Singapore Restaurant Chronicles: Great Burgers at Potato Head Folk

Hello there ūüôā I’ve been missing the blog terribly- I’ve been itching to write but just haven’t found the time. I may have taken on a little too much in the social sphere, such that I don’t have time for much else (including school work!!) I’m the social rep for my class, the president of the INSEAD food and wine club, plus I’m planning a trip to Myanmar (Burma) for 22 people in a few weeks’ time, and then a massive adventure to China and Japan in December.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not me complaining about how busy I am. I love it- because it’s a function of what I want to do. I’ve taken on all this stuff voluntarily because it gives me enjoyment. I can’t really relate to my old life in SA anymore- this new life (being free in a brand new city with 200 ¬†super smart and fun people from all over the world)¬†keeps making me wonder what I was doing whiling away time for so long. Living my best life right now!

What I do miss is food reviews. Back in SA, I would go to great lengths to find good food and it was much easier to find hidden gems because I’d already been to all the usual spots. Here, I know nothing and have eaten at a fraction of the restaurants in the city, so I don’t think I’m going to get to a stage where I can be a¬†go to person for food recommendations,¬†like I was in JHB. I’m trying to be patient with myself because it took me a decade to eat my way through Joburg, and I’ve only been here a month.

On the whole, I’ve mostly been disappointed with the food in Singapore. There are hawker centres, where you can get good local food for a few dollars. The problem with this is that it gets boring after a few days and it’s not the most hygienic, nor is it healthy. Cooking at home is not an option- I have no time and we don’t have the required appliances or utensils. Mid range restaurants are where we’ve been eating mostly, and they are bad 90% of the time. We pay around R100 for a meal which I just eat for the sake of eating. It makes me sad. I miss Joburg restaurants a LOT. However, we’ve eaten at good restaurants a few times, and although these are super expensive for a South African who is in Singapore with no savings and a freelance journalist’s salary (i.e nothing), they’ve been excellent.

First up on the list of my Singapore restaurant recommendations: Potato Head Folk. I went to Potato Head Beach Club when I was in Bali and loooved it. I think most people who’ve been to Bali have been there. Potato Head Folk has a different vibe. The restaurant is situated close to the CBD of Singapore, in a very bustling street filled with restaurants and bars. It’s split over 3 levels, each with its own identity, and even its own name. The first floor is a dining room, which is a whimsy, arty space with hand painted murals on the walls and is called Three Buns Dining Kitchen. The place was packed when we arrived, mostly with corporates and yuppies, all munching down gourmet burgers.

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I don’t eat beef so I usually don’t have high expectations for chicken burgers. OMG. I had the Honky Tonk, buttermilk fried chicken, coleslaw, lettuce, pickles, “Big Poppa Hot Sauce” and den miso mayo in a sesame seed bun. The chicken was like KFC without the grossness.Think a fillet that is juicy and crispy in all the right places, and coleslaw that is so flavourful and tangy that it could be eaten on its own.¬†It was a great burger.

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We also ordered some sides, including the “naughty”¬†fries, which I was less impressed with (I found them a bit thick and off balance in terms of the perfect “chip” which is crunchy¬†on the outside and fluffy inside.)

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Rishav went for the Smokin’ B- Boy, prime 150g beef patty, double smoked cheese, Dingley Dell beer and treacle cured bacon, BBQ ketchup, smoky mayo and crisp onions in a demi brioche bun and he also agreed with me that Potato Head was one of the better meals we’ve had in Singapore.

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We also really enjoyed our cocktails, which were the right strength and not watered down like most drinks in Singapore. On my standards (which admittedly, are still based on South Africa prices), the restaurant is pricey, with burgers priced at around $25. (1 Singapore Dollar = 8. 5 South African Rands.) ¬†Because of this, it’s not somewhere I’d go every week, but if I’m ever craving a burger, I won’t even bother going anywhere else- PH hits the spot.

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Desserts are served in little plastic pots, which I thought was a little strange compared to the extravagance of the burgers. The desserts have more of a takeaway feel. We tried the chocolate mousse which was a little sweet for me, and the “sticky icky wicky”, a sticky toffee pudding, which again gets an “average” rating from me.

After eating, we went to check out the rest of the spot and I fell in love with it. I’m definitely going to try and host an INSEAD event at their bar soon. It’s called Studio 1939 (the building was built in 1939 so it tries to keep some history in the current bar) and it has an old world, glam kind of feel. It reminds me of something out of a movie- it’s an intimate space that’s dark, with vintage chairs and leather couches, plus a marble bar- very fancy.

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Finally, the top floor is a rooftop bar (a relatively low rooftop, for Singapore standards, but still very scenic.) The space is somewhat of a garden, so very pretty, but when I went it was quite crowded with not enough fans so it got way too hot. That’s the problem with being outside in Singapore generally- after a few minutes you start feeling dizzy!

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I love the idea of starting on one level and making your way down- you could do sundowners at the Rooftop Garden, pre dinner drinks at Studio 1939 and then dinner at Three Buns, or do it the other way around. Either way, if it’s a good burger you’re after, you won’t go wrong at PHF.

Address: 36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore. Call +65 6327 1939. Visit www.pttheadfolk.com