.
Burger from Nekkid. PHOTO: LAZYNEKKID (THE NAKED FINN)
Burger from The Market Grill.
Burger from The Market Grill. PHOTO: THE MARKET GRILL
Cheeseburger from Burger Joint New York.
Cheeseburger from Burger Joint New York. PHOTO: BURGER JOINT NEW YORK
Loof Original Ramly.
Loof Original Ramly. PHOTO: LOOF, THE LO & BEHOLD GROUP
Burger from Free The Robot.
Burger from Free The Robot. PHOTO: FREE THE ROBOT
Truffle Burger from OverEasy.
Truffle Burger from OverEasy. PHOTO: OVEREASY
Wagyu Burger with caramelised onions, relish, Gruyere cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Wagyu Burger with caramelised onions, relish, Gruyere cheese, lettuce and tomato. PHOTO: W39 BISTRO
Freak Burger from Patissez at Holland Village.
Freak Burger from Patissez at Holland Village. PHOTO: ST FILE
Buah keluak burger from Hambaobao.
Buah keluak burger from Hambaobao. PHOTO: ST FILE

Craving a juicy burger with everything from blue cheese to bacon and caramelised onions? Here are The Straits Times' food critics' recommendations for 10 of the best gourmet burgers in town, listed in no order of preference.

1. Rebecca Lynne Tan recommends

NEKKID

Nekkid's burger hits the spot every time. The bun is pillowy soft and the flavourful patty has just the right amount of grease. Plus, there's a good char on the patty and the burnt crispy bits give the burger some added texture.

The burger comes with American cheese, Boston lettuce - not the usual iceberg - and a slice of tomato. You can opt for a single 170g-patty ($15++) or a 340g-patty ($25++) version.


Burger from Nekkid.  PHOTO: LAZYNEKKID (THE NAKED FINN)

A lot of thought has been put into getting the flavour and texture of patties just right. There are two types - one is made with just pure grass-fed Highland beef from a single cow, and the other is a blend of Highland beef, Japanese Toriyama A4 Umami Wagyu and Aomori rice-fed beef.

WHERE: Nekkid, Gillman Barracks, Block 41 Malan Road, tel: 6694-0940

MRT: Labrador Park

OPEN: 5pm to midnight (Monday to Thursday), 5pm to 2am (Friday and Saturday), closed on Sunday.

INFO: Go to www. nekkidbar.com

2. Wong Ah Yoke recommends

OMAKASE BURGER


 Applewood Uncured Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger from Omakase Burger.  PHOTO: OMAKASE BURGER

Expect the works, including smoky crispy bacon, cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms, in this power-packed burger. Pricey for the size, but the burger patties here are so juicy that you will have liquid trickling down your fingers - a good sign.

Be sure to eat it quickly if you don't want your bun to get soggy. The recipe for the buns has been refined and, as a result, they are now softer, less sweet, and also less cloying than before. Prices start at $14.90.

Go for the Ultimate Cheeseburger ($18.50) with the works, or the Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger ($17.90), which comes without onions and mushrooms. The latter is available only at Wisma Atria. Omakase Burger also has a vegetarian option for non-meat eaters.

WHERE: Omakase Burger, two outlets -The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, 01-05, tel: 6763-2698; and Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road, 01-02/03/37 to 41, tel: 6737-3218

MRT: Sixth Avenue and Orchard

OPEN: The Grandstand - 11.30am to 3.30pm, 5 to 9.30pm (Monday to Thursday), 11am to 10pm (Friday to Sunday); Wisma Atria - 10am to 10pm, daily, but burgers are served only from 11am to 3pm, 5 to 9.30pm (Monday to Thursday), and 11am to 9.30pm (Friday to Sunday)

INFO: Go to www.omakaseburger.com

3. Rebecca Lynne Tan recommends

THE MARKET GRILL


Burger from The Market Grill. PHOTO: THE MARKET GRILL

The Market Grill in Telok Ayer Street has six burger options ($22 to $33 each), of which four are made with beef patties. There's also a choice of patty size - 150g, or a heftier 200g-patty.

The buns here are fresh and airy, and mop up the beef juices well.

The CW Bleu Cheese burger ($25 with a 150g-patty) is the best of the lot, but order this only if you enjoy the pungent aroma and strong flavour of this salty, mouldy cheese. It comes with a sweet, burnt onion marmalade and bacon, in a walnut-raisin bun.

