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  • Restaurants
  • Bukit Merah
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

We're declaring 2019 the year of the burger. Not only has New York institution Shake Shack landed on our shores, these past six months have seen more burger places try to break through the saturated (fat) market. There are even whispers that Five Guys might make its Singapore debut too. Who can blame them? Like everyone else, Singaporeans love a good burger. And where there’s demand, there’s supply. But while the patty and bun offerings we have are good, it’s hard to declare any as the absolute best.

Over at Gillman Barracks, Ken Loon of Naked Finn fame has transformed bar Nekkid to BurgerLabo. We rush in on a rainy day, with the wind and the rain beating heavily against the greenhouse-like shack’s hardy clear plastic sheets. Seeking comfort in the compact menu – which offers three types of burgers, two rolls and plates of protein – we order almost everything.

The Basic Burger ($23) – affectionately known as BB – is Ken’s pride and joy. Now in its 12th iteration since he started making burgers in 2015, the 170g patty is a proprietary blend of grass-fed Angus beef neck, Aomori ribeye, Toriyama A4 wagyu tenderloin and Sendai A5 wagyu brisket. The firm bun slathered in bone marrow butter goes hand in hand with the caramelised patty that’s as intensely flavoured as an aged steak. The simple trimmings of organic tomato, locally farmed lettuce and American cheese don’t compete for attention. although you can add pickled and caramelised onions ($2) and a fried egg ($3) if you don’t consider yourself a purist.

Then, there’s the chicken burger ($20), which follows a recipe given to Ken by Odette’s Julien Royer. But he must have forgotten to write down ‘salt’ as the underdressed French chicken cries out for it. The housemade garlic yoghurt and salsa add some acidity but the burger is overwhelmingly rich, not to mention messy, especially when topped with a free-range egg. Surprisingly, we like the Almost Burger ($20), a mix of Omnipork and lab-grown Impossible meat more. The pickled gherkins, onions and Danish remoulade remind us of a Big Mac but without the beefy guilt. The off-menu egg sandwich with ketchup and onions is also a treat that instantly transports us to our childhood. Try it if you can.

Also on offer is a Buta roll ($23), Toriyama tenderloin ($88) and a deep-fried whole boneless chicken ($25). There are also truffle fries ($3 with your burger), mesclun salad ($12) and grilled organic vegetables ($16) you can order as sides, making for a pricey but balanced meal the Health Promotion Board would be proud of. But if we’re alright with paying $38 for a lobster roll, then why not a burger that took 12 (and probably more) tries to get right?

Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here.

What the stars mean:
★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional 

Nicole-Marie Ng
Written by
Nicole-Marie Ng


41 Malan Rd
Opening hours:
Tue-Thu 5pm-11pm; Fri, Sat & Eve of PH 5pm-2am (Closed on Sun & Mon)
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