Despite Singapore being the world’s most expensive city for the second year, burgers here thankfully cost nowhere near the US$666 [S$905] for New York’s The Douche Burger, apparently the world’s most expensive version of the decorated patty-in-a-bun formula.
But the contenders are getting serious here, with more specialty burger outlets opening here in the last year such as WOLF Burgers, The Butchers Club Burger, and, come April, New York’s hipster Burger Joint will join the list.
The great thing about competition is it brings innovation to the fore. As it has been doing since December, Three Buns Burgers & Cocktails, adds a new burger to its menu every month. But presumably to stop the 13-burger menu from getting unmanageable, once the month ends, the seasonal burger’s replaced. March’s Cee Lo Green ($21++) follows a green theme, offering a Matcha green tea bun choice. A side of seaweed fries can also be added to the meal for an additional $4. April’s burger of the month will be Fun Boy Three ($25++), named after a defunct new wave English band from the 80s. In fact, many of their menu items, such as Rambo ($20++) or Krab Patty ($25++) or The Gangster Style Dogg ($17++) burgers, appetizers LL Kool Slaw ($5++), Beets by Dre ($7.50++) and Disco Daiquiri ($18++) call to mind pop or music references.
Instead of being plated on a fancy chopping board, skewered with a British flag and with fries nestled in a mini trolley cart, or with some whimsical accompaniment in line with the décor of the second-floor dining room, Fun Boy Three comes simply wrapped in wax paper with the signature bulldog logo print. It’s not especially Instagram-worthy, but it seems Chef Adam Penney, former head chef of London’s highly-rated Patty & Bun burger restaurant, doesn’t want anything to distract you from the flavor.
What struck us most when we took our first bite was the burst of rich flavour in our mouths thanks to the miso butter and truffle aioli. A generous amount of butter, elevated by garlic and miso, was added to the burger, giving the patty its umami taste. Is there anything that doesn’t taste even better with truffle aioli? ‘nuff said. The roasted, nearly palm-sized Portobello mushrooms were a good complement to the tender 120g patty made from beef aged for 21 days. You’d think that these mushrooms, often seen as a good meat substitute because of their earthy meaty texture and substantial size would overwhelm the actual star, but each held its own beautifully and the triple combi was succulent. Homemade double ketchup, instead of masking the beef taste, enhanced it by adding a sweet, not tart, note. Just imagine Tony Roma’s Roma Burger (17.90+++ to $19.90+++) with more sauce, a juicier, more flavorful beef patty and 2 heart-healthy palm-sized Portobello mushrooms. We could definitely taste the time and effort Chef Penney has put into Fun Boy Three.
Chef Penney, who used to work in a Notting Hill bar kitchen where the menu changed daily, believes it’s important to let their customers try different foods. This thought fueled the idea of “burger of the month”.
His inspiration for Fun Boy Three came from somewhere closer to home and a lot less upmarket.
“My wife really likes the Mushroom Swiss from BK (Burger King),” he tells UrbanWire. That motivated him to come up with this burger, incorporating premium Portobello mushrooms as one of its main ingredients.
To wash down your substantial burger, you can pick from an extensive variety of drinks from 18 cocktails, to wines, beers and ciders and non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks. We went with the staff recommendation and enjoyed their silky smooth hazelnut milkshakes ($8++) .
Situated in a distinctive art deco building that borrows the triangular shape of the iconic New York Flatiron building, the 4-story restaurant in Chinatown is segmented into 3 dining areas: Three Buns takes up the first 2 floors, Studio 1939 is on the third and The Rooftop above that. The latter 2 cater more to drinkers. All are managed by the Potato Head Folk, whose parent company created Bali’s famed Potato Head Beach Club. The burger floors of this 77-year-old building have an eclectic, whimsical feel, with hand drawn flowers, insects and animals on the wall and children mannequins donning masks as décor alongside mismatched chairs.
Though we were very tempted to indulge in a dessert, especially the ones hand potted individually, the burger, milkshake and sampling a new appetizer were enough to fill us up. While its name and price have not been decided, we can reveal that the new dish is a vegetarian version of the Naughty Fries ($10++), which is a mix of spiced béarnaise, hot beef chilli, crisp shallots, Parmesan and sesame seeds.
Satisfied, we relaxed in the dim lighting and took in the serenity. The constant chatter of the other patrons (mostly working adults and tourists), surprisingly blended with the soothing pop tunes in the background to create its own form of music, adding to the tranquilness of the place.
However, here’s a tip to those planning to get to Three Buns by foot: be prepared (especially if you’re in heels), it’s going to be a 15-minute walk down a winding path from Chinatown MRT station.
Our Rating: ★★★★☆
Address: 36 Keong Saik Road
Tel: +65 6327 1939
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – midnight