For an all-time favourite, opt for the CW BBQ burger ($23 with a 150g-patty). The juicy patty is slathered with a house-made barbecue sauce and served with melted aged cheddar cheese, crisp romaine lettuce and gherkins, on a sesame seed bun.

Bacon lovers should tuck into the CW Burger Breakfast ($24 with a 150g-patty) which comes with an egg fried sunny-side up, bacon, and aged cheddar.

Don't like beef? There is also a cod burger ($28) and a chicken burger ($22) .

WHERE: The Market Grill, 208 Telok Ayer Street , tel: 6221-3323

MRT: Telok Ayer or Tanjong Pagar

OPEN: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6 to 10pm (Monday to Saturday), closed on Sunday.

INFO: Go to www.themarketgrill.com.sg or e-mail info@themarketgrill.com.sg

4. Wong Ah Yoke recommends

BURGER JOINT


Cheeseburger from Burger Joint New York.  PHOTO: BURGER JOINT NEW YORK

In a back alley off Gemmill Lane near Club Street, lies the entrance to Burger Joint, an offshoot of the cult-favourite burger shop in an obscure part of Le Parker Meridien hotel lobby in New York.

You place your order at the cashier, then wait for someone to shout out your number to pick up your food.

The burger menu is simple, with just choices of hamburger ($13.10), cheeseburger ($13.80), bacon burger ($15.10) or bacon cheeseburger ($15.80), with an option to double the patties. You can choose how well-cooked the patty is - from rare to well-done.

For the juiciest results, opt for medium-rare.

The patties, made with corn-fed Nebraskan beef, have a distinct flavour of beef with a hint of smokiness from the charbroiling.

WHERE: Burger Joint, 115 Amoy Street, 01-03 (entrance through the back in Gemmill Lane), tel: 6221-8648

MRT: Telok Ayer

OPEN: 11am - midnight daily

5. Rebecca Lynne Tan recommends

LOOF


Loof Original Ramly. PHOTO: LOOF, THE LO & BEHOLD GROUP

Loof burst onto the scene in 2005 as one of Singapore's first roof-top bars.

It's gone through a few renovations and facelifts over the years. It also launched a new food menu in collaboration with Artichoke and Bird Bird chef Bjorn Shen last September.

And this chef is all about good, hearty grub with plenty of flavour.

Burgers here include the Loof Original Ramly ($23), with a juicy beef patty made with Australian minced beef that's been drizzled with a "secret sedap" (Malay for delicious) sauce then wrapped in a thin omelette.

Prefer pork? Try the Pork Chopper ($19) - moist Hainanese-style pork chop crumbed with traditional cream crackers and fried to perfection, served with tangy salted vegetable slaw.

Wash everything down with some new Asian-inspired cocktails.

WHERE: Loof, Odeon Towers, 331 North Bridge Road, 03-07 tel: 6337-9416

MRT: City Hall

OPEN: 5pm to 1am (Monday to Thursday), 5pm to 2am (Friday and Saturday), closed on Sunday

INFO: Go to www.loof.com.sg or e-mail loof@loof.com.sg

6. Rebecca Lynne Tan recommends

FREE THE ROBOT


Burger from Free The Robot. PHOTO: FREE THE ROBOT

Free The Robot, a cafe in Telok Ayer Street near the junction of Cross Street, serves a mean burger for just $12.

It comprises a well-seasoned meat patty, a sunny-side up egg, a slice of ripe tomato, arugula, crispy bacon and tomato mayonnaise, sandwiched in a fluffy bun flecked with sunflower seeds.

All the components of the burger come together well and make for a satisfying meal. Come evening, the cafe transforms into a lively cocktail bar called Bitters & Love, which serves some of the best bespoke and classic cocktails in town.

WHERE: Free The Robot, 118 Telok Ayer Street, tel: 6438-1836

MRT: Telok Ayer

OPEN: Free The Robot - 8.30am to 4.30pm (Tuesday to Saturday), closed on Sunday; Bitters & Love - 6pm to midnight (Monday to Thursday), 6pm to 2am (Friday and Saturday), closed on Sunday

INFO: Go to www.facebook.com/Freetherobot, www.bittersandlove.com or e-mail baileys@bittersandlove.com.

