The Handburger – 252 North Bridge Road #B1-65/66, Raffles City
My insatiable appetite for a slab of meat in a bun has taken me to yet another burger joint. The Handburger's mission statement is something that totally resonates with me: a good burger can be had at a decent price. They certainly proved that point with two gorgeous creations – one as part of a full set – that amounted to an extremely reasonable $27.78.
Chunky Fries ($4 with any burger plus a drink thrown in) arrived first, and chunky they were. These thick cut taters were crisp on the outside and mealy-while-still-firm on the inside. A tad salty, they weren’t exactly the best I’ve had but that didn’t stop me from stealing a fair amount from my friend.
The voice in my head said, “Damn, if there was a way of taking crisp-roasted duck pickled in it’s own fat - one of life’s most exquisite pleasures - and making it better, it’s probably this.” so I went for the Duck Leg Confit Burger ($11.80). Well it was grand, but not at all in the way expected. Nestled in the softest, most pillowy burger bun to ever grace my mouth were moist, rich and tender strips of duck; enveloping your teeth in a warm embrace of bite before parting delicately, almost lovingly, with a stream of juice. This divine mouthfeel was taken to the next level when contrasted with the crunch of sweetpea sprouts lending their herbaceous zing and plump orange segments exploding like tiny citrus nukes on the tongue. Topping things off was an orange sauce that bordered on being syrup with its sugary intensity. What left me wide-eyed in amazement was that this did not bring to mind classical Canard a l’Orange or even Confit de Canard but rather - and I kid you not - a vivid image of Lor Ark with Plum Sauce. Accidental Asian influence anyone?
My dining companion stuck firmly to basics though, and a wise decision it was. Stuffed in a caramelised onion bun (very similar to the one described earlier) was a zen lesson in balance, burger style. The Handburger Original ($7.80) was composed of the bare essentials: a ribeye patty, caramelised onion relish, a slice of molten cheddar and a smear of smoky-sweet barbecue sauce. The patty was excellently put together, lightly seasoned, moist yet not wet, tender yet with a sufficiently gratifying bite, solid yet falling apart in just the right way into a rubble of juice-spewing mince; it had the tightrope-balance just right and it was nothing short of beautiful.