VeganBurg

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Ha. Vegan, you say? Not so fast. Get up from the floor laughing. I know most of you would scramble at the thought of soy-and-tomato or mushroom-based patties. Maybe throw in a lettuce or two. Give it a little flair with a dollop of organic (shock horror) mayo. Oh! And organic cola to go with that. Or organic limeade and Pimm’s. If all else fails, we have some broccoli roulade and orange reduction to throw on a piece of (organic) bread. Bit of mayo won’t hurt. Who are we kidding right.

I have been meaning to (yes, I was actually looking forward to making this purposeful trip) try this place out ever since it opened. Boxing Day, free day, day with family. A super late lunch it was. It was more than half empty when we got there, Paul McCartney posing in front of the doors with his ‘favourite meat-free fast food joint’. That was enough to get my meat-hungry DAD feel a touch more enthusiastic. I could feel his sighs and bemoaning make the air heavier. Once again, not so fast dad. Just… I believe in the power of vegan. I believe. McCartney believes. So you must believe too.

Sat down, but got up again just to look at the menu. The words ‘cracked pepper’ and ‘hawaiian teriyaki’ shone their little delicate vegan beams onto my glazed eyes. I was hungry just looking at the pouches of sauce oozing from the fat sides. Came across the phrase ‘smoky BBQ’ at the bottom and I was good to go. And then. The God-awful service. There was only one teenage waiter with black stud earrings, orange hair and a I-don’t-give-a-f sort of attitude looking at us placidly since the beginning. Frustration mounted before I even settled on my order. Almost peaked, but I kept a steady calm. Doubts rose.

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Above: Smoky BBQ, $7.90 on its own or $11.80 as a set. I got the set, along with their ‘citrus cooler’ and seaweed fries. Military-style, in a mess tin (which by the way, you have to empty out yourself when you’re done with the grub)

Which apparently contains beta-carotene. I’m up a level in the Vitamin A department, guys! More molecules with beta rings. Hallelujah. Their buns, jokes aside, are made from ‘organic wholemeal grains, unrefined raw sugar, distilled water and sea salt’. Now, imagine if they didn’t add the word distilled. All hell might break loose. I like how they put the words ‘unrefined’ and ‘raw’ in the same sentence. Talk about redundancy. But they hit the spot, this burger. The bun was soft, pliable and fluffy. More so than a Mickey Dees’, I would say. Yes, even so. I’m pathetic because I forgot to take a shot to show the sides; excuse me because I was too busy enjoying it, too busy to lift my greasy fingers off the damn thing, wipe them, pick up my camera, find the right angle, aperture, shutter speed and focus, and take a good shot. I could have, but I didn’t. Right now I’m trying to deal with myself on this one. Please.

The thing about burgers is that… it’s only subjective to an extent. You cannot deny a good one. Compared to last time’s experience at &Made, these were brilliant. I tried my sister’s ‘hawaiian teriyaki’ ($10.80 as a set) and my parents’ ‘creamy shrooms’ ($11.80, set), and both were flavourful in their own individual ways. Having originally contemplated the hawaiian teriyaki, I was still satisfied with my BBQ choice, with sufficiently sweet and slightly spicy BBQ sauce leaving a generous coat between lettuce, and yes, there were onions. My annoyance lay in the fact that there weren’t caramelised. But that’s only because I’m picky and a bother when it comes to onions. I don’t mind raw, but boy, if they were caramelised… Munched through alfafa sprouts (say it five times), tomatoes and lettuce. All organic of course. All the burgers are actually identical, little groups of twins and triplets, if it were not for the sauces hiding underneath those tender buns, or the slight textural differences in patties or degree of vegetable doneness.

Yes. Mushroom and soy-based patties. Hyphae growing on my tongue. No, just kidding. These tender, rather thin patties boasted more flavour than I expected. Probably because they were more textured and slightly sweeter than what you would find in an average red meat burger. Didn’t provide the same gutsy bite, but nevertheless, I can’t fault the flavour. The shroom and teriyaki burgers beat mine hands down, but hey, it was a first. My sister got the hotdog, which, considering the whole meatless factor, tasted pretty impressive. Meatless, but tastes almost of chicken. Alright, more like 51.54%. And I say this for all the patties. Pale, slightly chewy little discs. As for the citrus cooler, it offered a refreshing break between bites, though was a little diluted for my liking. These guys should offer a carbonated option. Oh, the service.

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I might be back.

Only if that waiter throws away his apron.

Rating: 4.4/5

VeganBurg

200 Turf Club Road #01-32
Singapore 287994

Phone: 6462 1281

Relish by Wild Rocket

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I had been meaning to come. After about… Let’s see now. 6 years? No, more. Trust me on this one. It’s the typical case of frequent pass-bys, a longing over-the-shoulder glance, before the trudging and shuffling of running shoes and legs. A blur of legs and beige. Every Sunday I run (well, to be fair it’s more of an extremely brisk walk) to the Botanical Gardens with my dad, and every time I pass by Cluny Court,  I get a vague image of a quaint inside, the round golden domes of speckled sesame seed buns (yes, even though I thoroughly dislike top buns, they make very moreish mental imagery) dotting each table like parasites, juicy, fat meaty bellies, little sauce curds clinging to the sides and bottom of a thick-inch patty.

The waves of desire finally crashed upon the shores when Felix announced a similar longing. Of course! I said.

Of course. Relish.

The interior is so welcoming, with large windows all round to honour the strength of the day’s rays, rimmed with white wood, taking on the old colonial fashion of interior design. Slightly Scandinavian, I thought I heard him say.

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Ram-Lee burger (ramly burger- beef patty, margarine, onions, cabbage, fried egg and Worcestershire sauce)
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open-faced soft-boned char siew burger- thick and sweet pulled pork and coleslaw on homemade focaccia

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The shine and glisten. I ordered the latter.

I actually really enjoyed this. Paired it with a 5-buck pale and fizzy Limonata, which was tart enough to cut through the rich sweetness of the hulk of meat.

If you are strange enough to enjoy the consumption of fat like me, and I mean gloopy, translucent bits of fat, you will adore this dish. I remember the virgin tug of my knife revealed a wobbly hunk of fat beneath a thick and sticky burgundy blanket. Nothing more. I was pretty sure more than 50% of the topping comprised fat and cartilage alone. The char siew itself is not exactly authentic char siew in the sense that the texture was handled differently than what you would get at your local hawker centre, but it worked nonetheless with the sweet coat of flavour. Admittedly, there was a point in time whereby the heavy richness was a little too much to bear, and the paltry side salad lacked enough acidity to accentuate the dangerous sweetness.

After a while, it became slightly one-dimensional, but bearable because the flavours were maintained at a near-explosive level. I also would have preferred a crusty, more hearty cut of bread, as the softness of the ‘homemade focaccia’ all too easily soaked up the gluey sauce, almost rapidly disintegrating into a moist, white mass of stodge. Not all too unpleasant, but a rustic flavour was needed; something more authentic and hardy rather than soft and white and weak. As I picked at his spicy, pickled onions, I also picked up the smoky smell of Worcestershire and the caramelised edges of fried egg. Untried, but I still considered it contact.

The best part?

The relishing of laughter, warmth and airy talk.

Rating: 4.4/ 5

Relish by Wild Rocket

501, Bukit Timah Road

#02-01, Cluny Court