7. Rebecca Lynne Tan recommends

OVEREASY


Truffle Burger from OverEasy. PHOTO: OVEREASY

The luscious beef patties here are made with a wagyu chuck-blend and served between a soft and light brioche bun.

Get down and dirty, and tuck into the burgers the way they are meant to be consumed - with your hands.

The house speciality is the To Die For burger ($24), which includes lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheddar cheese, all drenched in a house-made sauce.

There's also The Truffle ($28) Burger, with roasted onions and mushrooms, Swiss cheese and a house-made black truffle mayonnaise, a fancier, gourmet take on fast-food chain Burger King's Mushroom Swiss.

WHERE: Two outlets- One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, 01-06; and Liat Towers, 541 Orchard Road, 01-01

OPEN: One Fullerton - 11.30am to 2.30pm (weekday lunch), 5pm to 1am (Monday to Saturday), 5pm to 3am (Friday and Saturday), closed on Sunday; Liat Towers - 11am to midnight (Monday to Thursday), 11am to 1am (Friday), 10am to 1am (Saturday), 10am to midnight (Sunday). Price: From $20 to $30 each

TEL: 6684-1453 for both outlets.

MRT: Raffles and Orchard

INFO: Go to www.overeasy.com.sg or e-mail orchard@overeasy.com.sg and fullerton@overeasy.com.sg

8. Rebecca Lynne Tan recommends

W39 BISTRO & BAKERY


Wagyu Burger with caramelised onions, relish, Gruyere cheese, lettuce and tomato. PHOTO: W39 BISTRO

Along a quiet street in Clementi West is a bistro called W39 that does a roaring trade on weekends.

Its beef burger ($22) comes with a generous beef patty made with Australian beef. The patty is topped with gooey Gruyere cheese, arugula, sliced tomato, a sunny-side up fried egg, mustard and relish. The meat patty is moist and springy, and the soft house-made bun holds up well even after soaking up all the juices.

WHERE: W39 Bistro & Bakery, 39 Jalan Mas Puteh, 6779-7050

MRT: Clementi

OPEN: 11am to 10pm (Tuesday to Friday), 9am to 10.30pm (weekends and public holidays), closed on Monday.

INFO: Go to www.w39bistro.com or e-mail contact@w39bistro.com

9. Rebecca Lynne Tan recommends

PATISSEZ


Freak Burger from Patissez at Holland Village. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Raffles Holland V building, opposite Holland Village Shopping Centre, has a handful of eateries, including Patissez, an Aussie bistro.

Burger lovers will like the Freak Burger ($25), a hefty burger with two sizeable beef patties, Monterey Jack cheese, delish bacon jam, bacon, housemade spiced barbecue sauce, lettuce and tomato, served in a brioche bun.

There's also an oh-so-good Brekkie Burger, which is a fancy name for a bacon and egg roll. No meat patty in this option though.

WHERE: Patissez, 01-06 Raffles Holland V, 118 Holland Avenue, tel: 6262-3616

MRT: Holland Village

OPEN: 10am to 10pm (weekdays), 9am to 10pm (weekends)

INFO: www.facebook.com/ PatissezSG

10. Eunice Quek recommends

HAMBAOBAO


Buah keluak burger from Hambaobao. PHOTO: ST FILE

The menu at Hambaobao is simple, with a choice of five burgers that cost no more than $5 each.

Traditionalists can go for The Classic Beef ($4.50), with a juicy beef patty, lettuce, caramelised onions and cheese; or That Dory Fish ($5), with a dory fillet, zucchini and homemade tartar sauce.

But why stay safe when you can have those with an Asian twist? These include the Crispy Pork Belly ($4.50), with crispy crackling and fatty belly; and the Spiced Pull Pork ($5) with homemade coleslaw.

Or go for the most unusual option on the menu - the Ayam Buah Keluak ($5). The burger's patty includes minced chicken, buah keluak (Indonesian black nut) and house-made rempah (a spice paste). It comes with chap chye or Nonya vegetable stew.

The slightly spicy patty remains juicy from the chap chye gravy, while the vegetables add a nice crunch to the burger.

WHERE: Beauty World Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road, 04-49

MRT: Beauty World

OPEN: Noon to 8pm (Wednesday to Sunday), closed on Monday and Tuesday.

INFO: Go to www.facebook.com/hambaobaosg or e-mail hambaobaos@gmail.com