Hype does strange things to restaurants. Some of them ride it well, like a fictional college girl on a mechanical bull like you see in the movies, and some of them, well, let’s say that the only thing worse than disappointment is disappointment after all the hype.
So when Neil Perry’s Burger Project opened up in World Square to snaking queues that threatened the sanctity of your 30 minute lunch break, you knew that this could only go 2 ways: fantastic, or very VERY disastrous.
Well, for that first week I fought the Singaporean urge in me to queue for the possibility of good food. Stories came back like soldiers after the war, largely disillusioned and incredibly dissatisfied. The general feeling was that the burgers themselves were not up to scratch. and it didn’t even have the saving grace of being cheap or quick.
And just when I was about to cross it off my Eat List, rumours whispered through the eating scene, spread like the way I spread my Nutella on toast in the morning: with much judgement and self-loathing because I’d sworn off something that I keep going back to. The Burger Project had, apparently, fixed their burgers. It was “much better now”, and it made me wonder what “much better” meant, relative to how bad people were saying it was before.
So, time to give it a try for myself. I got the Spicy Roast Pork Burger – Happy Chinese New Year everybardy! – with a salted caramel milkshake. The sambal oelek was a nice touch (I always give points for chilli) and the pork belly had some good crackling going on there. So that was nice. On the bun side, it wasn’t as rich or buttery as I’ve come to expect burger buns to be, and actually tasted just a bit stale to me. It was lacking the decadence you expect from a burger – no ooze, no drip, no flavour that hit your mouth and made you widen your eyes and go “YES”. The burger and shake took a good 10 minutes from order to table, which is cool and all, except that for that amount of time, my sacred 30 minute lunch break could be spent doing something else more satisfying.
Maybe next time, then.